Chinese Warcraft account scammers land in jail
December 30, 2013 // 9:30 a.m.
Ten men involved in defrauding more than 11,500 World of Warcraft accounts have been landed with jail sentences and fines.
The group based in Zhejiang province in China acted as a fence for stolen Warcraft accounts, buying them up for $1 each and would then rinse each account of gold and equipment, selling this on for an average of $3 per account.
The operation was run out of a small workshop set up by the group's leader, Chen, and in total, the team pulled in $10,800 in profit over the course of its exploits.
The group was arrested earlier this year and was charged with violating state regulations and illegal access to computer information. Chen, was also charged with attempting to teach criminal methods to others.
The leader of the group was fined $8,000 and given a two year jail sentence while the other nine members were fined approximately $1,000 and handed shorter jail sentences.
There is an outside possibility that in jail, the team may encounter Warcraft again. Back in 2011, it was revealed by the Guardian that some Chinese prisoners were being forced to farm gold in the MMO as part of their sentences.
Blizzard Entertainment has been paying particular attention to China as a market for its ever-popular massively multiplayer online game. Its most recent expansion, heavily featuring a player race of panda-like beings was launched in China very shortly after its western counterpart.
Previous expansions have had to wait a lengthy time before being approved for release in China, with Wrath of the Lich King notably proving complicated for censors due to its heavy focus on the undead, something that Chinese censors are particularly uncomfortable with.