Umm ... What's a Battle.net Authenticator and why would I need one?
A Battle.net Authenticator is a nifty piece of kit that generates a six digit numeric code to be entered into the log in screen for battle.net accounts. Battle.net accounts allow people to play Blizzard Entertainment games such as Starcraft, World of Warcraft and Diablo. They add an extra layer of account security that has proved difficult for the nasty people who steal these accounts to get around.
Account theft is a major problem as in game money and goods and even characters are sold for real money even though it is against the user agreement of these games to buy or sell any in game items for real money.
So, What's it Like Then?
The authenticator is about 5.5cm long and as thick as a finger and has a keyring attachment at one end so you can keep it handy. I hang mine on a hook next to my PC so it is at hand when I log into World of Warcraft and so I don't lose it. On the left side there is a big button and on the right there is a screen where the code is displayed.
There are several different designs including a Warcraft one, a Starcraft one and a generic Blizzard one; annoyingly you can't choose which one you want and I ended up with the Starcraft one when I actually play WoW. It's not a big problem but annoying none the less. It feels very sturdy and well made which is a good thing as I use it every day and it has to last a long time.
Well How Do I Use it?
The first time you use the authenticator you have to link it to your battle.net account by logging into the battle.net website and following the on screen instructions. There is a long code on the back of the authenticator which you enter when prompted and that's it done. The code will be different every time you use the authenticator.
After the authenticator is linked to your account you will need to press the button and enter the generated code into the log in page of whatever Blizzard game you play. It does make logging in slightly slower which is annoying when you are in the middle of something in game and get logged out unexpectedly but it does only take a few seconds extra so it isn't the end of the world.
Anything else I should know?
You can buy an authenticator from http://eu.blizzard.com/store for a very reasonable £6.29 with free postage. This is a small price for the peace of mind as a stolen account is pretty upsetting although thankfully normally rectified by Blizzard quickly and without fuss. Included in the price is an in-game companion pet - a core hound pup, (a kind of molten lava two-headed dog), which I think is a nice touch. Normally pets sell for £9.00 on their own.
If you have an iPhone or an Adroid phone you can download an authenticator app. I think they cost £1.00 but I did hear rumour that it was free for the iPhone. You still get the pet if you buy the authenticator this way.
Any last thoughts?
Having known several people who have had their accounts stolen I know how upsetting it can be, (yes I know it's just a game but imagine how you'd feel if lost your Dooyoo account and all the effort and time you had put in), so I think an authenticator is well worth the investment. The quality and longevity of the item is excellent for the money and the free postage is a nice gesture from Blizzard.
I really can't recommend the authenticator strongly enough for anyone with a Battle.net account - just get one, you won't be sorry if you do but you might be sorry if you don't.