WoW takes a gamble on bans

Stuff Jean Rousseau, Karl Marx and Stevie Wonder. Forget all those philosophers and idealists who dream of societies 'living together in perfect harmony'. If you want to see how nasty, brutish and short life really is, take a peek into the world of MMORPGs.

Mugging, murder, violence and exploitation are everyday events in these fantasy worlds and, in WoW, so are the high-tech crimes of gambling and spamming, or they were until Blizzard stepped in to ban them.

The problem was that 'casino' owners were bellowing their wares throughout the World of Warcraft using the 'yell' command to advertise to anyone in the area.

And while some players were happy to join in a game of 'dice' by generating random numbers, the constant, unavoidable shouting of the gamblers was annoying others.

So, last week Blizzard stepped in and banned the entire, sordid practice with one bold swipe of their +10 judicial sword.

A statement on their official site advises, "Casinos encourage spamming and scamming, and there have been a resounding number of complaints about the gambling practice. Our conclusion is as follows: casinos are no longer allowed in .

"We certainly encourage players to create their own content within the bounds of the game, however, when such content becomes a detriment to the playerbase as a whole, it can force us to make a tough decision such as this."

It sounds like a harsh punishment for a little gold coin gambling. After all, compared to the US version of EverQuest II, where simply typing /pizza will summon a Pizza Hut scooter to your real-world home, at least in WoW it is only your digital character that piles on the pounds.

World Of Warcraft is out now for PC