In the world of world of warcraft (WOWOW?) I am extremely wealthy. The maximum amount of money a character can carry is 214,748 gold and over all of my characters I have over 440,000 gold. Note that for most players 5,000 gold is a fairly large amount of money and takes quite a while to acquire, so I am filthy rich. Not the richest out there by any stretch as there are WOW millionaires, but rich enough. Many people make their money in WOW in a purely parasitic way, for example they buy items that are available for less than normal price and resell them, or they undercut other auctions by .0001 gold. Neither of these things accomplishes anything except to shove money around and remove it from the economy via fees, so essentially this behaviour impoverishes the whole for the good of the one. I made my fortune by making things. More than anything I made gems and belts to create wealth, but of course in this case I play essentially a zero sum game - other people get stuff, I get their cash. Note that making a fortune off other people's economic laziness or foolishness is a pretty mild crime, as these things go, but nonetheless some part of me is happy to be an artisan instead of a con artist.
Each time a WOW expansion arrives the economy of the game explodes as people rush to renew subscriptions, play like mad and work to collect all the new materials and gear suddenly made available. This mad rush drives prices up to never before seen heights. Correspondingly in the few weeks before that expansion arrives incredible deflation occurs as all the old items suddenly drop in value to nearly worthless. Booms and busts of this level are rare events in real economies so it is a very interesting thing to look at to understand how crashes and bubbles occur. In each case everyone knows that all the goods and items they are trading for 'normal' price are going to drop precipitously before the launch date of the expansion but nobody knows for sure exactly when the plunge will take place. Interestingly it isn't limited to a particular sector of the economy at all, as when any one common good starts to plummet all of them immediately freefall and deflation of 50% or more will occur within a matter of 24 hours. Everyone hears about the market crash and runs to sell their goods for whatever they can get before things drop even further just like in a real world market crash. A great way to become incredibly wealthy is to take advantage of the crash and buy up items that have some use at rock bottom prices; even though they will be less useful afterwards the immense bubble effect will drag up every price with it.
The expansion is coming soon, most likely in the beginning of November. Today I exited the economy, selling off everything I have that is likely to drop is price, preparing to step back from my constant construction for a few weeks until everything is fresh and new again. I don't want to be caught unawares by the inevitable crash and I want to have as much money as possible for when the time comes. You see, I want to get some server first *Feats of Strength* for my professions (Jewelcrafting and Alchemy) and the only way to assure those is to gather more materials than anyone else, or to have such an enormous pile of money that nobody can say no to selling to me. I am fairly confident I am the richest person on my server, and I surely hope I am because otherwise the competition I intend to get in will squander my wealth most thoroughly.