Have an Authenticator? You’ll Need it for the Forums

If you have an authenticator (and if you don’t, you should probably get one! Here’s what they’re all about.) you’ll get a special treat in the coming days, as Blizzard changes the forums to require that, for players that already have authenticators only, that they periodically authenticate using their authenticator to the forums in order to post.

Essentially, all this means is that if you already have an authenticator, that level of account security will extend to your activity on the forums the same way it does to the community site and your Battle.net account.

The change is something of a non-issue and I would leave it there if there weren’t some needless confusion about the topic of authenticators and the forums. For example, over at the World of Warcraft livejournal community, one frequent poster took this to mean that if you don’t have an authenticator you can’t use the forums, which is absolutely false. (That same poster seems to have a resistance to authenticators in general, whose concerns I addressed in a column last year called Why the Resistance to Authenticators?)

So before everyone goes off terrified of authenticators and complaining that Blizzard is moving to a model where authenticators are essentially required to play the game (which frankly, I think they should considering the number of people who play and the economy around hacked characters, gold farming, and account sales – the problem is that if an authenticator is essentially required for Battle.net games, they should give them away to anyone who wants one free of charge…they’re already close by making the apps available for the iPhone and Android for free) keep in mind that this is a change that applies only to people who have an authenticator, and means nothing will change to the people who don’t have one.

And if you don’t have one, seriously, you should get one.

1 Comment so far

  1. Lee Olesky (leeolesky) on July 27th, 2010 @ 11:17 pm

    I got an authenticator quite some time ago. The second someone in my casual family guild got their account hacked and everything in the guild bank was stolen. I knew that it didn’t matter if you had a lot of gold on your character, or if you had all epic items and had Kingslayer for a title. They cared about tradeskill items and your gold. I don’t understand the negative for it. I keep telling my boyfriend to get one and he refuses. I keep my fingers crossed that he never ever gets his account hacked… but I doubt I’ll be able to refrain from wagging my authenticator-holding finger and telling him “I told you so.”

    I’m used to it, so I don’t think anything of it. I can see how it would be frustrating for a regular forum-goer to have to adjust to now entering the authenticator code every so often. But really, it’s not so bad. I just remember to put my keys right by the computer. No biggie.

    And everyone should get an authenticator. Everyone. Best $7 you’ll ever spend when your friend’s start telling you how their accounts got hacked.

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