Enjoying the weekend? If you’re a World of Warcraft player, you might notice fewer people hanging around your favorite digital gathering spots this weekend. And if you’re a World of Warcraft player who used third-party hacks to give yourself an in-game advantage over other players, you’re probably sitting around wondering what to do with all your new free time.
According to a post from a Blizzard community manager, the game’s developer recently hit a large number of players with in-game bans for doing just thatusing third-party tools to game the game. According to one of the game’s support staff, in an in-game conversation with a player, more than 100,000 World of Warcraft accounts were suspended for cheating.
According to Kotaku, those subject to Blizzard’s crackdown received temporary six-months bans from the game for their actions. That’s a bit different than Blizzard’s previous treatment toward those using botspermanent banning from the game, instead of just a brief time out.
If the number of banned players sounds high, then perhaps you haven’t been playing too many player-versus-player battlegrounds in the game lately. Botting, it seems, has become rather prevalent. As one Reddit user described three months ago:
“What is happening here, is that the vast majority of players in the battleground are not real people. The characters are being piloted by a bot program called Honorbuddy, which is basically designed to play your character in Battlegrounds for you. The reason why the bots are moving back and forth between two points is to dodge the AFK kick system that is in place to stop people from sitting AFK in Battle Grounds,” Ardailec wrote.
“You might ask, ‘Why would people Bot in a pvp game?’ The answer is in the Honor. Honor is a currency used to buy PvP specific gear in WoW. It’s awarded for basically anything to do with PvP. Farming honor takes a long time, Conquest (A higher tier currency) takes even more so if you don’t do Arenas, which are 2v2, 3v3, or 5v5 war games.”
And the ban doesn’t just affect those who are literally having a program automate all of their character’s actions (which can lead to some pretty strange encounters when you run across one of these computer-controlled players). Anyone found using any kind of app to automate anything on their characters, even something minor, were eligible for some punishment.
“Botting is defined as automation of any action, not just character movement. If a program is pressing keys for you, you’ve violated the ToU,” reads a Twitter post from Blizzard community manager Bashiok.
He went on to clarify that using keyboard macros or complex keybindings doesn’t qualify as “botting.” It can be a fine line, however:
“A program you run that presses your DPS rotation keys or dispels for you? Certainly yes,” he added.