I learn this morning via Joystiq that Blizzard has graduated to the virtual afterlife a largish chunk of World of Warcraft players who've been farming gold in the game world and selling it out here in wetworld for the coin of the realm(s). Thus inflames the million-voice choir with the seed of a debate over whether or not Blizzard should be allowed to do this. Nonsense. Of course they should be allowed to do it. Blizzard has the absolute right to do what they wish with their game world. This includes canceling player accounts for in-game conduct that they do not like. This includes canceling the whole game if they so desire. I thought we had worked out all this philosophical intrigue with Sony's EverQuest. For the avid WoWer, it should by now be quite clear: You play at the pleasure of Blizzard; learn to live with it.
That's not to say this is necessarily a wise business move. Indeed the parental urge of the game's developers to curtail creative and perhaps unforeseen uses of their world may prohibit them from making considered decisions. Any game has the potential to go stale, and I would argue that it's just a matter of time before all games go stale. People doing weird things in World of Warcraft of course may cause some trouble, but they are also working for Blizzard, not for free, but actually paying Blizzard to work. Innovative use of the game world keeps things fresh. Even if it's annoying. Not all of it will benefit the game world, of course, but if it keeps you coming back out of delight or sheer frustration, it enhances the marketability of the game. And this ultimately benefits Blizzard.
If you did a little gold farming on the side and today discovered you no longer exist in Azeroth, go buy yourself a fresh copy of WoW, load up on some more game hours, and get back to it. This time, try not to get caught.