I picked up playing Diablo II again. Great game, pleasure of virtual acquisition.
Online games have always been victim to hacks, made even worse by the real world market on eBay for characters, items, and cheats. Blizzard was clever and went to a server based model to prevent hacks. Apparently it's not good enough, because the game is awash with superpowerful obviously hacked items.
I found a good article analyzing the motivation and sources for these cheats. The motive is tens of thousands of dollars (real dollars). The source? Harder to say, because software and virtual property gets passed from hand to hand before it hits eBay. The author of the article above fingers a student at Tsinghua University.
From Beijing to the Bay Area, mediated by a virtual world.