Hey all. I appreciate your patience as I looked into this. It allowed me to have some visits with a few programmers, and they're folks I like a lot whom I don't often get to chat with, so that was a nice opportunity. I have an answer, and I have a few theories which I offer here:
It is not possible that characters from two accounts were merged. I sat with a programmer who has been here for years, and I could see the wheels turning in his head. He took a lot of time thinking about the matter, and discussing it with me, and he said he could not see how it was possible, in the remotest way, for characters to up and move from one account to another. I then moved to a second programmer who has been with us even longer, and he, too, said that character's couldn't move between accounts. It's the way they're coded, the way they're "plumbed" if you will, that disallows a shift between accounts. Back when we expanded the number of character slots available per account, we got a lot of requests to merge accounts or move characters from multiple accounts onto someone's main, but we literally could not accommodate the requests because, again, of the coding. Think about complexities like storage, like HoM achievements, titles (character- and account-based), etc. How do you move a character? With items in inventory only? Do you split out storage? Who takes the titles; who keeps the levels, how do you coalesce a character with one /age with a character of a different /age? What if the character was "born" (has an anniversary date) before the second account was even made? It is just not going to happen!
I then asked both programmers (and a server team member was also active in the discussion) "Could a bug have caused this?" And they pointed out that none of us have ever seen such a bug report before. So while we cannot say "It absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt cannot be a bug that caused this," please consider this: There are more than six million Guild Wars accounts. If a weird bug appeared, what are the chances of one player's account -- out of 6+ million -- getting merged with someone else in his household? Answer: spectacularly minuscule, extraordinarily tiny. Put another way, you'd be more likely to win the Lotto than to have this happen IF such a bug developed. And absolutely nothing confirms the existence of such a theoretical bug to begin with.
So I have a few theories:
Given the span of time since you played Guild Wars, you may have simply forgotten whose characters were whose. I have done that myself. I think "I'll go play on (character name) and realize, "Err, nope, that's his/hers/its character, not mine."
You were partying together and chose to make similar names.
You may have had a character on the account in question and deleted it so that your family member could use the name. Say you have Fred Knight, and your wife or child says, "I want to use that character name." You hit delete, and exactly 24 hours later, your family member can make a new character with that name. I believe this isn't extremely likely, but hey, it's a possibility! (Actually, one of the agents looked at character creation dates and this seems not very likely, based on when characters of a similar name were created.)
I've read the ticket in full, and although I know the team members didn't give you the answer you wanted, they were 100% truthful. We don't have the capacity to move characters, therefore no "hacker" has that capacity, either, so the theory that a hacker moved characters flies out the window. And as support pointed out, if your two accounts were somehow mangled, merged, or cross-corrupted through a bug, many other players would have also experienced the same thing, and we've had not a single report of this kind.
You can be sure we will be watchful for any more reports of such a situation, but so far there have been none and we do not anticipate that we will receive any in the future. I apologize for the length of this reply, but I hope this level of detail helps you understand that we truly cannot -- and why we truly cannot -- move the characters to different accounts. -- Gaile 03:56, 8 April 2011 (UTC)