It seems that cheating within online games still abounds as both Blizzard and Square-Enix take steps to stop naughty gold farmers and gil traders in their tracks.

According to the World of Warcraft website, some 30,000 accounts were banned last month - and, as a result, more than 30 million gold were removed from the economy across all realms.

"The banned accounts were taking part in activities that violate the game's Terms of Use," apparently, "Including using third-party programs to farm gold and items, which severely impacts the economy of a realm and the overall game enjoyment for all players."

Many of the account closures were the result of tips reported to GMs, or emailed to hacks@blizzard.com by legitimate WOW players, or grasses, depending on your point of view. Blizzard plans to "aggressively monitor all World of Warcraft realms in order to protect the service and its players from the harmful effects of cheating."

Meanwhile, Square-Enix has suspended more than 250 Final Fantasy XI accounts "which were confirmed to have violated the the user agreement by using unauthorised third-party software tools," according to an official statement.

It seems that "Since the middle of May, 2006, the development team and the GMs carried out a detailed investigation of this problem, and discovered the existence of a group using illicit methods to produce large amounts of gil that are later sold in the real world (Real Money Trading)."

"Based on the results of this investigation, more than 250 accounts among those found to be involved in large-scale RMT operations have been terminated... Thanks to these measures, more than 250 billion gil has been removed from circulation."

A lesson for us all, then - crime doesn't pay, not even in virtual money.

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Ellie Gibson

Ellie Gibson

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Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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