As the population of Norrath increases, so too do issues regarding stolen or compromised accounts, and/or accounts that have been transferred from one player to another in violation of the User Agreement. These issues – and the time it takes to investigate and attempt to resolve them – hugely detract from the time that SOE’s customer service staff have to devote to providing quality customer service to issues that impact upon the gameplay experience. Accordingly, SOE must remind all players that:

(1) Account security — whether it be password protection, running virus checks, disabling file sharing, or any other element of making sure accounts are not stolen or compromised — is the sole responsibility of the account owner.

(2)Any and all stolen and/or compromised accounts that are reported to SOE will be banned, and no items will be reimbursed. Any player found to be involved in an account theft will have any and all of his/her accounts banned.

– The EverQuest Customer Service Team

A few people read point 2, shook their heads, and said “waitaminnit – did Verant just say they would ban people who reported their account stolen?” They then went on, assuming that Verant couldn’t be that mule-headed. I can say this, because that was pretty much my reaction.

I was wrong. That’s exactly what they mean. The following statements were posted to the EQ guide’s board when they also had that “waitaminnit” moment. Here’s how it was explained to them.

First, from GM Nangwaya: What we mean by compromised is, “A third party, unbeknownst to the owner, accessed the account and maliciously did such things as deleted characters, removed items from the characters, had the characters killed, or other various things such as turning someone PVP+”. These are all things that of course the player would definitely not want to happen to their account.

When a player comes to us or you and states that they think their account was hacked, compromised, etc, our first step is to refer them to the where they can read the policy on Compromised accounts. If the player still wishes for Customer Service to get involved, that is when we will investigate the situation and, if need be, take action based upon the circumstances and the Compromised Account Policy.

Everyone went “huuuuuh?” in unison. Finally a senior guide spelled out what the Compromised Account Policy was.

Yes, if it is compromised in any way, it will be banned. SOE is not longer taking action on accounts that players say are ‘hacked’ either. It is their home security, and their system set-ups, thus, it is their reponsibility to keep it safe. Not ours. Any and all accounts that are found to be compromised, will be banned.

Here’s Verant’s version of customer service: If you have a problem, don’t tell us about it. If you do, we’ll quote legalese jargon at you in an attempt to scare you away. If that doesn’t work and you haven’t gotten the message that we don’t care, let us know so we can ban you.

Verant’s customer service is already the joke of the industry. And when you think it can’t get any worse – they prove you wrong.

Again and again and again.

Pity. It’s actually a good game, if you can survive the murderous “GM events” where bored customer service reps kill their clients for fun and manage not to attract the attention of the secret police for having too much money or clearing an encounter too quickly.

If you enjoy EQ, like we do, our advice is to just avoid the customer “service” regime. Like any police state, keep your head down, don’t make yourself a target, and everything should be OK. And for the love of god don’t do something foolish like /petition or otherwise ask to be helped. You’ll make them work. And that has been shown to make them angry. And you won’t like them when they’re angry.