3,000 Guild Wars 2 gamers banned for flogging stolen loot

Black-marketers get the black spot

Developers of the hit Guild Wars 2 online role-playing game have banned thousands of players who cheated the system to trouser weapons at a fraction of their normal cost.

ArenaNet nuked 3,000 gamers who took advantage of the so-called Karma Weapons Exploit - better described as a bug - to build up massive armouries. The flaw meant top-drawer weapons could be bought for next to nothing and sold onto other players at a massive profit in gold, throwing the in-game economy into chaos, as an official post on Reddit explains:

Today we banned a number of players for exploiting Guild Wars 2. We take our community and the integrity of the game very seriously, and want to be clear that intentionally exploiting the game is unacceptable. The players we banned were certainly intentionally and repeatedly exploiting a bug in the game. We intended to send a very clear message that exploiting the game in this way will not be tolerated, and we believe this message now has been well understood.

Banned dungeon-crawlers have the opportunity to lodge an appeal which, if successful, would result instead in a three-day suspension. An update on the Guild Wars 2 official Twitter account clarified that suspended accounts will be reinstated only on agreement that ill-gotten goods and gold will be deleted.

ArenaNet stresses that further infractions against in-game rules will be treated with far less leniency, and are likely to result in a permanent ban without recourse to appeal.

A blog post by Sophos adds that ArenaNet has also suspended users who posted abusive messages. In addition to trolls there have been attempts to snaffle players' passwords via email phishing attacks and such like in order to gain control of accounts. In one instance, one user claimed he or she was hacked and $150 was charged to their credit card to purchase in-game gems.

Massive multiplayer online games such as Guild Wars 2, which launched on Tuesday, are great fun for magic-wand wavers and dragon slayers, but they are also the target of all kinds of criminality. The problems suffered by Guild Wars 2 players this week are similar to the difficulties experienced by Eve Online fans and others in the past. ®

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