Blizzard Entertainment has exiled over a thousand players from its MMORPG World of Warcraft following an investigation into what it calls 'gold farming'.
Basically, gold farming is a practice whereby users spend all their time collecting - or 'farming' - large quantities of Warcraft gold for the purpose of selling it on to other players for real-world cash.
Yes, apparently some players who lack the resolve to acquire the Warcraft gold themselves are happy to actually pay real money for large quantities of digital currency.
This is reminiscent of the early days of Phantasy Star Online on Dreamcast, where there were regular reports of some players actually paying real money for rare weapons and large quantities of game currency. Until players used cheat cartridges to bag themselves all the items the easy way.
"[Blizzard has] issued permanent suspensions to over 1000 accounts that have been engaging in this practice," stated in-game support manager Maleki in a post on WoW's official forum.
"We do not condone such actions and will take decisive action as they are against our policy and damage the game economy as a whole. We will continue researching this matter."
"If you suspect someone of taking part in said gold farming, please email the report to firstname.lastname@example.org," Maleki concluded.
Aware of the unique way in which games of this nature often invite and reward cunning and surreptitiously underhand behaviour, Blizzard has been firm and prepared to deal with cheaters.
A number of accounts have been disabled or suspended since the game's US launch last November.
However, while Blizzard has promised to deal with anyone cheating, the game's producer Chris Sigaty was keen to point out that the developer understands that some small advantageous quirks of the game will need to be dealt with without necessarily penalising players for discovering them.
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