A reader alerted me to a story my role-playing friends were already talking about: Some guy bought another guy's account with one of the best-equipped rogues in the world for 7,000 Euro, which is just under $10,000. WoWInsider suggests that the buyer then got banned, while the seller levels a new rogue with the help of his old guild.
I never understood the interest of buying an account. I "get" RMT, where you basically boost your own existing character. But why would you want to buy somebody else's character? That rogue might be powerful in his tier 6 armor and wielding legendary twin blades of Azzinoth. But such a character is also very, very close to a virtual GAME OVER screen. Even if the buyer wasn't banned, he would be unable to further develop the character. He doesn't know all that well how to play him, and he has neither the knowledge nor the social connections that would allow him to raid effectively. The character is about as useful as a gold statue, pretty but useless. You can gank some other people in PvP, but how long is that going to be fun if you can't even use the rewards?
While banning the account was the only thing Blizzard could do once the story broke, it kind of hurts the wrong guy. Buying something useless for $10,000 is stupid, but selling it is downright criminal. Especially with the buyers guild helping him to make a new rogue. It seems I have forgotten to list this particular option in my list of end game options: Sell your character and restart. How exactly is that different from gold farming? In both cases you convert time you invested into the game into cold, hard cash. Blizzard should ban the seller's IP and credit card, and slap his guild on the wrist for helping him start over.