Blizzard revealed in a recent blog post that they have banned several thousand Hearthstone accounts suspected of using bots in the online card game. While the bans are temporary for now, community manager Zeriyah warned in the post that the next round of bans would be permanent and without warning.
Botting has been a lingering problem for a while now in Hearthstone, as it is in virtually any game with an online component, but this is the first time Blizzard has finally come out and addressed the issue with formal bans. How the team at Blizzard is actually identifying the perpetrators is unknown, but it’s not all that hard to spot a botter in-game – as popular Hearthstone streamer and YouTuber Trump found out.
The post itself didn’t mention what would happen to the cards, gold, cardbacks, and other rewards cheaters accrued while using the bots, but a group of upset users on the official forums (to be fair, Blizzard forum users are always upset about something) pointed out that the punishment is rather light. On top of this first round of bans being only two months, everything that the botters gained will still be intact when they return to the game in January of 2015. Presumably, this first round of bans was meant as a warning shot before the permanent and account-resetting bans start, and not meant to alienate potential paying Hearthstone players.
I’ve reached out to Blizzard for confirmation on the full punishment of bans going forward, and will update the post when I hear back.