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Imagine Games Network

Ak'anon Alliance Bannings

Wednesday, July 28

Yesterday, as many of you know, several members from the guild known as the Ak'Anon Alliance were banned from EverQuest. This marks the first time in EverQuest history that such a large EverQuest player organization was forcefully removed from the game. (Note: Contrary to initial reports and popular belief not everyone in the guild was banned) News, and rumors about this spread like wildfire. I myself received numerous emails from guild members, former members, and "concerned citizens."

Thus far only one side of this story has been told. While members of the Ak'Anon Alliance continue to proclaim their innocence, late last night I personally emailed John Smedley, Verant Interactive's President and CEO, concerning this matter. He responded almost instantly. In his response he states that Verant not only had solid proof but also obtained confessions and caught members of the Ak'Anon Alliance duping in the act. Several other members that didn't abuse the bug were banned simply because they had knowledge of it and did not report the bug abuse. Here's his complete 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.

-Aurum @ 7:54 AM PT

AA on Fennin Ro Message Board

SubjectWell, John ain't a bad guy txt.
Posted byAnonymous
Posted on8/1/99 00:20 AM
From IP209.157.116.166  

Well I emailed John diretcly saying how my account suspension has exceeded 3 days. He responds under 30 minutes ( wow here ) and tells me he cc'ed ( what does this mean ) Jeff Butler who is the head account guy. Now 6 hrs later Jeff Butler told me he reactivated my account and apoligizes for the delay ( wow here to ) soo I'm back in EQ but still level 1.. drat.. now I'll have to wait till tomorow for Tunso to rebuff me. Ah well cyas.

Goluk Bloodrine
Fenin Ro

SubjectOMG I'm feeling like Cloudie <-- Goluk
Posted byAnonymous
Posted on7/31/99 4:59 PM
From IP209.157.116.166  

Its been 4 days since I have been suspended, my account still doesn't work, and I still haven't gotten an email. Wow nice customer support Verant :P.
Is there a working phone number I can call?

SubjectAkanon Alliance and Verant's GMs
Posted byAnonymous
Posted on7/29/99 1:51 PM
From IP209.110.240.56  

I logged on at 1:30 AM 7/27/99 and within seconds I got the message "You have been summoned by the Gods" and next thing I knew I was in a white room amongst my guild members and surrounded by several GMs who were spamming us with phrases like "We don't think you're duping, we KNOW YOU"RE DUPING". I was at that point completely boggled by what was going on. I asked what was happening and got no replies, just the continuous statements of the GMs stating that "YOU ARE DUPING!". Within a couple of minutes after arriving I suddenly found myself logged off EQ. Upon attempting to return I got the message my account has been suspended. That was my experience with Verant's EQ GMs, they neither spoke to me regarding the issue nor did they explain to me what the issue was. In either case I did not cheat nor did I have any knowledge of these duping activities and I am abhorred and dissappointed at the treatment that I received from Verant's customer service representatives aka GMs. All I've got to go on are the messages on the message boards explaining what happened. Customer service etiquette seriously suffered a major setback when Verant decided to hire those GMs. When it comes down to it EQ fantasy world facade removed, the GMs are customer service representatives who are supposed to make our stay in Norrath a pleasurable one. That's ALL they are. They are SERVING US, the customers of a product produced by 989, Sony and Verant and for them to extremely violate their positions by conducting the kind of interrogation that they did is completely unacceptable and as I've mentioned on a customer complaint leaves the three companies mentioned to future legal difficulties including class action lawsuits. My God have they forgotten that we live in the USA where customer service is KEY and lack of it destroys businesses on a daily basis! Didn't Verant know that by sending their GMs to disrespect people's integrity by dehumanizing them and treating them like dirt that they could potentially create bad publicity for their partner Sony, a very image conscious company as well as their own company?

John Smedley I have respect for your genius in making EQ work as well as it has technically but you dropped the ball big time when you decided to give the task of hiring GMs to someone who was incapable of doing a proper job. I'm sure it's an awkward situation having to back people that in your heart you know sorely mishandled the situation. It's part of being a CEO I suppose but it could have been avoided. To have allowed a group of deluded customer service reps to abuse a group of REAL people mentally and verbally is just inexcusable.

SubjectAk Comes foward.
Posted byAnonymous
Posted on8/2/99 04:32 AM
From IP208.164.68.78  

I'll tell you why. And listen up so this comes to an end once and for all. I was in the guild. And I did most of the duping. Duped rubies, 2h Combined Axes, Lg Steel Breastplates, to name a few items for coinage. Dark Reavers, Exec. Axes, Observer Staffs to name a few. So there you have it. The proof they have is that I CONFESSED and I TOLD THEM how it was DONE. So everyone shut up already. I'm the one in hot water. Be lucky if all you did was get banned. And besides we 'informed' potential guildmates about the wonderful items they will possess if they joined our guilds. They knew what they were getting into. And if they said they didn't... well they're lying.

Akanon Alliance

SubjectWho in AA was banned? List please.
Posted byAndriana
Posted on7/29/99 1:24 PM

I was one of those suspended (supposedly 3 days, but we'll see if it's longer). I'm not sure who was banned, but if everyone who was made level one was banned the I think Makai, Quik, Rektar, Gager, Goluk, and Bethel (maybe her, can't remember if she was deleveled). There may also be more who were deleveled but I didn't con everyone there so...

Andriana Duskrose, Fenin Ro, Ak'Anon Alliance.

SubjectA Guild on Trial (AA)
Posted byAnonymous
Posted on7/28/99 2:42 PM
From IP24.6.209.53  

Further dialogue regarding the bans/suspensions of the many members of the EverQuest guild Ak'Anon Alliance is not needed at this point, most topics have been covered as have most players responded in their own way to what has transpired. With that I mind I'd like to add something to all that has been said or written. In my own way I'd like to contribute to the solution and try not to add to the confusion and poor consumer/GM relation. The only dialogue I see necessary would deal with the GMs themselves and the players in question.

We all, I'm sure, know in detail what has happened, as do I. I consider myself a non-bias third party, although I do associate in some way with members of Ak'Anon Alliance. Many of us have lost a great deal of respect for courtesy towards those in charge, or those involved (i.e. how the GMs treated the players and how the players have at times rudely responded) but when we all lose our integrity we'll lose sight of what we want... resolution.

I'm not bringing gripes, or ripping on others letters written in the spirit of resolution, but feel I'm bringing some unanswered questions to the table and revealing my view on what has occurred.

What I see... hasty actions which have manifested themselves in power hungry GMs; Angry players who feel in no way involved except for their affiliation to some players in question and yet they have been suspended; a society within a virtual reality world that follows no real life code of conduct, but simply stated rules to preserve in some small way, that games integrity (and what has happened to that integrity now?) What I see is no real chain of events, where once petitions are given and taken into account, as they should, no investigation, proof, or withholding of knowledge has been shown to anyone, only threatened with.

It is much easier for us on the outside to try to take in all of the information and keep our perspective, because it holds no real importance to us, but we still can find fault in each side. I do not understand why those that are said to be guilty are considered guilty until proven innocent, or why in this case, what could be considered their arrests, were done without any hard evidence first, only rumors. That action in and of itself has to be considered hasty and without any sort of merit towards keeping order in that society. Players perform tasks throughout their quest of fun and adventure to gain levels and reach some chief end of completion, all the while the quest continues. But why interrupt this quest and create such a backlash by players with careless actions the GMs felt were needed? In our society, those that police us must first gather their evidence, in order to warrant an arrest, what would be a suspension or even a ban in EverQuest, but even without any evidence submitted or even mentioned, the GMs took their action.

Who does, in fact, police players, the GMs or rumors surrounding poor conduct? And then who polices those GMs who act on those rumors? A similar situation to what has occurred would be that of the cop in a room by himself with a suspect, and without making an inquiry they use violence or force to coerce a confession that may never come. GMs did summon players to a location, Qeynos, and say, "Stop lying, and tell us how to dupe now or you will be banned!" and when no answers came, they used violence and force by killing players with one hit and changing their existing levels to 1. I find that to be abuse of power and even tyranny by those GMs who made those allegations. Those GMs acted as judge, jury and executioner and they ARE above the law because no one is above them, and no one governs their actions as of yet. There is no code of conduct to keep the GM/consumer relationship running smoothly and its about time that there was one. We question those that lead, govern, or police us to ensure that protocol be followed, and so why then do so many feel that they have been wronged?

Why the GMs still asked players how the duping was done, and now claim to have had hard evidence at the time follows no logic whatsoever. What can be concluded from that is either they had no real evidence and so they acted and mere rumors, or they used that situation as a form of entrapment to deceive players into saying they knew nothing when there is no way to prove they did. Loyalty is a choice we all make, whether our friend commits a heinous crime, or acts selfishly and with no ethicality in a video game setting. When we choose to remain loyal that is on our conscience and no one can prove what you know or do not know, or is no proof needed as we've seen so far? Why would those GMs have suspended a low level player who obviously had no knowledge of anything except that he was affiliated with Ak'Anon Alliance unless they were acting without any proof or names, except that it was a player in Ak'Anon Alliance and they were making a clean sweep.

After the fact, many members of Ak'Anon Alliance have made countless attempts at contacting someone, anyone, to receive answers to all these questions, and no answers have come. Why we must post letters on web pages instead of having some formal mode of contact escapes me, and if there is some proof, or someone was caught "red handed" why then has nothing been written to those in question? (email included below) If Verant is choosing to remain so covert as to who and what exactly is in question then why be so public with its vague response and send it to a web page to be posted, instead of continuing to be reserved about the process and all that is in question. If all the answers must continue to be with held, then why publicly respond when privacy, it seems, is what Verant is going for?

I completely understand that action had to be taken in one way or another. Rumors about Ak'Anon Alliance and its members have been going on for a while now, and if Verant was to disregard those comments they would be just as guilty as those who knew and didn't say anything. The only true grievance anyone can have towards Verant is why now. Why must all these players receive bans or suspensions a few days before the new PvP Team Server (Race War Server) comes up? This occurrence will just force players to buy EverQuest once and get an account key and start over, unless this situation can find some resolution. But if you were Verant, wouldn't you want another 60 bucks in your pocket?

RL friend of AA members

SubjectRe: Umm..
Posted byAnonymous
Posted on7/28/99 6:58 PM
From IP63.14.38.15  

I agree, it does look bad for Verant and maybe that comes from them not keeping up on their PR. I for one think that this whole thing is sounding really bad for Verant and if what I have heard is true about them taking people down to level 1 for saying they didn't know anything about it when at least a few of them didn't. I don't want to join a guild where someone is doing something bannable and then have me lose my character just by being in the same guild, I don't know about the rest of you but that just doesn't sound right and I would be VERY pissed off if I lost all those days and hours because of something I had no control over. One thing about the people who might have known about this but never done it themselves I can understand, I have made some very close friends on Ever Quest in all of my months playing and I know that if one of my good friends was doing something bannable I probably would not turn them in, I would say something against it like, "You really shouldn't do that, you don't want to get banned do you?" I'm loyal to my friends and even if they are doing something bad like that I doubt that I could turn them in. If they weren't banned because of what i turned them in for we sure wouldn't be friends anymore, would you want to be friends with someone who went and told on you to the GMs? So that's basically what these people who might've had knowledge of it were faced with, keep their mouth shut and keep their friend or lose a friend and not get anything out of it other than a "Thanks." from a GM woohoo what a prize. And one more final thought, if you're going to go to all the trouble to bring the characters back to level 1 that were just in the guild and didn't even know about it what about the people who bought the duped items? You know that a duped item would be sold for alot cheaper than someone who got it for real, come on it was free, so what about the people who bought these items for these low prices? They probably knew more about it than some of the members of the guild (might be how the whole rumor got out in the first place) but Verant fails to see that, they want to go on their power trip and punish innocent people whle more involved people probably got out of this with no problems. Well my thoughts at the moment with all the information I've found...

SubjectRe: yeah, hmmmm(AA)-Aaadn
Posted byAnonymous
Posted on7/28/99 2:05 PM
From IP153.35.67.152  

well...they did not have any proof, all they said was "we have proof that you all dupe" when we asked what we had duped they said "tell us how to dupe or you will be banned" and they started to spam that line over and over again.

we could not say a thing due to them booting us 1 time a min, i had to relog about 2 times.

and i(Aaadn) was the last to log as my other Char, why you ask, well i was sending tells to my friends about how unfair this was, and i was talking to a Guide, and i told her that i was sending tells. about 5 min after i told the guide, i could not (Tell,say,shout,ooc) they made it so i could not talk any more, so i had to log my other Char, Aian, and i stayed up till 7AM telling the rest of my friends...

and they had fun killing people that were rooted
3 people at that

SubjectGuild Banning, and GM Harassment
Posted byAndriana
Posted on7/27/99 11:44 PM

This is post is to inform everyone of the gross harassment propagated
by GM's Elionia, Agathorn, and Ifurita of Fenin Ro on a whole guild,
Ak'Anon Alliance.

Early Tuesday morning (July 27/99) our whole guild (and one ex member)
were all summoned by these 3 GM's to a enclosed room in the Qeynos Sewers,
where they proceeded to bind us there, kill several of the PC's summoned,
and reduced several PC's to level 1 (2 PC's were 48th, one was 35th...).
Why did they do this you ask? They claim that our WHOLE guild was duping,
even the 35th Shadow Knight wearing bronze armour and who had joined just
2 hours prior to this event. The GM's then proceeded to spam us with
"Tell us how to dupe or your accounts will be erased". None of them cared
to answer any of our questions regarding this event; e.g. what have we duped?
How do you know we have duped items? Is there anyway we can take this up
with you out of game, email or phone calls? Etc. ALL of our questions were
answered with, "Tell us how to dupe or your accounts will be erased", one GM,
Ifurita, also claimed that any emails or phone calls regarding this would be
ignored by Verant.

I can only speak for myself, I have never duped (although I'm quite sure most
of us in AA have not, if any have I don't not know who). If by chance I have
something that I acquired through trade or by accident that is duped, I would
gladly destroy it and tell the GM's whom I got it from. Of course the GM's
could care less about working with us, they're more interested in witch-hunts.

Rule one in the rules of conduct states:

1) You may NOT harass or threaten other players.

I guess these rules of conduct are too cumbersome for the GM's to follow, it also
states that failure to comply with the rules of conduct are grounds for the
termination of ones account. I hope I never see these GM's again, unless Verants
employees are too good for following their own rules of conduct.
Good thing these GM's are not policing, they'd have no problem killing 20
innocents to get the few bad guys.

I just hope none of you get accused for something in game that you know nothing
about, because with the way these GM's handled the situation they don't care
what you have to say, what questions you have, or how you feel. All they want
is the answer to their question, and if you don't know the answer? Too bad they
don't care, you'll get banned (along with everyone else they suspect) along side
those that do know the answer (even if there are none there who know).

Andriana Duskrose, 39th level ranger, Fenin Ro, Ak'Anon Alliance.

To Email: Candy@Nucleus.Com



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