More than 11,000 Guild Wars 2 accounts have been hacked by China-based password crackers in what appears to be a scramble to steal new players' accounts so they can be put up for sale.
Just like in World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2 accounts are valuable because hackers can sell virtual items in the game for real-world cash.
Makes of Guild Wars 2, ArenaNet, have begun sending out email alerts whenever an attempt is made to log into a players account in an attempt to curtail the enormous heist.
“I just checked my email to find my inbox spammed with messages from ArenaNet asking me to authorize login attempts… I haven’t read every single message but it looks like everyone was from a different city and IP address, all in China,” wrote one poster on the official Guild Wars 2 forum, echoing the sentiments of hundreds of other posters.
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Just days after the official launch of the game, hackers set out to steal accounts. ArenaNet has said that the hackers targeted game forums and fan websites to steal player data, including logins and passwords.
"If you don't want your account hacked, don't use the same email address and password for Guild Wars 2 that you've used for another game or web site," wrote ArenaNet this weekend.
"Hackers have big lists of email addresses and passwords that they've harvested from malware and from security vulnerabilities in other games and web sites, and they're systematically testing Guild Wars 2 looking for matching accounts," they added.
To avoid falling victim to hackers, ArenaNet has encouraged players to use long, complicated passwords that has never been used elsewhere on the internet.
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Full accounts can be sold in full to players and other enterprising virtual entrepreneurs. In massively multiplayer online games (MMOs), players spend a great deal of time “grinding,” or working towards finding rare items.
While paying actual dollars for digital currency may seem absurd, many serious gamers find paying for gold to be much less costly than spending the substantial number of hours it requires to accumulate the digital currency in the way the game’s developers intended. It can mean spending hours vanquishing an endless parade of foes.
In China, companies known as “gold farms” to Western gamers are employing real-life laborers in ever-growing numbers. They sit at computers and mine for digital gold in popular MMOs which the companies then sell to, mainly, Western players.
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