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T O P I C
The Empire Strikes Back
February 22nd 2001, 10:28 CET by Morn

Thanks to several gaming site webmasters who forwarded this interesting little email to us:

Thank you to everyone who supported the <a href="http://www.petitiononline.com/SwS/petition.html">Star Wars Galaxies Stormtrooper petition</a> to encourage Verant Interactive to include playable Stormtroopers in the upcoming MMORPG, Star Wars Galaxies.

With over 150 signatures the petition was a smash success and one Verant Interactive could not ignore, forcing them to add playable Stormtrooper armor to Star Wars Galaxies as noted in <a href="http://boards.station.sony.com/ubb/starwars/Forum3/HTML/004593.html">this forum post</a> from Creative Director Raph Koster,

"The plan on both of those WAS yes, because it's the easiest way to make the Imperial NPCs anyway. But now we're revisiting because of all the stir, as I said yesterday. And based on what the revisit says, we may change that. EG, if we find some way to work in greater involvement with the military, then the answer might be no, only military people get to."

At this time I am sad to report that after forming the petition, getting the news out there to gaming news pages and getting over 150 signatures, both of the petition writers, Bad Mojo6 & FletcherPratt were banned from the Sony Station forums.  This included the removal of their EverQuest accounts.

Let me underline that, their <u>EverQuest</u> accounts were removed for starting a petition related to <u>Star Wars Galaxies</u>.

It would seem that Verant doesn't want to hear development suggestions from avid fans of the Star Wars universe.  This banning was appealed and denied without just cause.

If you could mention this travisty on your website to keep other EverQuest players from falling into the same trap, it would be greatly appreciated.

-Bad Mojo

---
Bad Mojo
<a href="mailto:badmojo@planet-side.com">badmojo@planet-side.com</a>
<a href="http://www.planet-side.com">http://www.planet-side.com</a>


<b>Update:</b>

Hey everyone, just wanted to take a second to talk about our policies on this forum.
The reason we banned FletcherPratt was because of language abuse, spamming his petition, and reposting BadMojo6s posts. All three of these are violations of our station terms of service. We have sent him multiple emails warning him of his actions, and even recommended he review the terms of service before further action would be taken.

We do not ban for constructive criticism, creating petitions, or having a position that differs from the developers. We can easily show thousands of posts that disagreed with our developers that were not removed and their posters weren’t banned. However, we do not tolerate flaming, spamming and, frankly, repeated rude behavior. We are spending a lot of resources to bring the community a very civil place that they can discuss their opinions and give us quality feedback, whether positive or negative. We are not providing these forums for people to call us names or spam complaints.

Going forward, we hope not to have to ban many people. To date, we’ve only done a couple. However, it will happen. I just want you to know that we do give people the benefit of the doubt by sending multiple warnings first (unless their offense is particularly egregious, such as threatening someone’s life). We do not intend on publicly explaining every banning.

Hope that clears things up.

-Kevin O'Hara
Community Relations Manager
C O M M E N T S
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#1 by "Morn"
2001-02-22 10:38:25
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
I'm really only posting this email "as is" -- I'd love to do some more background checks, but I won't be able to until something like 10 hours from now. One of the drawbacks of having to go to work and earn money ;-)

So, any EQ community people who can comment on this? Post away.

- Morn
#2 by "Desiato"
2001-02-22 11:00:49
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com http://www.spew2.com/
I'm not entirely sure how the EQ server-side works, but all it takes is one disgruntled employee to release the software and EQ is screwed....could you imagine the cow Verant would have if they knew their software was out there and fans were starting their own modified universes for free?

Wow.

As far as having accounts removed for starting a petition....well -- that is a bit draconian for my tastes, regardless of competitive issues or not. Does Verant really think that this sends a positive message to fans regarding their procedures? Even though this may be their right to do so, doesn't necessarily mean that they *should* have done it.

The reaction to this one should be interesting from the rest of the fans..


Desiato
#3 by "llamasex"
2001-02-22 11:03:47
llamasex@yahoo.com www.drunkenlosers.com
Isn't this Status quo for Verant? oh well, I was smart enough not to play everquest.
I am sure these types of actions make jesus cry
#4 by "Desiato"
2001-02-22 11:07:11
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com http://www.spew2.com/
Scratch the "competitive issues" part of my post....it is Verant themselves that are behind the Star Wars Galaxies MMPORG...I thought it was another company competing with them. Oops...

Still sucks for the fans though.


Desiato
#5 by "iddqd"
2001-02-22 11:28:20
smathson@fallensoftware.com www.fallensoftware.com
This seems to happen alot with EQ. It wasn't that their EQ accounts were removed specifically. It's that their station accounts were removed, which happen to be linked to their EQ accounts. Either way, Verant should (and does) have the right to ban anyone they want for any reason. Obviously the process of creating a petition and "getting the news out there" was an annoyance to Verant, and they reacted accordingly. I don't blame them.
#6 by "Morn"
2001-02-22 11:57:00
morn@planetcrap.com http://www.planetcrap.com
Obviously the process of creating a petition and "getting the news out there" was an annoyance to Verant, and they reacted accordingly. I don't blame them.

Then the question is: why was this an annoyance? Surely a web petition is a pretty harmless thing, and 150 signatures aren't anything to get excited about, either. Those two guys chose a petition as their way of giving feedback to Verant (a company they seem to like and support), and all they get is a ban?

Something doesn't look right here. I seriously can NOT imagine Verant (!) would ban someone because he started a petition. I can't shake off the feeling that there is another side to all this.

- Morn
#7 by "fyrewolf"
2001-02-22 15:35:37
http://www.penny-arcade.com/view.php3?date=2000-10-11&res=l

Somehow this seems more and more apt every day.
#8 by "Flamethrower"
2001-02-22 15:56:35
patch@evilemail.com http://www.oldmanmurray.com
Excellent use of linking there, fyrewolf.
#9 by "fyrewolf"
2001-02-22 16:26:49
I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not.
#10 by "kanaeda"
2001-02-22 17:07:04
kanaeda@telefragged.com http://freshteam.telefragged.com
this one very well could come down the gang at Sony, and not the people at Verant. as someone mentioned, the Sony Station forum account is linked to the EQ account. pull the plug on one, and down goes the other. pretty ignorant setup, imo.

now comes the question of who does, in fact, monitor and maintain the Sony Station forums?

definitely not a good reflection on Verant. these incidents seem to becoming more frequent and less justified. i wonder if/what other info is missing here.
#11 by "crash"
2001-02-22 21:34:30
crash@planetcrap.com
what's surprising about this thread and the subject is that, after all's said and done, anyone could be surprised by this.

You're In Our World Now.

it's not just a slogan, folks.
#12 by "BabiG"
2001-02-22 21:39:47
Banning...bad and stuff...

Lets bring up the other issue though...good god, is it such a loss to not be able to play a stormtrooper? The fact they got only 150 signatures, and web "signatures" at that, which hold just about no weight doesn't say anything? They've pretty much confirmed you can be good/evil jedi/jedi-wannabe or a wookie, at the very least...I bet you when the game comes out that'll be 75% of the population.

I mean why would you want to be a stormtrooper when you could be a wookie? =)

Seriously, if its not logistically or technically possible, like they've said its not, how is petitioning them gonna help?

Course banning them probably isn't the greatest response, but anyway...
#13 by "Whisp"
2001-02-22 21:53:29
"The plan on both of those WAS yes, because it's the easiest way to make the Imperial NPCs anyway. But now we're revisiting because of all the stir, as I said yesterday. And based on what the revisit says, we may change that. EG, if we find some way to work in greater involvement with the military, then the answer might be no, only military people get to."

Is it just me, or are they saying they were planning to include storm trooper armor, but because some fans asked for it, they might NOT now?  Pretty sick if that really is what was meant.  But like crash says, not too surprising in the end.  Fits right in.
-Whisp
#14 by "Evi|ivE"
2001-02-22 22:25:47
I don't see the big deal about not being able to be stormtroopers.

I do see a major problem with Sony/Verant banning people's Everquest accounts for simply trying to get their opinion out to the devs, in a non threatening way.

I could see the need for a ban if the petition read like this:  L3t me pl4y a st0rmtrooper or 1'll rip your 3y3s  out of your h34d and skull fuck you.  

It didn't really read like that though. :P
#15 by "Solarium"
2001-02-22 22:53:23
From the SWG forums:

-=-

Hey everyone, just wanted to take a second to talk about our policies on this forum.
The reason we banned FletcherPratt was because of language abuse, spamming his petition, and reposting BadMojo6s posts. All three of these are violations of our station terms of service. We have sent him multiple emails warning him of his actions, and even recommended he review the terms of service before further action would be taken.

We do not ban for constructive criticism, creating petitions, or having a position that differs from the developers. We can easily show thousands of posts that disagreed with our developers that were not removed and their posters weren’t banned. However, we do not tolerate flaming, spamming and, frankly, repeated rude behavior. We are spending a lot of resources to bring the community a very civil place that they can discuss their opinions and give us quality feedback, whether positive or negative. We are not providing these forums for people to call us names or spam complaints.

Going forward, we hope not to have to ban many people. To date, we’ve only done a couple. However, it will happen. I just want you to know that we do give people the benefit of the doubt by sending multiple warnings first (unless their offense is particularly egregious, such as threatening someone’s life). We do not intend on publicly explaining every banning.

Hope that clears things up.

-Kevin O'Hara
Community Relations Manager
#16 by "Desiato"
2001-02-23 00:08:47
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com http://www.spew2.com/
There you go morn -- they were petitioning like JEFF K!!!

Neat how a story turns around when you see something like that...


Desiato
#17 by "Quicken"
2001-02-23 00:14:36
geoffrey@access.com.au http://www.warmage.com/
Yeah. I had a suspicion it was spam or something. There had to be something to scare people off to only get 150 names on it. A lot of people will sign anything and I think you'll find a lot of people that want the _option_ of playing a stormtrooper. It's a classic starwars character+disguise.

After all everyone here saw the huge list of names to get UT to run it's compressed textures through d3d. And that Tim Sweeney said a flat no. Then Daniel Vogel started playing with the UT code and made everyone happy, if buggy ;)
#18 by "Gunp01nt"
2001-02-23 20:08:19
supersimon33@hotmail.com planetp01nt.tmfweb.nl
I am IMPRESSED. They're members of an ON-LINE, quite extensive web-community, and they managed to get ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY signatures!!! W0W, very impressive (irony)!!!

They must be doing something deeply wrong if they have the internet at their disposal as a means of gathering signatures, and if they're part of a big webcommunity that EQ is, and still get no more than 150 sigs.
EQ could well ban them on the grounds that they don't want any losers on their site :-P

Naw, that's harsh. And it IS vital for a Star Wars game to contain stormtroopers (not counting Episode I games, cuz Star Wars is COOL and EP1 sucks, and therefore is not Star Wars) but why make such a fuss about it?????????/
#19 by "Todd G."
2001-02-24 03:16:53
toddg@ftel.net
You can have whatever opinion you wish of Verant and corporate politics, but do you really think that Verant had banned them simply for asking for the option to play stormtroopers in an upcoming game?  As some people have stated, there is probably more to it than that!  Obviously nothing good could come to Verant for simply banning people who started a petition for a simple request.  I think I'm siding with Verant on this one, so all you flamers, gas up those flamerthrowers and fire away at me.
#20 by "dsmart"
2001-02-24 18:28:26
dsmart@3000ad.com http://www.3000ad.com
Since all the threads, well, suck...

The new face of Reality TV
#21 by "Needle"
2001-02-24 18:46:59
mrklp@hotmail.com
[#19] ToddG,

You can have whatever opinion you wish of Verant and corporate politics, but do you really think that Verant had banned them simply for asking for the option to play stormtroopers in an upcoming game?


Well, Verant does have a bit of a reputation for banning people over trivial issues.  These guys in particular were spamming, so they got banned.  Fair enough.  

Everyone was saying "There must be more to the story"; turns out they were right, but I personally wasn't so sure.  Remember when Verant banned Mystere for writing fan-fiction in a non-Verant/Sony forum?  That incident in particular became pretty well-known, but there have been many incidents just like it that haven't received as much attention.
#22 by "AZice"
2001-02-26 17:14:35
sunchanter@yahoo.com
Verant ban people for some really silly reasons.  The worst kind is banning people who post on their official msg board.  That company shows no respect toward player opinion/ideas.  They have a "Us Vs Them" atitude.  This kind of things will bring down the company in a long run for sure.
#23 by "jack"
2001-03-01 19:30:48
yoxxy@hotmail.com
Verant has the most horrible policies and customer service I have ever seen!!!  They are fucking nazi's and I hope a meteor crashes down on to Verant and leaves a big smoldering crater full of dead Nazi's.
#24 by "ShaiHulud"
2001-03-02 19:50:37
Radagast4@hotmail.com
Sorry to revisit this one.  I just wanted to mention that I was reading through the Star Wars: Galaxies feedback forums a while back.  For one thing, this petition was specific to those forums; so of course you're going to have fewer signatures than you would if these were the EQ forums.  Second, the aforementioned banned posters had in fact been spamming, insulting other posters who disagreed with them, acting self-righteous and just generally making life miserable for many of the other people there.  Third, despite the fact that 150 signatures was only a small portion of the number of readers of that forum, Verant in fact revisited the Stormtroopers issue as a result of that petition.  They're listening.

I'm not a Verant employee.  I don't even play Everquest anymore.  But I do object to the incessant Verant-bashing out there.  They get a lot of flack for trying to do their jobs, and in return get an astounding amoung of antipathy.  There's no question that they've made some mistakes, but it's my impression that they also get blamed for a lot of stuff.  Look at the flack that the CS team gets each and every time a new version is released.  Call me crazy, but I simply cannot understand the rampant antagonism of many online players out there towards developers.  Of course they're not perfect.  They're all humans, and they're trying to do their job.  Cut them some slack.
#25 by "Creford"
2005-04-24 17:25:33
namsa@hotmail.com http://www.cutegd.com/blog/
There were extremely excellent scenes in the movie "The Empire Strikes Back".
Good originality and great imagination in this movie!
I'm very interested in science fiction movies.
#26 by jjohnsen
2005-04-25 19:18:06
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Heeeeyyyyy, me too!

Actually, the liberalism of the media - as a general thing - IS a major fallacy. What the media is, is a whore.  -LP
#27 by Dumdeedum
2005-04-25 19:59:47
http://www.dumdeedum.com
Heh, from that guy's website:

I loved the films that "The Incredibles", "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes" ,"The Fifth Element", "Final Fantasy The Spirits Within", "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back". I was very interested to see the scene, environment and landscape in the movies. As a designer of website, those scene could give me more afflatus and new imagination. I also greatly loved the people and the story in the film...

He's right about The Empire Strikes, the way those stormtroopers held their picket lines was awesome.

#28 by Squeaky
2008-08-15 10:32:03
I am an asshole.

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