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November 3, 2009

Changes coming for 'World of Warcraft' players

Posted: 12:45 PM ET

"World of Warcraft's" 11.5 million players will soon need a new way to get to Azeroth.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/02/story.wow.blizzard.jpg caption=""]

Blizzard Entertainment, maker of the popular computer fantasy game, is requiring subscribers to sign up for the game through its gaming network, Battle.net, by November 11.

Current players of WoW, as the massively multi-player online role-playing game is informally called, have until then to create new Battle.net accounts. After that, the fantasy universe of Azeroth will be closed to them.

Battle.net offers a centralized account system that lets players manage all their Blizzard Entertainment games, including "World of Warcraft," in one place without having to remember multiple logins.

The upgraded Battle.net service is expected to merge many features that Blizzard plans to use in the future while helping players keep track of current games, opt in to beta tests and communicate more easily with each other.

"We really wanted to bring the Blizzard community together," said Rob Pardo, executive vice president of game development at Blizzard. "Our fans are more than just WoW fans. They are fans of Blizzard."

Pardo said impetus for the changes started with the company's plans for "StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty," a science fiction game set for release in 2010.

"The biggest thing for players will be the cross communication," Pardo said. "It will allow players to talk to others across the realm and across games."

Pardo also said the upgraded Battle.net system will offer better security for WoW players, some of whom have been victimized by thieves who infiltrate accounts.

Battle.net's authenticaton tool produces a unique, one-time code that gamers must use in addition to their password. The code can be obtained from a fob purchased from Blizzard or as an app downloaded to a mobile phone.

"Most players lose their account info by giving away passwords through phishing sites. Our mobile authenticator will assure security even if you lose your log-in and password," Pardo said.

- Larry Frum, for CNN

Filed under: video games


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