Over the past several months, Blizzard has noticed an increase in the amount of third-party bots, so they’ve decided to respond. Players have also noticed – I’ve seen a lot of complaints about botting.
They’re doing regular wave bans and they’ve already banned hundreds of thousands (!) of bots accounts this year, but the numbers are ramping up.
The team is working on a systemic solution to the problem, but they can’t tell more for now (because it could help the cheaters get around it). For now, you should still report accounts you suspect as bots in-game.
And to give you some more context – the botting problem ramped up because of the closure of Chinese servers. Chinese streamers and content creators started playing on other servers (NA, EU, APAC). The reason why it’s a problem is that it’s quite popular for those streamers to buy completely overpowered Arena accounts for real money (in order to produce content from easy 12 win runs). So people farm Gold with bots, make Arena drafts, retire the ones that aren’t good enough, and when they stumble upon a broken one, they sell it. Arena players have been complaining for a while now, because it’s nearly impossible to not run into those crazy drafts at higher wins right now, and you have basically no chance with an average draft.
The problem is that ban waves won’t help, they’re only a bandaid. The botting accounts are disposable – after they farm enough gold to get a good run and are sold, they’re played for a few hours and abandoned. So banning such an account won’t solve the issue. That’s why Blizzard is looking into some “systemic” changes – it’s hard to say what those will be yet, but I hope that something gets done soon. If you want to read more, we explained this phenomenon in detail a couple of months ago in a separate article.
Read full Blizzard’s response below:
We’ve seen some frustration recently with increased bots in some aspects of Hearthstone. We take botting very seriously; we hear you and we’re acting on it.
We’ve seen a marked increase in third-party botting over the past several months. We already do regular, massive ban waves for bots, and we’re working to scale up our response to match the influx of new bot accounts. So far this year we’ve banned hundreds of thousands of accounts for botting—and we’re ramping up our efforts. We also have people working on solving this problem on a systematic level.
We can’t share more at this time. We have a general policy against explaining our cheating investigations or actions, because we have found that every time we share information about the process, that just helps the cheaters get more sophisticated, making the problem worse in the long run.
You can continue to help by using the in-game reporting function to report suspected bots. It helps us track down and eliminate these accounts. Another way you can help is by stomping these bots whenever you face them on the ladder. While you do that, know that we’re fighting them right alongside you.