The long-running game EverQuest, which has attracted the interest of economists because of its ability to create virtual economies, is suffering from a spate of virtual counterfeiting.
According to the BBC, the game's makers have had to crack down on users who have found a way to bend the rules.
The huge amount of virtual money being pumped into the game is threatening to bring the EverQuest economy to its knees.
The influx of cash may have prompted hyperinflation and made it impossible for new players to get established.
Although EverQuest features the usual warriors, spell-slinging sorcerers and monsters, the characters that inhabit the world pursue a profession at the same time.
Typically the time needed by a player to substantially improve the professional expertise and power of their EverQuest character is so great, that it does not cause problems in the financial markets of the game world.
But some users have discovered an easy way to carry out these time-consuming tasks, and are unbalancing the EverQuest economy.
The counterfeiters, who are using macros to turn small cash piles into slightly larger ones, have set up huge counterfeiting organisations with dedicated computers that do nothing but run the macro.
Once a player has created a large pile of cash they can sell it for real money on the many auction boards and marketplaces, such as PlayerAuctions, that have sprung up.
Recent estimates put the amount of 'platinum' pieces available to buy on just one EverQuest server at more than three million.
The exchange rate of game money to real money is not very good - 100,000 platinum pieces sells for about $350 - but it is enough to tempt many people to try the scam.
Verant, the company behind EverQuest, has now started to crack down on people using the money-making macro, and is suspending accounts and confiscating items from users it catches exploiting the loophole.
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