Blizzard bans “several thousand” Hearthstone bot accounts

Hearthstone claw

As you may recall from our interview with an unapologetic owner of a bot, there seemed to be little risk to letting the illicit software play Hearthstone through the night for you, gathering gold from daily quests while you slept safe in the knowledge that Blizzard didn’t seem to be doing much about it. That changed today, as the company announced it had banned several thousand bot accounts. The official statement reads:

“These accounts will be banned until 2015. As we’ve stated, fair play is at the core of the Hearthstone experience, and cheating and botting will not be tolerated. We’re committed to creating a fun and rewarding environment for our players, and we will continue to closely monitor activities within Hearthstone and take appropriate action against cheating in any form, as outlined in our Terms of Use.”

To which you might say 'about time too'. For those who play late at night, the situation had become particularly ludicrous. At its worst, around a third of my opponents seemed to be bots. Or at least that’s what I told myself as I lost to a top decked Bloodlust yet again. It’s worth noting, as production director Jason Chayes explained when we spoke to him around the release of Naxxramas, that any bans are likely to only be the first step in an ongoing technological arms race with the botters.

I also have to say that it seems slightly odd that the offending accounts only get what’s effectively a two month ban for flagrantly breaching the terms of service, but hey it’s still progress. You can expect more good news on the Hearthstone front early next month, with BlizzCon taking place 7-8 November and the expectation being that we’ll hear more about the next set of cards there. Meanwhile, why not check out what else might be on the way for the game here.

Tim Clark

With over two decades covering videogames, Tim has been there from the beginning. In his case, that meant playing Elite in 'co-op' on a BBC Micro (one player uses the movement keys, the other shoots) until his parents finally caved and bought an Amstrad CPC 6128. These days, when not steering the good ship PC Gamer, Tim spends his time complaining that all Priest mains in Hearthstone are degenerates and raiding in Destiny 2. He's almost certainly doing one of these right now.