Blizzard issues permanent bans to Hearthstone win traders


Following the news that Blizzard has banned "several thousand" Hearthstone bot accounts comes a more severe penalty for players engaging in the process known as 'win trading'. Win trading, as I understand it, is when players game the system in Ranked Play by having two accounts battle each other, in order to artificially move themselves up in the MMR (MatchMaking Rating) rankings. While botters were initially given a two-month ban (the penalty has since been upgraded to a permaban from here on out), win traders have seen their accounts banned permanently from the get-go, as explained in a statement by Blizzard here. Here's the relevant part:

"We’ve recently banned Hearthstone accounts that were found to be participating in win trading. Win trading at any rank is something that we do not take lightly, and is in violation of our Terms of Use. As we mentioned in our previous statement regarding fair play in Hearthstone, instances of cheating will not be tolerated. Accounts that were discovered participating in win trading have received permanent account closure and disqualification from events where ranking is used as a method of qualification."

A few 'top' players have found themselves banned for win trading, including Specialist and Gabe Walls, the former of whom found the flaw in Hearthstone's new ranking system and wrote about his taking advantage of it nearly a year ago.

What does having a high MMR get you? Nothing, at this point, although as BlizzPro put it, these bans could have made a big difference to the BlizzCon Qualifiers earlier in the year.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.