Actions Taken to Address Exploitative Gameplay

We’ve recently completed a round of actions against players who were found to be cheating in World of Warcraft.

We rarely communicate publicly about this, because we’ve found that describing our sources and methods can make it easier for malicious actors to work around them, but we feel that it’s worthwhile to expand on the subject today, as many players have recently asked us for more details.

Including today’s actions, over the last month in the Americas, Oceania, and Europe regions, we’ve closed or suspended over 74,000 WoW accounts that were found to be in violation of our End-User License Agreement. The majority of these were found to be using gameplay automation tools, typically to farm resources or kill enemies much more efficiently than legitimate players can.

While today’s suspensions were applied in a batch (often referred to as a “banwave”), it is a top priority for us to identify accounts that are botting and remove them. Our team works around the clock, every day of the week, and many of the suspensions and account closures over the last few months have gone out in the middle of the night, or on weekends.

Like you, we play World of Warcraft. We understand what it’s like to spot a player in-game who appears to be botting. We always want to eliminate the botting player, if it can be proved that they are indeed cheating. And that raises a big difficulty in addressing this issue – we have to prove to ourselves that the accused player is not a person who’s actually controlling a character with their hands on a keyboard.

We use powerful systems to determine if the suspected player is using an identifiable cheat, and our heuristics (which we do not outline publicly) are constantly improving and evolving. But when we examine a suspect and these measurements aren’t out of line, we have to manually gather evidence against the accused player, which can be very time consuming and complex. It’s worthwhile though, because we never want to take action against a legitimate player.

Yes, there have been cases where a legitimate player appeared (to another player) to be botting. In those cases, where a legitimate player is reported and then cleared of wrongdoing, it can be very frustrating to the reporting player to again see what they think is a bot. We’ve also seen examples where the reported player was caught exploiting the game, and was removed from the game, and then quickly returned to doing the same thing on a new account with the same character name. That’s an infuriating sight for the players who initially reported it. We greatly appreciate your reports, and we understand how you feel about this.

We’re ultimately working to unravel a challenging circumstance. Real money trading drives third parties to put an enormous amount of effort into circumventing our detection systems. As much as this is a very high priority for us, it is the only priority for profit-driven botting organizations. The bans we issue are simply a cost of doing business for them.

We’re working on further improvements to every part of the game that might address cheating issues more swiftly and completely, and we’ll continue to let you know as those next steps are taken.

Thank you very much for your feedback on these issues, and thank you for your reports!

205 Likes
I just locked myself out running stocks for my guild
Asmon is making 100s of viewers spam Report BOTS
Botting and now instance caps is a conspiracy
What will blizzard's next unreasonable bot fix be?
"I think the entire principle of punishing human players for the actions of bots to be absurd"
Multi-boxing is Botting, Change My Mind
Classic is going to become a game where
"we’ve closed or suspended over 74,000 WoW accounts "
I'm confused why some players are upset about the instance cap
New Instance Limit in WoW Classic
Exploitative Gameplay
Exploitative Gameplay
The Blizzard post we are all waiting for
Exploitative Gameplay
"we’ve closed or suspended over 74,000 WoW accounts "
New Instance Limit in WoW Classic
Multi-boxing is Botting, Change My Mind
I'm confused why some players are upset about the instance cap
How is it possible to report the same bots over and over and no action is taken?
New Instance Limit in WoW Classic
New Instance Limit in WoW Classic
Bots are back
Bots are back
PSA: Don't use Public Computers
Why is Multiboxing allowed in game?
Bots in your Home! Pagle PVE 6:03am est
What does it take to get a bot banned?
Since there’s a 30 per day limit
We need an anti-bot patrol
Multiboxing = Cheating
Fix Fly/Teleport Hacking NOW!
Cheaters and No One Cares, At Blizzard It Seems
Silent. Where are you? *UPDATE*
Multiboxing = Cheating
AFK Multi-Boxer Boomkins
74,000 bots = $1.1m/mon in subs <-
74,000 bots = $1.1m/mon in subs <-
74,000 bots = $1.1m/mon in subs <-
Multi boxing is fine eh?
I have a delightfully evil plan
WoW Classic Hotfixes -- Updated September 14
New Instance Limit in WoW Classic
Multi-boxing is Botting, Change My Mind
BOTs in Drustvar
Hey Blizzard
BOTs in Drustvar
New Instance Limit in WoW Classic
How does Blizz deal with bots?

Very true, and we appreciate the effort that you’re putting in to thwarting the efforts of people who make this game worse for all of us. I do hope you have heard the community’s feedback on why we believe the cap of 30-resets-per day on instances to be of little use in combating the botters. I also hope you have heard the sometimes reasonable discussion around why we believe this change to be harmful to players in several regards. Keep up the work.

65 Likes

Thanks Blizz, knew a solution was incoming!

8 Likes

Remove the instance lockout, stop hurting legit players.

113 Likes

This, knock it off. It sends the message that you don’t care about the hardcore players and is a clear nerf to bear tanks.

43 Likes

But not classic?

Ya missed a bunch.

26 Likes

Great work, I’m glad to see we are moving in the right direction. :slight_smile:

6 Likes

Thanks Blizzard, I did notice a lot less bots today.

5 Likes

Okay. Now remove the lockout.

39 Likes

Okay but just so you guys know… and I really feel like this needs said. You have to continue banning bots and not do banwaves every 4-6 months. You need to constantly be banning these botters.

Also revert that stupid change.

51 Likes

Why do you take so long between ban waves? Do you think any one running a bot that turns a profit in the weeks / months you wait between ban waves is going to stop just making new accounts and more money when their initial accounts get banned?

20 Likes

Thank you! Don’t stop until you get them all, never cease killing the bots.

Can you please give the booter to any one who’s character is not inside the listed acceptable parameters X,Y,Z coordinates? This way if they some how manage to get underground or fly in the sky they are DC, then insta ported to their hearth or something if the offense is accidental like getting feared into the floor.

Where as a cheater will repeatedly do this, and can then be detected by a logged event that flags them, then you can watch them and ban them permanent style.

11 Likes

Ignore the naysayers. The 30 instant cap/day is terrific way to combat bots as well.

42 Likes

Thanks Kaivax. Could you expand on what you mean by exploitative?

Do you just meant botting or does exploitative also include aoe farming instances/boosting?

5 Likes

i didnt think it was possible to be this wrong.

16 Likes

Perhaps stop doing this:

I genuinely appreciate the bans (if your numbers are legitimate), but they are worthless if it’s going to be several months before you do it again. We need 70k bots banned again tomorrow, and the day after that, until they’ve gone through all their accounts and have no higher than a level 10 to show for it.

27 Likes

Blizzard: doing something right doesn’t relieve you of your responsibility to your paying customers to continue to listen to their complaints and continue to make more right and correct decisions. Reverting the instance lockout still needs to happen. Banning bots still needs to (continue to) happen.

19 Likes

Do something about it. You’re hurting semi-hardcore players and not listening or responding to the community at all.

Enough with the silence.

23 Likes

Imagine posting a wall of text in response to the issue people are talking about, such as the 30 lockout daily limit, and then not mentioning the 30 daily lockout limit at all.

Your corporate overlords only care about their profits and want the botters to buy more accounts.

16 Likes

Now ban the people buying the gold!

22 Likes