Reading up on this topic has now given me a fifth reason. Computerworld has found some information linking this kind of activity to botnets through a Canadian study, which details to some extent the seedy underbelly of the digital world, or as the study calls it, the "dark universe." It’s an appropriate name, as what I read in the report involved some pretty scary information about all sorts of digital places I want no part of. Here’s a little snippet about MMO’s and persistent virtual worlds to illustrate my point, "These environments have not escaped the notice of terrorists, spies, and criminals. Virtual world terrorism facilitates real world terrorism: recruitment, training, communication, radicalization, propagation of toxic content, fund raising and money laundering, and influence operations." It goes on to talk about how some gold farming and power-leveling operations could be arms of criminal organizations that use them for a whole host of shady enterprises. There could be a possible link here, as the FBI agents involved with this raid believe that there was a "scheme to set up fraudulent bank accounts to buy and/or sell 'virtual currency' or 'gold' to be used in the game." Bank fraud does indeed sound like something within the realm of the aforementioned dark universe.
The information above made me glad to see details on something called Project Reynard from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA). Project Reynard works on the premise that real world characteristics are reflected in virtual world behavior, and looks to identify criminal behaviors and trends online that may translate into any real world threat involving the users behind them. With the increasing presence of virtual worlds and MMO environments, it would appear that intelligence gathering in the real world isn’t enough to catch everything.
Perhaps World of Warcraft is the new Matrix. Maybe it's time to learn some digital kung fu?