Not all's fair in three-way inter-species war. Blizzard PR sent out a warning today to all of those who would use unscrupulous means to win in StarCraft II. The gist: if they catch you cheating or hacking in any way, you're in violation of the terms of service and your Battle.net account will be banned. It's a tough-on-crime, one-strike-you're-out policy that sounds good in principle - there's nothing worse than being unfairly slaughtered in SC2, especially considering how often I lose legitimately.
But, false-positives aside (remember the Steam/Modern Warfare 2 banning fiasco?) there's a slightly chilling part about this: with StarCraft II, you must sign into Battle.net just to play the single-player campaign or skirmish against the AI. If you're banned from Battle.net, you would lose access to your game entirely, and your $60 purchase would be flat-out gone. Not that I feel sorry for cheaters, but is it perhaps a disproportionately cruel and unusual punishment? Should bad multiplayer behavior cost you your single-player fun too?
Update: Blizzard PR confirms
"If a Battle.net account is banned, a player will no longer have access to the single and multiplayer content."
Update 2: Blizzard PR clarifies on WoW ramifications
"If you are banned from StarCraft II, you will still get access to WoW."
Read Blizzard's full statement after the jump.
P.S. Yes, I know that's WoW art, but there're no hammers in StarCraft.
Cheating in StarCraft II
Blizzard Entertainment has always taken cheating in any form in Blizzard games very seriously, and that's no different for StarCraft II. If a StarCraft II player is found to be cheating or using hacks or modifications in any form, then as outlined in our end user license agreement, that player can be permanently banned from the game. This means that the player will be permanently unable to log in to Battle.net to play StarCraft II with his or her account.
Playing StarCraft II legitimately means playing with an unaltered game client. Doing otherwise violates our policies for Battle.net, and it goes against the spirit of fair play that all of our games are based on. We strongly recommend that you avoid using any hacks, cheats, or exploits. Suspensions and bans of players that have used or start using cheats and hacks will begin in the near future.