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Blizzard bans farmers

Last month, a whopping 59,000 players of massive online RPG World of Warcraft were banned, having been judged guilty of gold and item "farming" or other activities deemed harmful, according to developer Blizzard.

"Farming" is a term for the process of repeatedly performing the same actions to strip the game of assets, sometimes by using third-party automatic programs. The proceeds can then be sold for real cash via eBay, or other sales sites. With over six million gamers engrossed in the World of Warcraft universe across the globe, Blizzard's fantasy world is the biggest market for wannabe farmers.

Over 22 million gold pieces were wiped out from the game's online economy in the process of the mass ban, with players of WoW instrumental in reporting "suspicious behavior" to Blizzard. The developer is keen to promote this sort of digital narcing, urging players to report anyone they suspect of nefarious activity.

July 27, 2006