Star Wars: The Old RepublicStar Wars: The Old Republic developer BioWare is defending its recent decision to ban players for what is commonly known in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game community as “gold farming” — the practice of harvesting large amounts of in-game currency in order to sell the gold (or, in this case, credits) to other players for real cash.

The action suggests that BioWare, a division of Electronic Arts, wants to stay ahead of the gold farmers who have plagued other online games such as World of Warcraft. BioWare Senior Online Community Manager Stephen Reid says in a post on the game’s official forums that a number of players were exploiting the game in a variety of ways to maximize their credits and their accounts have since been removed permanently by the Terms of Service team.

Reid also says a smaller number of accounts were warned or temporarily suspended for exploiting loot containers on the planet Ilum. “To be completely clear, while players may choose to travel to Ilum earlier than the recommended level (40+) and may loot containers if they can get to them, in the cases of those customers that were warned or temporarily suspended, they were systematically and repeatedly looting containers in very high numbers resulting in the game economy becoming unbalanced,” he said.

The number of accounts warned or temporarily suspended was considerably lower than the number of accounts banned for “credit farming,” Reid says. He also says no one has been banned for traveling to Ilum while still being relatively low level, and the planet is still open to any player who wishes to go there.

BioWare is currently working to make adjustments to Ilum to discourage the use of future exploits.