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EverQuest player banned over 'child porn' claim
October 5th 2000, 19:50 CEST by andy

EverQuest creators Verant Interactive are again being accused of excessive censorship. Mystere, an EverQuest player who also posts "fan fiction" on an unofficial forum, has been banned from the game after one story was apparently deemed offensive.



The story, posted under the pseudonym Vhasst, was one of several posted to an EverQuest forum on IGN. It featured an extremely graphic portrayal of rape against a girl described as being "barely into her 14th season", leading to accusations of it being child pornography. The story was prefaced: "WARNING! The following story contains explicit scenes. Please, if you are underage or offended by graphic description, please avoid this story." The story was available on this page but has been removed since this article was posted.

Three months after the story was posted, Mystere posted this message to the IGN forum yesterday: "I seem to have been banned from EQ. No warning, no nothing. I was [away] for a few minutes and the next thing I know I come back and EQ is reloading. I try to log back in and I'm suddenly banned."

Other stories by Mystere are generally well-received by other players, with many praising the quality of writing and narrative. Some of the stories do feature very descriptive scenes of torture and/or murder but are written tastefully. (Some examples: here, here and here.)

The ban can be imposed due to a vague clause in Verant's service agreement, which states that customers may be banned for "any player activity whatsoever which is, in our sole discretion, inappropriate and/or in violation of the spirit of the Game as set forth in the player rules of conduct". The ban was imposed after someone drew Verant's attention to the story.

Gordon Wrinn, Verant's Internet Relations Manager, posted this message to the official forum, saying that the issue is "not something that we're going to discuss or justify publicly". He explained: "We make determinations based on information at hand regarding who is or is not having a positive affect on EverQuest's community. If we determine that one person's actions make EverQuest a game that other people do not want to play based upon those actions, we will excercise our right to refuse service to the extent necessary to provide a reasonable and enjoyable gaming environment."

The majority of other players commenting on the ban, on both the IGN and official forums, have condemned Verant's actions. Only a small number have supported the ban, saying that they felt the story was offensive and should not have been posted. Others have said the ban was wrong, but agreed that the story was likely to tarnish Verant's image.

In other Verant news, EQ Macros, a utility that "provides recording & playback of keystroke and mouse macros under EverQuest", has been shut down under legal pressure. The author of the utility, Ben Ziegler, posted this announcement on his web site: "John Smedley, CEO of Verant, sent me an email and requested that I stop work on EQ Macros. I responded asking him to consider developing a 3rd party developer support program, like Origin's UO Pro program, so that we could work together on improving the EQ gaming experience. I then received communications from Verant's lawyer asking me to cease & desist such activities." Ziegler has also posted a copy of the cease & desist order.

C O M M E N T S
Home » Topic: EverQuest player banned over 'child porn' claim

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#1 by "Sgt Hulka"
2000-10-05 19:54:15
Sgt_Hulka@Hulka.com http://www.hulka.com
Do I even have to say it?<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#2 by "Andy"
2000-10-05 19:57:00
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
This is the EQ Macros announcement:

<a href="http://www.uorobot.com/eqm_call_to_action.htm">http://www.uorobot.com/eqm_call_to_action.htm</a>

Silly me forgot to include the link.
#3 by "Twitch"
2000-10-05 20:00:35
twitch@gamepig.com http://www.gamepig.com
Hmmm.

<quote>"If we determine that one person's actions make EverQuest a game that other people do not want to play based upon those actions, we will excercise our right to refuse service to the extent necessary to provide a reasonable and enjoyable gaming environment."</quote>

Verant's actions are making EverQuest a game that I don't want to play, based upon those actions. Can they please shut down their own accounts immediately?
#4 by "^mortis^"
2000-10-05 20:07:27
mortis@goddamnindependent.com http://www.goddamnindependent.com
damn, i guess i need to shred my "Susie Does Stroggos" story now...

now, this story is no real reason to not play Everquest...but this link should be:

http://eqphotos.eqrealms.com/

^M^

"will there be filksinging?!?"
#5 by "Jafd"
2000-10-05 20:16:17
jNOaSPAMfPLEASEd@NOzombieworldSPAM.PLEASEcom http://jafd.isfuckingbrilliant.com
<quote>Welcome to EverCamp! You're sitting on your ass in our world now!!
You are hungry.
You are thirsty.
You are out of food and drink.
a_lawyer_pet05 says, 'Guarding you, O Splendid One'
Aradune saved.
You have gotten better at Shooting Yourself In The Foot!! (56)</quote>



Attention Smed & McQuaid: Go ask Garriot what happens when you repeatedly crap all over your fanbase. Wealthy, unemployed laughing-stock ain't much of a career goal, boyos.

I'm sure you'll get the cream of the crop to beta-test Star Wars Online, too. Woo Woo!
#6 by "Union Carbide"
2000-10-05 20:18:41
smythe@bangg.org http://www.bangg.org
It's not "child porn"

"Seasons" are a traditional roleplayer way of referring to the game mechanic of levels in a non-overt manner.
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#7 by "Union Carbide"
2000-10-05 20:24:55
smythe@bangg.org http://www.bangg.org
Oh, and in regards to the whole topic, it almost makes me wish I had an EQ account so I could cancel it over this.  :)<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#8 by "Jafd"
2000-10-05 20:31:36
jNOaSPAMfPLEASEd@NOzombieworldSPAM.PLEASEcom http://jafd.isfuckingbrilliant.com
As has been noted elsewhere, a human being of 14 seasons would be 3 and a half years old.

It just barely may be possible that if the author had wrote about a 21st level character, there would not have been a banning. However, how hard would it have been to ask the author to change the number, even after the first publish?

Well, a lot harder than banning them, I suppose... Verant is notoriously lazy.

1. "Sorry can't make the spells in the spell book re-arrangable. Too hard." (Added a couple months later as more people gained more spells and complained more)

2. "Sorry about giving the shaft to those classes that use NoRent items regularly; to fix a dupe bug we had to make it so a linkdeath dissolved all NoRents without fail." (Dupe bug didn't actually have anything to do with NoRents, but their 'fix' was to simply add a forced delay to any attempt to reconnect after linkdeath. 3 or 4 alternate solutions were proposed repeatedly to address this <b>serious</b> issue (Play a Magician on a modem? 7th circle of hell)... response? "Too hard to code.")

3.... Ye gods! For a brief minute, I had actually planned on going on and on with this list. Not going to do it... too easy.

disclaimer: I <b>used</b> to play EverQuest a <i>lot</i>. I almost weep for the poor fools who have started recently enough that the attraction is still strong. Attention current players: plan for the crash, you'll be glad you did.
#9 by "crash"
2000-10-05 20:32:16
crash@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
first off, it isn't child porn. unless, of course, you can show me a dark elf running around loose anywhere. were any dark elves harmed in the writing of this story? don't worry, we've got a signed statement of legal age disclosure on file. oh, and is Lolita child porn? how about Anne Rice/Rampling's "Belinda"? (yes, i know the literary quality differs widely, but fiction is fiction.)

second, it isn't child porn. "season" in these games = "levels". it's a very common usage in fanfic of this type, since, y'know, it's kinda breaking fiction to refer to your 46th level fighter. (then again, when you're blind to your fanbase, well, i can see where you wouldn't know that.)

third, based on VI's past history in this type of draconian "customer service", i cannot believe that anyone that has ever read about their antics or policies would be surprised by this. i'm only surprised that it's taken as long as it has for something like this to have happened.

me, i think it's hilarious.

wanna know how many ppl are going to stop playing EQ because of this? i'd peg the number at less than 50. and the funniest part about this? not a damned thing is going to change. people are masochists. just look at EQ's continuing--and growing--subscriber base for proof of that.

oh, and btw, here's a nice link:

http://everquest.station.sony.com/hht/h_profile_zatozia.shtml

one has to wonder what the difference is between the two. Lum said it best:

<b>YOU ARE IN OUR WORLD NOW. COMPLY.</b>

whee ain't double standards fun? and just think of how many star wars fanfic folks are <b>already pre-banned</b> for the fiction they've written! the mind boggles.

but really, penalizing players for stuff they do on their own time on non-affiliated messageboards really isn't censorship, especially when they're using <i>your own role-playing guidelines</i> to write and ponder with. well, much. but then again, when you're megalith Sony and Verant, i guess you can do pretty much whatever the hell you want, right? this little incident is proof. lemme just sum up Wrinn's reply:

"We will do what we want, and that is that. Case closed. You're in our world now. Don't like it? Tough. Pony up your ten bucks, shut up, and do what we tell you."

y'know, i just can't stop laughing. and i can't wait for EQ fans to defend this, because--well, Stockholm Syndrome is alive and well in Verant's world.

(oh and by the by, the offensive story was posted 11 July. today is 5 October. by my reckoning, that's about three months.)

---
Dave replies, "No. You are. I'm gonna set fire to the shed."<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#10 by ""
2000-10-05 20:34:24
out of 297000 people how many do you think will cancel their account? maybe um maybe 1? i dont think verant is going bankrupt now.
#11 by "Terata"
2000-10-05 20:37:35
jstatz@ravensoft.com
I just posted a link to Lum's page about this in my finger.  I don't think I've ever been so apalled by something related to EQ as this banning, and that's saying a lot -- I've been playing a year and a half and have seen some stupidly offensive design decisions and remarkably inept QA in that time.

"Sure this quest is doable!  See, if I type the command to spawn this item then give it to the right NPC I can finish it!  What do you mean I missed a step?"
#12 by "Union Carbide"
2000-10-05 20:40:06
smythe@bangg.org http://www.bangg.org
<b>#9</b> "crash" wrote...
<quote>
oh, and btw, here's a nice link:

http://everquest.station.sony.com/hht/h_profile_zatozia.shtml
</QUOTE>

I guess the crime, then, was not writing a torture story, but writing a torture story better than Verant was capable of.

And I agree, less than one tenth of one percent of EQs subscriber base will quit because of this.

I love listening to EQ players that are pissed at Verant.

EQite: "This is terrible and I can't believe Verant would do this, someone should make them stop!"
Normal:  "So quit EQ and tell them why you are doing it.  That's the only thing that will make them change"
EQite:  "I can't quit!  I have too many friends and too much phat lewt, and there's an expansion coming out and when I think about quitting my hands start to shake and if I don't play for more than 10 hours I start to get irritable and my toungue turns purple and gets all fuzzy!  EAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!"<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#13 by "Andy"
2000-10-05 20:40:07
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#9</b>, crash:
<QUOTE>
(oh and by the by, the offensive story was posted 11 July. today is 5 October. by my reckoning, that's about three months.)
</QUOTE>
That's why I mentioned it. :-)
#14 by "crash"
2000-10-05 20:44:50
crash@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
Andy (#13): doh. i see the mention now. never mind.

---
Dave replies, "No. You are. I'm gonna set fire to the shed."
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#15 by "Terata"
2000-10-05 20:51:03
jstatz@ravensoft.com
12 -- Most of them are a bit insane.  I've got no illusions that I like the game a great deal, otherwise I wouldn't still be playing it.  It's just a shame to see an otherwise very good game be so incredibly mismanaged at times.
#16 by "Twitch"
2000-10-05 20:51:19
twitch@gamepig.com http://www.gamepig.com
#9 crash wrote:

<quote>but really, penalizing players for stuff they do on their own time on non-affiliated messageboards really isn't censorship, especially when they're using your own role-playing guidelines to write and ponder with</quote>

Some people consider censorship only to be a "prior restraint" of speech; i.e., keeping them from talking in the first place. Others think of it as only when speech is prevented or punished by the government. Still others would consider it any speech-chilling or penalizing actions, in which case, what they're doing clearly WOULD be censorship.

Even if the account cancellation isn't "censorship" under whatever definition you choose, it's still (imo) a foolish overreaction, and a generally obnoxious thing to do. And before anyone says it, it doesn't matter that they "had every right to do it." What people CAN do and what people SHOULD do are not the same, and this is a matter of "should." :)
#17 by "Andy"
2000-10-05 20:52:26
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#11</b>, Terata:
<QUOTE>
I just posted a link to Lum's page about this in my finger.
</QUOTE>
My coverage not good enough for ya, <b><i>HEY?!</i></b> :-)

Normally I don't do a full report if it's already been done somewhere else, so I'm glad I hadn't seen Lum's before I wrote this. I think there are problems with the way Lum has presented it. Whether you agree or disagree with what Verant has done, you still have to tell their side of the story. Lum hasn't done that. He hasn't even been fair in his explanation of the reasons.

Stories like this aren't suitable for "rant" reporting, IMO.
#18 by "Jafd"
2000-10-05 20:56:28
jNOaSPAMfPLEASEd@NOzombieworldSPAM.PLEASEcom http://jafd.isfuckingbrilliant.com
<b>Andy</b> (#17):
<QUOTE>Stories like this aren't suitable for "rant" reporting, IMO. </QUOTE>

Note the words at the top of Lum's page. "The Rantings of Lum the Mad." What reporting?

Don't worry Andy; you're the only <b>real</b> <i>journalist</i> around here!!!
#19 by "Union Carbide"
2000-10-05 20:57:52
smythe@bangg.org http://www.bangg.org
Woo, one other thing:  Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't EQ's recent expansion Ruins of Kunark have cover art depicting a High Elf maiden in bondage?  Nothin like a good ol' dose of corporate hypocracy to get you started in the morning :)

--
God is real, unless explicitly declared integer.
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#20 by "Greg"
2000-10-05 20:59:49
I'm glad I don't play EQ. I've played UO and Asheron's Call when they were both in beta, but I couldn't bring myself to pay $10/month to play these games. Verant seems to be the worst when dealing with player issues though.

Greg<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#21 by "Terata"
2000-10-05 21:01:40
jstatz@ravensoft.com
Andy -- Well, frankly, I take Lum's side.  =P
#22 by "Andy"
2000-10-05 21:10:33
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#21</b>, Terata:
<QUOTE>
Andy -- Well, frankly, I take Lum's side. =P
</QUOTE>
The fact that he's got a "side" says it all. :-)
#23 by "BloodKnight"
2000-10-05 21:58:40
bloodknight@somethingawful.com
<b>Union Carbide</b> (#12):
<QUOTE>And I agree, less than one tenth of one percent of EQs subscriber base will quit
because of this. </QUOTE>

Not to sound like a total jackass but why don't people just play the fucking game normally.  Do they have to post some torture story, what do they gain?

Or should I be playing EQ and knowing Verant is really this pathetic?

<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#24 by "PainKilleR-[CE]"
2000-10-05 22:04:32
painkiller@planetfortress.com http://www.planetfortress.com/tftech/
As for the first part, I think the person writes quite well, and probably could do more to get people to play EQ than get people to stop (or not want to) play EQ. If people are offended by that specific story, they probably shouldn't have read it (or finished reading it) to begin with. I've certainly read far worse with fewer elements of fiction and worse storytelling.

As for the EQMacros thing, I can only wonder if they would've had a problem with it if the guy wasn't selling it. Notice the only thing they seem to be referring to is also the only thing on his site that he's selling. If I made a .cfg writing utility for Q3 and id sent me a cease & desist letter after I started selling it for $20 per user, I wouldn't even bother complaining, because I should know better than to try to sell something that works with their software without their permission.

-PainKilleR-[CE]
#25 by "GreenMarine"
2000-10-05 22:15:38
brandonr@3drealms.com http://www.3drealms.com
Hehehe.  I always thought in EQ and MUD lore "season" meant LEVEL not AGE.  Christ, most of the Elves running around in these games are supposed to be several hundred years old.

I think this is a case of some Verant suit being offended and handing down a decision.  Or something weird, because I can't see the players or even the developer-players giving a fuck about a fan story.
#26 by "Stepto"
2000-10-05 22:24:17
Stepto@gamersangst.com http://www.gamersangst.com
The Education of Thorin Longleaf

by

Stepto

<b>NOTE: The following story is a recounting of an imaginary event occuring in an imaginary universe that is in no way connected with 20th Century Fox, LucasArts or LucasFilm, The MPAA, The RIAA, or Planetcrap.

It does however occur in Verant Software's Everquest Universe.</b>

The moon hung low and fat in the somewhat pixelated night sky as Thorin Longleaf shed his tunic and stood, naked as a ruin of Kunark, before his lover.  Although only 13 units of time old, he had already built a reputation as the most skilled lover in---

<B><QUOTE>genport I/O intialization error</B></QUOTE>

Please wait while Everquest is loading...

---Took her roughly, jabbing his---

<B><QUOTE>genport I/O intialization error</b></quote>

Please wait while Everquest is loading...

muffling her cries with his hand while slapping her---

<B><QUOTE>genport I/O intialization error</b></quote>

Please wait while Everquest is loading...

---held her down while the other four took their turn and---

<B><QUOTE>genport I/O intialization error</b></quote>

Please wait while everquest is loading...

Error, could not log on!


S.
#27 by "GreenMarine"
2000-10-05 22:25:22
brandonr@3drealms.com http://www.3drealms.com
ROFL Stepto, that's pretty funny.
#28 by "Union Carbide"
2000-10-05 22:32:52
smythe@bangg.org http://www.bangg.org
<a href="http://lum.xrgaming.net/eqk.jpg">Ban computer game Elf bondage pr0n.</a>  Do it for the children.

--
God is real, unless explicitly declared integer.
<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#29 by "ReconN"
2000-10-05 22:38:04
reconn@captured.com http://www.captured.com/
^mortis^ from The Down?  And Ghostfan?
#30 by "^mortis^"
2000-10-05 22:42:38
mortis@goddamnindependent.com http://www.goddamnindependent.com
29:  yes, from the Down...Ghostfan...uhm, nope. haven't heard of that, but i hated the movie Ghost, if that counts.

^M^
#31 by "JMCDaveL"
2000-10-05 22:43:27
lachney@ebicom.net
Jesus Christ almighty, Andy's talking about bias!

At least Lum's story on EQ Macro's told what exactly the program did, the macroing actions stuff was only a very small piece of the program. And from what I read a lot of people liked the things the program did.

Why post stories about multiplayer games that aren't FPS's if you don't have a damned clue what you are talking about?

--jmc
#32 by "Union Carbide"
2000-10-05 22:46:08
smythe@bangg.org http://www.bangg.org
<b>#17</b> "Andy" wrote...
<QUOTE>
Stories like this aren't suitable for "rant" reporting, IMO.
</QUOTE>

Uh, WTF do you think PlanetCrap is?  Your delusions of grandeur to the contrary, this ain't no New York Times.  Shit, it's not even the New York Post.

--
God is real, unless explicitly declared integer.<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#33 by "ReconN"
2000-10-05 22:48:08
reconn@captured.com http://www.captured.com/
Ghostfan:
http://ghostfan.valveworld.com/

I guess that's a different Mortis.
#34 by "PainKilleR-[CE]"
2000-10-05 22:58:33
painkiller@planetfortress.com http://www.planetfortress.com/tftech/
<b>#31</b> "JMCDaveL" wrote...
<QUOTE>At least Lum's story on EQ Macro's told what exactly the program did, the macroing actions stuff was only a very small piece of the program. And from what I read a lot of people liked the things the program did.
</QUOTE>

hmm I just went and read Lum's story on the EQMacros, and actually the only thing it really says is about what Andy said, along with a link to an earlier story that said what it does. Considering this was the final paragraph of an 8 paragraph story over here, I'm not surprised there's a slight difference, since the bulk of the story here was about someone being banned from the game, and the Macros thing was an aside. Andy doesn't even seem to offer any real opinion on the EQMacros, it just kindof looks like a 'hey, this isn't all that Verant's doing that doesn't seem right'.

Personally, it all just makes me glad that I'm not playing EQ, and that I never have played it. I've been interested several times, but usually the combined cost of $40-50 for the CD, which basically just lets you access the game, and $10 per month to continue playing the game, just turns me away from it. At least I waited until I only had to pay about $20 before I bothered trying UO, so that's all I had to pay when I decided I wasn't going to play it beyond the free month that came with it.

-PainKilleR-[CE]
#35 by "Apache"
2000-10-05 23:13:54
apache@stomped.com http://unreal.stomped.com
EverQuest = Online Golf
#36 by "Lum the Mad"
2000-10-05 23:18:29
lum@lumthemad.net http://www.lumthemad.net
He hasn't even been fair in his explanation
 of the reasons.

I'd be interested in why you think this. I thought I was pretty evenhanded considering it was a remarkably boneheaded move on Verant's part. I posted both Mystere's and Gordon Wrinn's side of the story, then explained why I thought it was whacked in the head.

I freely admit to not being a profeshanul joornalist (I leave that to Gamespy) but I do try to at least post enough for people to make up their own minds about things like this.
#37 by "Andy"
2000-10-05 23:44:50
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#36</b>, Lum the Mad:
<QUOTE>
I'd be interested in why you think this. I thought I was pretty evenhanded considering it was a remarkably boneheaded move on Verant's part. I posted both Mystere's and Gordon Wrinn's side of the story, then explained why I thought it was whacked in the head.
</QUOTE>
Okay, but let me say first that I've got nothing against you or your web site. I've used your site as a starting point for info on previous EverQuest stories and I generally like your style. But on this occasion...
<quote>
BANNED FOR ROLEPLAYING
</quote>
This is very misleading. It was the extreme sexual content of the story that lead to the banning, not the role-playing aspect.
<quote>
Yep, you read that right. Not only is roleplaying rare in EQ, it's also apparently bannable now.
</quote>
Wrong, for the same reason.
<quote>
A few days ago, Mystere of Brell Serilis posted an in character <a href="http://vnboards.ign.com/message.asp?topic=7048656&replies=7">story</a> of her and another character torturing two High Elves.
</quote>
You're talking about, and linking to, the wrong story.

Remember that the guy from Raven has linked to your site in his .plan file, which will no doubt be picked up by news sites, so hundreds/thousands of people are going to get "the story" from your site. Oops, you just gave a lot of people the wrong info, and made Verant look a lot more stupid than they otherwise would. How many of those people will return to the site to see the less-publicised follow-up? :-)
<quote>
Yet, Verant saw a problem with their Dark Elves being actually Dark.
</quote>
No, they (presumably) saw a problem with their game being associated with material that some other customers were calling child pornography.
<quote>
Verant took issue with her writing a story that involved ritual torture. Possibly it was confused with <a href="http://vnboards.ign.com/message.asp?topic=6102849&page=1">this story</a> that was much more graphic, involving the sadistic mutilation and rape of a 14 year old dark elf.
</quote>
It wasn't "confused" with that story. That was the story. If you look at the messages following the story you're talking about, the author has actually stated that it is NOT the story s/he was banned for.

Also, "14 year old" is wrong. It was written in the story as "barely into her 14th season" which, as I understand it, doesn't mean 14 years. If I'm wrong on this, I apologise. I don't play EverQuest, but this is what I've been told.
<quote>
Regardless, and again, if the side of the story we're hearing is the truth, Verant banned someone for roleplaying incorrectly.
</quote>
Again, misleading.
<quote>
Verant banned someone for posting in-character on EQ Vault.
</quote>
No, they banned someone for posting material that (an)other customer(s) had complained about.

--

Now, don't get the wrong impression from this. I'm not trying to make you look bad. The "mistakes" (as I see them) in your coverage have all come about due to ONE misunderstanding. So you've only really got one thing wrong, it just means that everything else you've said is wrong too! :-)

Your mistake is perfectly understandable. I made exactly the same mistake at first, I just happened to dig around a little more and realised where I'd gone wrong. On another story, it could have been the other way round.
#38 by "Lum the Mad"
2000-10-05 23:55:05
lum@lumthemad.net http://www.lumthemad.net
<quote>This is very misleading. It was the extreme sexual content of the story that lead to the banning, not the role-playing aspect.</quote>

Sure. But last I heard, extreme sexual content was not grounds for banning from any MMORPG. Hell, EQ loves sex, they use it as a sales tool (just look at the character models).

In MMORPGs hardcore roleplayers post in message forums all the time in character. It quite often is very graphically sexual and for these stories to be targeted is just, well, bizarre.

<quote>Remember that the guy from Raven has linked to your site in his .plan file, which will no doubt be picked up by news sites, so hundreds/thousands of people are going to get "the story" from your site. Oops, you just gave a lot of people the wrong info, and made Verant look a lot more stupid than they otherwise would. How many of those people will return to the site to see the less-publicised follow-up? :-)
</quote>

At the moment I've only gotten refers from the .plan file and its various and sundry plantrackers. The fallout from IGN closing Vault Network pretty much is drowning out everything else at the moment though.

<quote>No, they banned someone for posting material that (an)other customer(s) had complained about.</quote>

Which in itself is asinine. If a customer complains that you sent them an insulting email, should you be banned from EQ?

Regardless, I don't think the story as I posted is too far off the mark. Yes, I didn't know that Vhasst and Mystere were the same person - but as I pointed out, even "Vhasst"'s far more extreme story should not be grounds for being banned from an MMORPG. As I pointed out, the basic facts of what happened are:

1) A player posts graphic stories, in character, on a message board on ign.com (which has no official affiliation with Sony or Verant).

2) As that player relates, someone took offense at the violent nature of his stories and threatens to retaliate, bringing them to the attention of Verant.

3) Verant is offended by the stories and bans the player from Everquest.

We hire Verant to keep the servers running, not to police our morals.
#39 by "Lum the Mad"
2000-10-05 23:56:21
lum@lumthemad.net http://www.lumthemad.net
<quote>This is very misleading. It was the extreme sexual content of the story that lead to the banning, not the role-playing aspect.</quote>

Sure. But last I heard, extreme sexual content was not grounds for banning from any MMORPG. Hell, EQ loves sex, they use it as a sales tool (just look at the character models).

In MMORPGs hardcore roleplayers post in message forums all the time in character. It quite often is very graphically sexual and for these stories to be targeted is just, well, bizarre.

<quote>Remember that the guy from Raven has linked to your site in his .plan file, which will no doubt be picked up by news sites, so hundreds/thousands of people are going to get "the story" from your site. Oops, you just gave a lot of people the wrong info, and made Verant look a lot more stupid than they otherwise would. How many of those people will return to the site to see the less-publicised follow-up? :-)
</quote>

At the moment I've only gotten about 30 refers from the .plan file and its various and sundry plantrackers. The fallout from IGN closing Vault Network pretty much is drowning out everything else at the moment though. Well that and xrgaming's server going up and down intermittently all day.

<quote>No, they banned someone for posting material that (an)other customer(s) had complained about.</quote>

Which in itself is asinine. If a customer complains that you sent them an insulting email, should you be banned from EQ?

Regardless, I don't think the story as I posted is too far off the mark. Yes, I didn't know that Vhasst and Mystere were the same person - but as I pointed out, even "Vhasst"'s far more extreme story should not be grounds for being banned from an MMORPG. As I pointed out, the basic facts of what happened are:

1) A player posts graphic stories, in character, on a message board on ign.com (which has no official affiliation with Sony or Verant).

2) As that player relates, someone took offense at the violent nature of his stories and threatens to retaliate, bringing them to the attention of Verant.

3) Verant is offended by the stories and bans the player from Everquest.

We hire Verant to keep the servers running, not to police our morals.
#40 by "crash"
2000-10-06 00:04:56
crash@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
before we start, let's view all the official correspondence anyone has admitting to receiving on this matter. Abashi's post, from <a href="http://boards.station.sony.com/everquest/Forum2/HTML/020716-5.html">the Station's board</a>, reads thus:

<quote>Like all other account issues, this is a matter between us and the owner of the account. It's not something that we're going to discuss or
justify publicly.

We make determinations based on information at hand regarding who is or is not having a positive affect on EverQuest's community. If we determine that one person's actions make EverQuest a game that other people do not want to play based upon those actions, we will excercise our right to refuse service to the extent necessary to provide a reasonable and enjoyable gaming environment.

This is the extent to which we'll address this specific issue. If people have general questions not related to the specific issues in this case, I'll be happy to field them tomorrow. This issue is however closed.</quote>

anybody see any specifics in there? no? neither do i. okay.

Andy (#37):
<i>This is very misleading. It was the extreme sexual content of the story that lead to the banning, not the role-playing aspect.</i>

really? i'm wondering where you got confirmation for this supposition. Abashi send you a personal note telling you why the banning took place? because i'd hate to think you were drawing conclusions from a lack of real information. fact is, no one <i>knows</i> what the reason is, and the only thing that's come outta Sony is above.

<i>Wrong, for the same reason.</i>

confirm, please. Abashi ain't said shit to anyone about this, unless you have some s00p3r-s3kr1t correspondence that you haven't yet mentioned. knowing what i do about VI and Sony's methodology, i'd bet serious cash no such correspondence exists.

<i>No, they (presumably) saw a problem with their game being associated with material that some other customers were calling child pornography.</i>

ahh, now we get presumably. nice to admit that you don't know on the third refutation.

don't get me wrong--you can make all the guesses you like. but that's all they are: guesses. "wrong" and "right" on what's clearly an unresolved (and largely unspecified) issue don't even enter into it.

of course, if you have information that you're not sharing to justify this supposition, then never mind. would be curious to know why, if you've got them, you haven't yet used or referred to them, though.

<i>The "mistakes" (as I see them) in your coverage have all come about due to ONE misunderstanding.</i>

ahh, the irony. delicious plain, or with sauce.

---
Dave replies, "No. You are. I'm gonna set fire to the shed."<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#41 by "PiRaMidA"
2000-10-06 00:09:20
piramida@agsm.net http://www.agsm.net
Hmmm, check this out:

<quote>The message/s you requested could not be found or have been removed from our database. We apologize for the inconvenience.</quote>

Yeah, *that* message. (http://vnboards.ign.com/message.asp?topic=6102849&page=1).

(finally decided to read what was so bad about that story; and I swear it was there 1 hour before when I did not quite read it).<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#42 by "Andy"
2000-10-06 00:09:38
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#38</b>, Lum the Mad:
<QUOTE>
Sure. But last I heard, extreme sexual content was not grounds for banning from any MMORPG. Hell, EQ loves sex, they use it as a sales tool (just look at the character models).

In MMORPGs hardcore roleplayers post in message forums all the time in character. It quite often is very graphically sexual and for these stories to be targeted is just, well, bizarre.
</QUOTE>
But that's subjective. :-)

It's not your "job" to gather information, form an opinion, and then report your opinion as fact. It's your job to get the information and pass it on, with your opinion as an extra if you're so inclined.
<QUOTE>
At the moment I've only gotten refers from the .plan file and its various and sundry plantrackers. The fallout from IGN closing Vault Network pretty much is drowning out everything else at the moment though.
</QUOTE>
Well, one person getting the wrong info is one too many. ;-)
<QUOTE>
Regardless, I don't think the story as I posted is too far off the mark.
</QUOTE>
It couldn't have been much further off the mark!

The point of your story was: This person got banned for posting this. But the "this" was the wrong one. So people are making a judgement about one thing based on something else.

It would be like me saying "Lum the Mad runs a porn site" and linking to a porn site to prove it. It's a pretty major mistake!
<QUOTE>
Yes, I didn't know that Vhasst and Mystere were the same person
</QUOTE>
Well that's a bit sloppy, to be honest. Didn't you notice the similarity in style? Even that "/ooc" thing should have tipped you off.
<QUOTE>
2) As that player relates, someone took offense at the violent nature of his stories and threatens to retaliate, bringing them to the attention of Verant.
</QUOTE>
Now, here's another thing: You're saying "his". On your site, you refer to both "he" and "she". Which is it? I wasn't 100% sure either, so I wrote the story in such a way that I didn't need to use any gender-specific pronouns. Small point, but... :-)
#43 by "Andy"
2000-10-06 00:10:22
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#41</b>, PiRaMidA:
<quote>
The message/s you requested could not be found or have been removed from our database. We apologize for the inconvenience.
</quote>
Yep, just noticed that myself. Interesting timing.
#44 by "crash"
2000-10-06 00:10:47
crash@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
oh, and a weird thought that just occurred to me:

how is banning them from EQ going to change the negative effects VI claims these players have on the game? it's not like removing them from the game is going to stop the source of the original complaint, after all, because they didn't do this negative stuff in the game.

to wit: someone gets offended by something on a msgboard, VI bans them from the game... and, uh, i guess the author can just keep on writing. so the banning has exactly zero effect on the problem VI claims they wanted to correct. uh? i'm not entirely understanding this. did i miss something? well, yeah, probably. question is, what <i>am</i> i missing here?

what's VI going to do next to put a stop to this influence, i wonder? once they ban, what else <i>can</i> they do?

guess we're going to see.

---
Dave replies, "No. You are. I'm gonna set fire to the shed."<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#45 by "PiRaMidA"
2000-10-06 00:14:33
piramida@agsm.net http://www.agsm.net
Post <b>#44</b> by crash:
<QUOTE><i>what's VI going to do next to put a stop to this influence, i wonder? once they ban, what else <I>can</I> they do?

guess we're going to see.
</i></QUOTE>

Um, requesting removal of the offending messages from every messageboard they get posted at? :) (#41/#43)<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#46 by "Andy"
2000-10-06 00:15:06
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#40</b>, crash:

All of the information to answer your questions is publicly available.
#47 by "rei"
2000-10-06 00:53:42
...for those defending "14 seasons" as not "14 years" and as "14 levels"...why the hell would you describe the aproximation of 30ish-40ish (whatever) with 'barely'?

face it, the youth seems to have been implied.

seems fucked up to me.
#48 by "12xu"
2000-10-06 01:07:51
mswitzer@insync.net http://http;//www.hichouston.org
<b>#47</b> "rei" wrote...
<QUOTE>...for those defending "14 seasons" as not "14 years" and as "14 levels"...why the hell would you describe the aproximation of 30ish-40ish (whatever) with 'barely'?

face it, the youth seems to have been implied.

seems fucked up to me. </QUOTE>

To some a 14th level character is young...I can't read the story now as it is gone (unless someone was smart enough to mirror it) so I can't gauge the point of view it was written from...and for an elf that will live hundreds of years 30 or 40 is the equivalent 10 or so...

12xu
out<I><B></B></I><I></I><I></I>
#49 by "Andy"
2000-10-06 01:11:52
andy@nospam.planetcrap.com http://www.meejahor.com/
<b>#47</b>, rei:
<QUOTE>
face it, the youth seems to have been implied.
</QUOTE>
Yep, but prepare for a few people to argue otherwise. The whole tone of the story suggested youth, virginity and innocence. Shame people can't judge for themselves now that the story has been removed (and no, I won't be posting it).
#50 by "Lockeworth"
2000-10-06 01:16:09
lockeworth@stratics.com http://at.stratics.com
<b>Andy</b>:
<quote>It's not your "job" to gather information, form an opinion, and then report your opinion as fact. It's your job to get the information and pass it on, with your opinion as an extra if you're so inclined.</quote>
You're digging yourself in deeper with this debate. :)

Lum has remarked several times on his rant site that he does not post news because he HAS to.. because he is PAID to.. nah, he just likes to.

((last I heard, mind... perhaps this has changed))

Which of course, does mean he may be sloppy in reporting and not as exact as a true journalist in his research... but that's why we have PlanetCrap, eh? :p.

Random curiousity: Are you researching the Vault closing?
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