Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ded Gaem: Hacked article and details

The Weekly All In continues on its break while Nicolas has some other projects to finish.

Anyway, this is the article from issue 28. Notes and commentary about the article's evolution are at the bottom.

A wave of crippling panic has swept over the nation, nay, the world in the last few weeks as hack after hack exposes the secrets that ne'er-do-wells all over thought could never be discovered. The most recent of these hacks targeted none other than our favorite StarCraft personalities in their Ded Gaem mansion, lovingly referred to as “Sanctuary,” in southern California.

Only Vague Responses from Blizzard

“We are aware of the situation and we are already working on a fix for it,” stated an official spokesmen from Blizzard’s department of non-game game-related content. “We’ve begun internal testing on the matter and we’ll have the fix out soonTM.” This response has, understandably, not done much to alleviate the worries of the “Ded Gaem” gamers.  

“If I wanted the entire world to read my emails, I’d just let TigerLily back on my computer” lamented a livid Destiny. “I can’t understand the incompetence of Blizzard on matters like this. How could the house be hacked? Why wouldn’t they be monitoring our security? Why would they allow some creep to just park across the street and hack into our network and steal all of our information? I’m going to have to change ALL of my passwords! Do you know how long that’s going to take? I was on the phone with a Blizzard tech support guy earlier today, I’ve never talked so fast in my life, and that STILL didn’t fix it!”

Private Lives Exposed

Some of the gamers were pretty forthcoming with the information that was stolen. “Yeah, it’s a shock, but I’ve got nothing to hide,” said a beaming DesRow. “I’ve been very good since we started living here at Sanctuary. The only thing they’re going to find from me is a whole bunch of Reddit traffic and some StarCraft things. I worry about WinterBOT though. He’s made a the tough decision to use his “Dirty Ded Gaem Dollars: The Reality Show Currency” to become a real, human, boy and he’s done a lot of research into it here on our network. I really feel for the guy, he wasn’t ready to make it public yet.”

Other gamers were not so eager to have their recent activities revealed. It could even disrupt the future of their careers. “Yes, it’s all very upsetting,” Naniwa was overheard saying on the phone, while I listened from the bushes near his open window. “They were getting everything. All of our Skype convos. All of our emails. All of our search history. Pretty soon the entire internet’s going to know about the gourmet cupcake shop I’ve been planning. ‘Nani’s Nummies’ will never be a success without the proper marketing and now it’s ruined!”

His voice began to crack, as did my knees, but he continued, “They even got all of the get-well-soon DM’s I sent to Jimmy Fallon when he injured his finger. EVERYTHING.” He must have moved away from the window at this point, because I couldn’t hear anything else. This was just as well, however, as my feet had begun to fall asleep. On a clarifying note, I’m just nosey, not the hacker. I can hardly format a Reddit post.

Irreparable Damage

So far, the following shameful secrets have been dug up about each of the gamersDesRow: Apparently sent a lovely card to each Rifkin and Zombiegrub after Hell It’s Aboot Time.WinterBOT: Had the foresight to renew his warranty for the next two years. Research into becoming a real boy. Many viewings of “Pinocchio” on Netflix. Naniwa: Baking sites. Weekly emails to his mother so she doesn’t worry.Destiny: Correspondence indicating that he’s been volunteering at a homeless shelter and after school programs for low-income children who want to learn technical skills.TigerLily: Due to her unfortunate habits of sharing personal information, there was literally nothing that the hackers uncovered that she had not already make public herself. 

Reputations on the Line 

“We fully understand the potential fallout from this kind of situation,” the Blizzard spokesperson reiterated, “if word gets out that the online persona of these guys is really just a persona, it could be cataclysmic to their careers. What would Destiny be if he weren’t just a foul-mouthed fast-talker on the internet, but really a normal do-gooder on the side? Catastrophe! We’re going to find who did this, and then we’re going to say that we’re going to do something about it!”

Blizzard Taking a Firm Stance

When I pressed for clarification on what would happen to the hacker(s), I was interrupted by a man dressed all in blue, leaning on a blue post, who seemed to be making the same, somewhat unnatural movement over and over. He didn’t look at me when he spoke, but passed me. He said, “The user who did this will be banned, in accordance with the User End License Agreement that he or she agreed to at the time of purchase of the Ded Gaem Gawker and Paparazzi Parking Pass and Virtual Ticket. They will not be allowed near the premises of Sanctuary again.

I asked what would happen if the hacker were to just purchase a new parking pass and do the whole thing over again, but the blue person remained silent despite being asked multiple questions for clarification until another reporter asked what would happen to the in-game items that had been bundled with the pass of the hacker once they were banned.

The Blue Man replied, “The forthcoming in-game items bundled with the Ded Gaem Gawker and Paparazzi Parking Pass and Virtual Ticket, namely, The World of WarCraft TigerLily Skype Battle Pet, The Real Boy Winter Hearthstone cardback, The Destiny Story of the Good Samaritan skin for The Lost Vikings in Heroes of the Storm, The DesRow Still Competes In Things StarCraft II Portrait, and the Naniwa’s Nummies ‘Better Than Whimsyshire Cupcake’ Health Globe reskin for Diablo III will all be removed from their account unless they create a new account and repurchase the bundle.

No further questions were taken.

I had a pretty hard time getting this article finished. I knew I wanted to do something involved with the revelation of incriminating personal information in the wake of the Ashley Madison hack. My first thought would be to use the names of some of the StarCraft Reddit trolls emails hacked to reveal all of the nice things they say in the personal correspondence, and that would be the "scandal." But after thinking about it a bit, it didn't seem like enough for a whole post.

Thinking about it a bit more, I looked into the approach of having their GGTracker accounts "exposed" to reveal that none of them actually play the game anymore, and when they did, all they did was hokey stuff, like the WoL campaign on easy and 6-pooling every matchup. I even did my very first Twitter tease image for it to try and drum up what little hype I could.

But then that got more complicated, because it turns out that not only are pretty much all replays on GGTracker public, but you can even import them into Spawning Pool to see what builds they used. So at this point there wouldn't even need to be a hack, unless the hackers got information through for some reason, which seemed like a whole new can of worms.

After some more brain storming with my wife, I decided it would probably be the most-entertaining and least convoluted if I used real StarCraft personalities, and went back to the "nice" scandal, which lead directly into a second Ded Gaem article.

I didn't want to do that at first, as it seemed like too much of a rehash, not to mention the fact that none of the people in the Ded Gaem had actually caused a stink lately (the original leaked info for TigerLily was "Meh. Who cares?" because I couldn't think of a single thing to say about her). Plus, it was like 11:30 PM on Sunday and there was no way there could be good art done in time.Eventually, I decided just to get it done because we had a release to Prod the next morning at work and I needed to get this sucker over with.

Much to my surprise, I think it turned out pretty well. I really like the idea of Destiny doing a lot of community service and volunteering in outreach programs when he isn't straming. I have never interacted with directly with Destiny before, so I honestly don't know much about him other than what he chooses to portray online. I also generally assume that people are Good until proven otherwise. So the thought of him having a double life of do-goodery is a happy thought.

I'm also super proud of that "blue post" personified bit at the end. I'm not sure the execution was that great, but I feel like that's a good new source of material. I really liked the parking pass idea too, because it really tunes right into the Cross-product marketing that Blizzard has (understandably) been pushing more and more.

I'm not so happy with WinterBOT in this article. I really wanted to work him in more, as opposed to just informing the reader through other people. However, I didn't have time to really do him justice. Originally, I wrote that he was scheduling surgery to "transition" into a real boy, but decided to change it in favor of the safer option. My last article was about gender issues in StarCraft, it didn't seem like a good idea to jump back into it again.

Anyway, that's the story of this article. Thanks for reading, and tell your friends about The Weekly All In!

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