Joystiq and Game Girl Advance both reported on Blizzard banning accounts that were used for "Gold Farming" over the weekend. For those of you not familiar with the world of MMORPGs, Gold Farming is big business. People go around, and just kill monsters for high priced items and sell it off to make in-game money. They then sell the in-game money on places like ebay for real money. This is also done with rare magic items. The practice has been going on for ages. I remember hearing about people doing the same with Ultima Online and Evercrack.
The thing I'm finding baffling about both the posts on this is they seem to be coming down hard on Blizzard. Joystiq asks:
So, you pay for the game, pay your monthly subscription, only for Blizzard to say "you did something we don't want you to do, goodbye", and they kill your account. That's $50 wasted since, as was reported a while back, you can't transfer the serial number. Once it's used, it's used. Where should the line be drawn on what you can and can't do in a game you pay for initially, and continue to pay for every month? If people are stupid enough to buy a game's currency for hard cash, why shouldn't that be a legitimate activity? [Joystiq]
The answer is simple. You are breaking the policies that Blizzard has set forth for how they will run their game. This was not some secret policy that nobody knew of. On the World of Warcraft Policy Page it's right at the top of the announcements link. They even say what they will do to people they catch doing it (Of course, this gets to an even larger rant I have about how people don't read any of the game policies when playing). If this had come out of the blue I'd be able to understand complaints, but it didn't.