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  An Entire Guild Banned? - 07:19 PM
Over at The Ak'Anon Alliance they tell us a sad story, just on the tail end of our GM/Guide Petition. Seems an entire guild was reduced to level 1, and then suspended from Everquest because a GM was told that they were duping.

From what I can gather, they accused them of duping because:

1. A 6th Level character who had been in the guild only 30 minutes had bronze armor (thats twinking, not duping)

2. One of their high level Jewelers had 18 Rubies (go figure, he's a jeweler),

3. And was started because a bunch of lower level characters accused the higher level characters of having some rare equipment (no! the shame! wonder how they did was a 40th level warrior! think he could have...fought for it?)

I have formally asked them to write to our forums and give me a full account of the event for our petition, and hopefully they'll agree to our cause and help us.

Whether or not they are guilty, the fact that the GMs stripped all the characters, did not give any of them a chance to respond, and suspended offline accounts is in-excusable. What if the GMs are wrong? What will they do then?

We will push this to the fore-front of the petition site we are building. Sorry this happened guys, hopefully we can rectify the situation with your help on the GM/Guide Petition.

Smedley on the Ak'Anon Alliance - 12:52 PM
John Smedley mailed EQ Vault about the events surrounding the banning of the Ak'Anon alliance. EQ Vault mentioned that not all of the guild was banned, but rest assured the guild is dead, as 90% of it's OFFICERS were banned. We'll see if the remaining people can keep it going. Here is his response:

Let me be quite clear so there are no misunderstandings on this issue: (i.e. post this up front) ;)

We did NOT ban an entire guild.

Several members of this guild have been banned for exploitation that warranted being removed from the game. They were caught red handed (we have proof) and we have confessions. Others in the Guild are being suspended for a short time for having knowledge of the exploitation and not bringing it to our attention. The exploitation in question has already been fixed.

To me, if you see someone you know rob a house and you don't turn them in then you deserve some punishment as well.

Some may consider this punishment harsh. Verant considers exploitation of bugs like this to be a bannable offense. We also consider knowledge of these events to be something worth suspending people for 3 days over.

John Smedley
President and CEO
Verant Interactive, Inc.
Ok here is where I interject.

FIRST: Many people do not report probably problems for FEAR of being banned themselves. I have myself heard of numerous exploits, but never gotten details because the individuals were afraid of losing their accounts. I have also heard from at least one person I knew that was banned because he reported an exploit (he couldn't tell them how it happened, so they assumed he was going to exploit it and banned him).

SECOND: The majority of people who were banned were permenantly banned. In addition, anyone who was "temp" banned for three days, had their characters destroyed, stripped of equipment, and reduced to level 1. WHAT FAIRNESS IS THERE IN THAT? The individuals may have heard something, but were not exploiters themselves.

Just because you've HEARD of someone who might have exploited, you don't always turn them in. Rumors and outright lies are the #1 destroyer of friendships and relations, because when they are reported and the person is innocent, they are always violated. Assuming that the people actually knew for sure that there was exploits occuring is tantamount to running a dictatorship police state like IRAQ.

THIRD: Regardless of guilt, the treatment of people was APPREHENSIBLE. There is a reason the US Judicial System is founded on "Guilty until proven Innocent" - that reason is based upon treating people LIKE PEOPLE until you can prove otherwise. At least one person who had nothing to do with it, and had only been in the guild for no more than one or two hours was banned. In real life there is protection against such violations, and the victims have recourse. However in EQ all they can do it quit - and eventually this toll will catch up and EQ will lose more people than they gain.

In either case I have received a full statement (as much so as can be remembered) of the events with some screenshots of the interrogation room and the GMs that were present. This will be available FIRST on the GM/Guide Petition Site.

Response to John Smedley's Letter - 11:05 PM
I received an email letter that is a direct response to John Smedley's letter that claims the Ak'Anon Alliance was indeed full of duping individuals and friends, and that caused the banning of the majority of it's members. Here is his reply:

Just b/c we are in the guild, does NOT mean we know everything that goes on inside. Some people JUST joined the guild and yet the GM said to those people Tough Luck , u joined this guild at the wrong time. Now that is NOT fair to those people is it ? u say that people who know and did not report are also guilty, what about those who don't know ? are they guilty as well ? Some people don't like to go snooping around others under false rumors. Believe me I have never any problems with GM's , I have many friends that are NOT in the guild. They are willing to testify in my favor. I also assume u have proof of 1 or 2 people abusing the bug, but does that mean your can punish a whole guild b/c u have proof of 1 or 2 people doing so ? in court that would be lack of evidence to convict over 30 + people.

Kayoko A.

A member of Akanon's Alliance.

Thank you Kayoko, we at EQ Realms believe that the GMs committed a planned abuse of your guild member over the possibility that a few people duped, including some very innocent individuals.

You can tell us your story as well on our EQR Forums or by mailing me at Lets show Verant that we CARE about how we are treated as paying customers!

Makai Reponds to John Smedley - 11:12 PM
Makai of the Ak'Anon Alliance has posted a response to John Smedley on their web site. NOTE: Makai's words are bold.

To me, if you see someone you know rob a house and you don't turn them in then you deserve some punishment as well.

Perhaps that should be in your agreement then. Hey, by the way, have you ever read that thing? I have a link to it off here if you need to review it. I don't see any mention that if you know of someone doing something bad and you don't report it, you'll be punished. It does say "You will promptly report any such bug via the in-game/bug command." I know I wouldn't report this. The person who did got suspended and had his character changed to level 1 too. Nice to know you get punished for following the rules of conduct as well.

Some may consider this punishment harsh. Verant considers exploitation of bugs like this to be a bannable offense. We also consider knowledge of these events to be something worth suspending people for 3 days over.

John Smedley
President and CEO
Verant Interactive, Inc.

As a followup, I'd like to mention the rules of conduct again. Here are rules 1 and 2:

1.You may not harass or threaten other players.

Gee, I was threatened and harrased for almost an hour by GM's. I really wish we had more screenshots of all the harrasment, to show the world that GM's don't need to abide by these rules of conduct.

2.You may not use any sexually explicit, harmful, threatening, abusive, defamatory, obscene, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive language.

Wow, they were harmful and threatening. Well that's if you consider them saying "Stop lying, and tell us how to dupe now or you will be banned", to every member in the guild..

Now don't get me wrong, after the first 10-15 minutes of being annoyed by these powerhungry GM's, I stopped following these rules as well. It's just so damn annoying when ignorant people... urr I'll finish this later..

How convenient! The GMs don't have to follow their own rules of conduct? And how about that! WHAT DID I SAY! The person who reported the abuse GOT BANNED. Need I say more?

Tell me I'm right, or flame me I'm wrong on our Forums, or at

Research on the Ak'Anon Alliance Bannings - 06:23 AM
A couple of people have either notified me that they are disappointed with me for the Ak'Anon Bannings information, or that they believe I am jumping onto one side and not reporting the other. I will admit that I made a few slightly unprofessional editorial remarks on some posts, but that in no way destroys the validity of the arguements. I will however let all of you know that I plan stay my opinion on future (non-rant) news posts.

Ok. So where does that leave us? Oh yeah, with what I've found through research...

There are three issues at hand: 1. Who was guilty and what happened? 2. What was the conduct of the GMs? and 3. The controversy of their policies.

Please enter the article to find out what I have discovered.

As a final note, this is the last page in the news about this, or any other GM activity. Within the next day our GM/Guide Petition site is due up and I am going to move all of this to that site, and this site will continue on it's original course. I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused those people who didn't want to read this.

Research on the Ak'Anon Alliance Bannings

ISSUE #1 - Who was guilty and what happened?

1. So far as I can tell, only one or two AA members were guilty of exploting a dupe bug, and there was at least one non-AA member who was also guilty.

2. All of the AA members past and present who were online were summoned to the dungeon. All were stripped of experience to level 1, and many were killed on the spot after being bound.

3. At least 10-15 people were banned, and it is rumored (although I have am suspicious that after Smedley's letter this has changed) that all were permenantly banned.

4. It has been reported, but remains unverified, that most other AA members were stripped of all their levels and equipment. (it might be duped!)

ISSUE #2 - The conduct of the GMs

1. The GMs did NOT tell the players why they were there, other than to demand to know how to dupe.

2. The GMs did NOT know anything about the duping, other than it was possible.

3. The GMs assumed guilt, and in some cases told brand new members "you joined the guild at the wrong time"

4. The GMs resorted to stripping and killing characters to try and scare them into telling them how to dupe.

5. Apparently the person who reported the bug was stripped to level 1 and banned for having duped items on his body. I would imagine he no longer feels compelled to report bugs.

The details on the above have been identical from all the AA and non-AA members that were present and that I have traded mails with.

ISSUE #3 - Controversy over their policies

1. 989 Studios does NOT hire the GMs. Verant does. Brian Hook stated in his recent update to Ask Hook that he met the GMs who worked inside Verant's facilities.

2. Players are not secret police for Verant. Players are asked to report bugs and problems, but players won't reports rumors unless it bothers them (why spread rumors?)

3. NO player should be held accountable for another player's actions. We are talking about a loose band of people who PROBABLY DO NOT KNOW EACH OTHER. To say that we have the same accountability as, say, a naval vessel full of naval personnel is ridiculous.

4. The dupe had been reported at least 2 weeks PRIOR to the bannings. Why Verant did not act on the report before is a matter of speculation, but beaucracy is suspect, and perhaps they might have thought it was an untrue rumor (after all, it isn't possible! right?)


1. Do I believe Ak'Anon had vile, rude, and dishonorable people in the guild? Yes. Their web page's remarks and comments indicated that.

2. Do I believe they should have been given the treatment they had? No. Even if some of them knew, it is reprehensible to think that all 15 did.

3. Do I believe this was a witch hunt pre-meditated and executed by the GMs? Yes I do. The speed and efficiency with which they captured players, bound them, and summarily interrogated and executed them is either the work of a deranged mind, or planned. I won't speculate exactly on either.

The fact that the GMs had no idea how to dupe and who did it indicates to me that they were performing a major witch hunt. Drag the players in, abuse them until they get tired and confess, then ban them.

4. Do I think the GMs involved should be reprimanded or removed? I will honestly say yes. The one who did the interrogations was very unprofessional. And by Verant's own policy of "knowing about it makes you guilty", the other 3 GMs knew and thus are equally guilty.

5. Do I think the lack of information from Verant indicates that they know something wrong was done? I am edgy on this, but I am beginning to think so. I had thought Smedley was ignoring my emails but my server returned it as undeliverable due to an @home netsplit (go figure, there is a mailing list and web site about @home and EQ right now). But the lack of any real response with evidence to show otherwise suggests that the GMs may have at least acted out of line, or are making some serious efforts to cover up details to cover their butts.

Do I think I have it all right? Nope. I'll admit it. But I think I'm getting close. The fact remains that some people were guilty. A second fact remains that the majority WERE NOT GUILTY. Thus a third fact remains in that the GMs were unprofessional, rude, and violated the players as people.

Do I weep for the guilty? Hell no. I hope they never play another game. But at the same time the GMs hurt a lot of innocent people (including the one that made it possible for them to do it in the first place), and that is wrong.