In what is being described by some as a flashback to the days when EQ reigned with an iron banstick (like me, for example - Bunnies of Chaos ring anyone's bell?), the WoW forums this week were their usual festering pool of flames and taunts, but this time they had a focus - news that a guild had been moved to a non-character transfer server; a server they should never have been able to get to.
Our story starts here on the Eldre'Thalas server forum, where some bright young Dwarf noticed in a spate of lag that his server had some new uninvited visitors. Outraged residents of the server who wished to keep their play environment unaffected by outside influences such as uber gear and "server firsts" threw up their arms. One member of the translocated guild replied the following in the same thread:
Many of you sent in game /whispers to me last night. I thought I explained things quite well. All that I spoke to welcomed us and we look forward to meeting all of you and raiding ect.The people I see posting here are people I spoke with last night.
Displaced is not here to " dump" gold onto the economy. That is not going to happen. The server has it's own set of gold farmers to do that. We also aren't all "geared up". We have no MC gear and none of us have full sets yet. We see people on the server with better gear than us. We look forward to raiding with all of you and having fun while we are here.
If you have any questions for any Displaced members send us a /tell and we will be more than happy to answer them. Once again we are excited to meet you and play with you all and we will have a ton if fun.
Once the topic was posted to the higher-traffic General forum the momentum began to pick up with accusations a GM had moved the guild because of favortism. Queue Caydiem's entrance to announce the guild move was "a result of a disciplinary action" and to lock the thread.
Other threads soon appeared, including this one where an out-of-touch-with-the-community Ordinn tells all you kids to shut up and shove off because its a "boring GM issue" which is being made up to be "the hottest topic since the Honor system". Here's a clue, Ordinn. God knows you need it. It is the hottest topic since the Honor system. But I'll tell you why in a little bit.
Back to our story, Ordinn had built upon Caydiem's post and let slip some more information that the guild move in fact weren't the ones in violation of the harrassment policy which essentially confused matters. If the people moved weren't the ones in the wrong, why in fact were they moved at all? Why were the people doing the harrassing not the ones to be suspended/punished in a way fitting the policy? Is Blizzard using the tried and failed Kangaroo Court system?
Some digging around by players soon discovered that the guild in question, now called Displaced, was once known as Crusaders of Apathy and resided upon Uther. One roving reporter was able to question a guild member which just added fuel to the fire over whether players could believe the Blizzard Community Team.
Further prodding in uncomfortable places by players turned up the Crusaders of Apathy website which resided at the address of http://apathy.brokentoys.org. Which, if any of you regular readers paying any attention to what is written instead of surfing my site for elf pr0n should know, is on the same domain as the MMO/political blog of a one Mr. Scott "Lum, but you can call me Mad" Jennings.
Scott, soon becoming aware of the drama bomb going off in his backyard for once, decided to do the right thing considering he works for a rival MMO company and all, and took down the Crusaders of Apathy website, leaving this note (now since removed):
"...My wife’s in the guild, and my webspace is her webspace, so I gave them a board. Thanks to all the drama that a-sploded while I was on DAOC last night, I asked them to take their guild stuff elsewhere this morning."
And yes, for the record, he apparently has no influence over WoW GMs. Which is complete bullshit. We all know he hexes GM dolls while slaughtering virgin unicorns.
But what of Lum's Other Half? Well, it seems the lass has turned into a bit of a GM drama magnet.
Meanwhile, further relevations about the Crusaders of Apathy were unravelling - The guild was full of assholes. The guild and its leader think they're the best thing since Dwarven sliced bread and fuck everyone else over. Ninja looting. Spawn stealing. General fucktards. The guild is run by Satan. That kind of thing. A possible story was beginning to emerge - The Crusaders of Apathy were being harrassed by the people they had harrassed orginally, and instead of using a brain, going by the Blizzard policy set in place, and doing something like warning/banning the people harrassing others, a WoW GM instead helped out a friend or daunted by, you know, hard work, of his/her own accord moved the guild to another server.
A day later and after investigating this "boring GM issue", Ordinn lays out all Blizzards newbie stupid mistakes in full which leads me to say "test the complex realm-to-realm transfer functionality" my arse. Blizzard, you've already been transfering characters from realms to other realms for over over a month now. You've just opened up 2 more server transfers. The functionality is tested. What happened here is a green GM, faced with many people hating the one guild, went against policy that should be as clear as your GM password (and why the hell is it not as clear?) and either helped a friend out or took the easy but wrong way out and then lied about testing tools. That's what your database gurus and head GMs are there for - testing tools and policies - not some fresh off the bus kid. And now we've got to wonder how wet behind the ears your community team is, Blizzard, when we see them clearly fumbling around in the dark with their fingers up their noses when it comes to written policy.
Now, back to you, Ordinn, and my little lesson. This issue set in front of us is the hottest topic in town (and which you just confirmed by posting that last message there) because it all comes down to probity and respect. Even a bit of reputation. You see, us players are customers in a competitive market. And us players have to choose where to spend our money in this market. I mean, everyone wants it and we can't give it to everyone. But by putting our monthly pocket money in your coffers we're more than asking to use your server infrastrcture - we're asking to be treated with the same equality and courtesy as any other customer. Even if Bob down the road used to play golf with Mike Morhaime every second Sunday, he is paying the same monthly installment as Jill next door and Jill expects the same treatment and attention as Bob. By giving us this, we feel safe with a stable product and a stable company. Hey, we're even more likely to give you more money when we feel like this.
So when it comes down to an issue that is infringing upon the probity of the game we choose to invest our time and money in - a game we enjoy because it offers some semblance of fairness -, nevermind the fact the company we choose to enter some form of business agreement with, us players will get kind of riled up and perhaps shitty at you. But guess what? As a Community Representative it is your job to understand that and deal with it. Judging from your post history, maybe you'd understand that if you had some respect for your customers. Because when we lose respect and probity, we may as well just chuck the policy book out the door, remove the prices, fling open the doors, and screw each other royally until we bleed.
Update: Patchtimer.org adds more fuel to the fire.
I play on uther and have some of the inside scoop info. The guild that was moved form Uther was call Crusaders of Apathy. There GL, Prankster was always bragging about being an ex-blizzard employee, and how he still talks to people at Blizzard all the time.
He and most of his guild were pretty much universally hated. Total asshats. ninja loot, guild member stealing, instant invites for anyone, and instant boots for anyone who didn't suck up to Prankster. It got so bad that they could not group with pretty much anyone on the server anymore, and since they didn't have the manpower to do any significant raids Dave called in a favor and got them all moved.