SOE caught red-handed: EQ2 Player / Dev relationship breached ethical boundaries

Several days ago Massively reported that EQ2 Flames administrator broke the story on a scandal that regards numerous members from Unhallowed Triad, a guild on EQ2's Test server that was transferred to Unrest, a Live server through an inside connection at SOE. Character transfers from the Test server to a Live one is not allowed and against current SOE transfer policy; albeit, the EULA has a clause that SOE may change this policy at any time. However, the case is made that a Player / Dev affiliation has led to corruption, leaving many infuriated players with lots of unanswered questions as seen in these two threadnaughts. To recap for those not following this closely or wanting to sift through 100+ pages on the forums:

  • SOE employee(s) abused their power breaking various codes of ethics (confirmed & guilty)
  • Numerous Test players accuse Unhallowed Triad with a history of exploitation and getting away with it in due part to their SOE connection (rumors)
  • Someone at SOE made the call to transfer Test characters to a Live server breaking policy (confirmed & guilty)
  • Not only were characters transferred to Unrest, but items as well. Unhallowed Triad's Guild level was also inflated to 60. (confirmed & guilty)
  • Many Unhallowed Triad guild members admitted to transferring off test in Assassin's chat (confirmed)
  • Several Unhallowed Triad guild members were transferred unknowingly (more than likely)
  • Legitimately leveled characters belonging to several Unhallowed Triad members were transferred over from other servers or already leveled on the Unrest server (confirmed)
  • Unhallowed Triad guild tag no longer exists but there other guild tag Unholy Trinity exists and their Guild level stands at 30 (confirmed)
  • All players on the Test server have not been given the same opportunity to transfer to a Live server
The evidence found via EQ2 Players alone is overwhelming. So much so that it's impossible to sweep all the allegations under-the-rug. Initially, SOE was quick to react as both Alan "Brenlo" Crosby, Director of Global Community Relations and Bruce "Froech" Ferguson, EQ2's new Senior Producer admitted to SOE's involvement. Well, rather that someone at SOE made the call to override the policy, but in a good natured manner to reward certain players for their hard work on the Test server. Not a smart choice of words or tone given EQ2 players warranted concerns. In any case, Ferguson claims the transferred characters will be removed. Since their initial statements and response there has been no further word from a SOE representative on this matter.

The extent of this server transfer is not something that was done on a whim. This was obviously planned by lead members of Unhallowed Triad and their SOE connection. It's a safe assumption that a SOE employee or several are members of Unhallowed Triad / Unholy Trinity. Perhaps SOE needs to establish an Internal Affairs Team to help safeguard, and retain transparency and openness with their playerbase. This not the first *known* case where a SOE developer or high ranking SOE official broke ethical boundaries. Innocent mistake or not, new measures need to be put in place, and or character transfer policy officially changed.
This article was originally published on Massively.