Phelps’s Games Account Suspended

Irvine, California — August 15, 2008 — Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced, in Beijing, that American swimmer Michael Phelps was served notice that he was in clear violation of the terms of use of it’s award winning massively multi-player online role playing game, World of Warcraft. The violation, according to the company, is that Mr. Phelps’s actions at the 2008 Summer Olympics show strong indication of gold farming activity originating from within Chinese borders.

“Gold farming is one of those things about which we are very vigilant,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment.  “Long known to be an issue with some of our international players, gold farming detracts from the overall experience of the game for all of the players in the World of Warcraft universe.  We take it very seriously.”

As defined by the uber-authoritative source Wikipedia, “Gold farming is a general term for an MMORPG activity in which a player attempts to acquire (“farm”) items of value within a game, usually by exploiting repetitive elements of the game’s mechanics. This is usually accomplished by carrying out in-game actions (such as killing an important creature) repeatedly to maximize gains, sometimes by using a program such as a bot or automatic clicker. More broadly, the term could refer to a player of any type of game who repeats mundane actions over and over in order to collect in-game items. An organization which organizes farmers is known as a sweatshop.”

As anyone who has even a modicum of swimming knowledge is aware, following the black line on the bottom of the pool for hours and hours on end is easily one of the most mundane and repetitive tasks known to man.  While Blizzard has taken steps to reduce instances of gold farming, they were incapable of slowing down the unprecedented, and some say unstoppable, force known in game as “Baltimore Bullet.”  By some accounts, Mr. Phelps has been said to be swimming for upwards of 8 hours at a time.  Initial research into the activity led some at Blizzard to think that a bot was being employed.

Mr. Phelps was last seen exiting a raid, pulling another gold medal, and adding to his already astounding total of 12.  Mr. Phelps was unavailable for comment.

In a related story, the US Olympic team was also served notice for organizing an entire team of gold farmers, and thus being labeled as a sweatshop guild.

*** this is a total joke, but I thought it would be funny to write.

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