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Officers' Quarters: Crushed by the banhammer

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

I enjoy the process of leveling as much as anyone else. I like the feeling of accomplishment in leveling, and the gradual growth of power that comes with it. Blizzard has given us a variety of tools to speed up the leveling process, including heirloom items and the Recruit-a-Friend service. Even so, I can understand why some players just want to skip to the endgame. To some people, questing on a low-level character is a lot less interesting than raiding or PvPing at the level cap.

In order to skip the leveling process, your options are both limited and dangerous. You could pay a leveling service. However, some of these services are actually scam artists who will use your account info to sell everything you have and take all your stuff. You could ask a friend to log in and level for you. However, sharing your account information can get your account banned. Finally, you could just buy an account. Let's see how that turned out for one particular guild leader.

Hello Scott,

My guild is going through an incredibly rough time right now. Our situation is this: We are one of the best guilds on our server. We have cleared Ulduar in both 10 and 25 man, working on hard modes right now. Our team is rock solid. We have about 35 dedicated, geared, and skilled raiders. We all get along great and have an awesome time raiding. But recently a problem has come up that will undoubtedly destroy our guild and send some of the best players on our server without a home. Our GM had unknowingly violated Blizzard's ToS/ToU and now his account has been banned.

He wrote a letter to Blizzard explaining his situation and is working vigorously to try and undo the ban, but is making very little progress. He bought the account, which was a mistake, but the account had a 70 rogue. He made a druid got him to 70, started a guild and we have all been raiding together for about a year and a half. We have grown incredibly close since he has created the guild and we just can't raid without him. The morale has been so low since all of this happened no one has wanted to raid.

He is emailing and calling Blizzard every day but is having no luck. Please help us! We have all opened tickets just to talk to the GMs about this hoping that someone would provide us with some kind of loophole. But we got nothing. I really hope that you would give me some advice.

Thank you very much for your time,

Paul

Hi, Paul. Your guild certainly has my sympathy. It can be crushing to lose a valuable raider and your guild leader in one fell swoop. No one in the guild asked for this, and no one could have predicted a ban after all this time.

Let me make a few points. First, spamming the GMs with tickets is not going to help the situation. The matter is between your GL and Blizzard, and only they can resolve this situation. I know you're all very upset about this outcome, but what you're doing is just a waste of time for everyone involved. The GMs don't determine Blizzard's policy. They only enforce it.

Unfortunately, that account and all the characters associated with it, in all likelihood, are gone. The fact that your GL leveled a different toon after he purchased the account is irrelevant. Purchased accounts get banned if Blizzard finds out about them. I have never heard about any purchased accounts being restored after a ban. Perhaps if your GL is persuasive or persistent enough, he might convince someone at Blizzard to relent. But I very much doubt that they will.

It would be counterproductive for Blizzard to restore anything from a purchased account. If Blizzard were to restore it, that would only encourage people to buy and sell accounts. Blizzard wants to discourage this practice as much as they can.

However, I also think that you may be overreacting to the loss of this account. Your GL may be the heart and soul of your guild and the best raid leader that you have. But you still have more than enough players to continue raiding without him. I'm sure it won't be the same. Someone else will have to step up for a while. To say this incident will "destroy" your guild doesn't sound like you have much faith in the membership. One of your officers needs to rally the troops and make sure that the guild continues to function in your GL's absence.

In the meantime, it's a simple matter for your GL to buy a new account and begin leveling a druid. Sure it sucks to start from scratch, especially without the heirloom item XP bonuses. But with Recruit-a-Friend, leveling will still be pretty quick. Members of the guild can donate gold and items to his new account to help him level as fast as possible.

By the time he's 80, Patch 3.2 will most likely be on live servers. He can gear up to Ulduar-level items just by grinding Heroics. It certainly won't be as good as the gear set that he had, but it will allow him to raid without being a complete waste of a slot. There's never been a better time during this expansion to start a new toon from scratch, particularly with the support of a guild behind you.

So, cheer up! Your GL can get back on his feet in a matter of weeks. And, this time, no one will have any reason to take the account away from him.

I decided to write this column mainly as a warning to other players, specifically other guild leaders and officers. If you bought your account, make no mistake: You can lose it at any time. You may think that Blizzard can never find out. But if you bought the account from a randon person on a Web site, you have no idea what they might do. They might contact Blizzard to get the account back, years after they sold it, not realizing that it will be banned instead. Just because you changed the information on it doesn't mean you're safe. All the gear that your guild has worked hard to earn will be lost.

If your purchased account is integral to your guild's success, I strongly recommend buying a new, "clean" account -- from Blizzard -- so that you have a backup plan. Now would be a great time to do so. Between expansions is even more ideal.

In the long run, the only safe bet is to make a full transition to a clean account. Level your own toons the way the game is intended to be played. Earn your toon and your gear. The alternatives are not worth the risks. Any purchased account can disappear in a heartbeat. Don't let your guild disappear along with it.

/salute

Send Scott your guild-related questions, conundrums, ideas, and suggestions at scott.andrews@weblogsinc.com. You may find your question the subject of next week's Officers' Quarters!

Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

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