I recently had a character powerleveled, for some research that I'm doing. This morning I logged on to that account for the first time to have a look at the results. I have to say that I came away disoriented, and vaguely disturbed.
As promised the character was leveled as high as possible, and had a chunk of money in his kit. But of course he had all manner of other things in his backpack, many of which I had never seen before, and had barely an inkling of what purpose they might serve. There were a series of quests still in his log that were unfinished, presumably because the character hit the level cap and was, appropriately abandoned. It felt like wandering about the deck of the Mary Celeste, wondering just what happened here. But most disconcerting was the friends' list, which included people whom I'd never met and who happened to be on right now! I toyed with the idea of chatting with them, but since they were evidently gold farmers, I thought that it would just scare them off.
I feel a little weird about using this account now. I know that it's "mine" in the sense that I'm paying the monthly fee. But it feels nothing like "mine" right now. It's roughly akin to a week I spent in a vague acquaintance's apartment in London when he wasn't there: I wandered around touching the things that I had formal possession/bailment of, and which I was entitled to use; but which nonetheless felt foreign and odd and imbued with the ineffable character of someone else. (I ate out a lot during that week). As I looked at the various objects that "my" character now possesses I was struck that each object comes with a history, and it's a history that I haven't lived. Someone else has lived the life of this toon, and it seemed wrong to be taking this on. Not "wrong" in the sense of morally wrong, just "wrong" as in a category error.
No doubt in time the account will feel more like mine (or more likely the research assistant who's account it will soon become). But I wonder whether other purchasers of power leveling services feel the same disconnection. If nothing else this experience has reinforced for me the sense that I don't want to have anything to do with power leveling on characters in whom/which I've invested any part of my self. And it points to an understanding of how I happen to identify with my toons (but your mileage may vary, of course)