One of my favorite new WoW sites, Metroblogging Azeroth, has a great article today that goes deep into the controversial world of gold-farming. Author Jonas Luster details the many ways that buying gold outside of the game impacts players, developers, and the gameworld itself, with a knowledge of the game that makes his observations all the more relevant.
There are plenty of things that the average gold buyer (who is almost certainly not some intrinsically evil person) probably never takes into account when they purchase gold from a farmer, aside from what shiny new armor it will buy them; they could care less what it does to the economy of the game. Then, there are those who actually believe the practice of gold farming is healthy for a virtual economy, and for people coming from that school of thought, Luster makes a convincing case why, in the end, everyone suffers from the actions of those few. Not to mention the connection he makes between the largest network of online gold-selling sites, and a trio of convicted child molesters.
It's good readin'. Check it out here. Thanks to Sean for the link.