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!

76 Likes

Ok I assume you are going take OUT the materials these bots gathered from the economy and tighten things up a bit in the future? This situation got way out of hand don’t let it happen again.

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Well done Blizz. Hopefully this will teach them a lesson.

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Amazing!
Better late than never I suppose and this explains why /who Strath has looked so clear the last few days and why Righteous Orbs are rising in value again.

And I can only really say
https://youtu.be/_J6-3l3hCm0

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:clap:… /10char

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Thanks! Now please ban the gold buyers aswell.

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Cheers budds)

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You sure did. https:// i.imgur .com/m3BvEmr.jpg

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Cool, so now undo and the ‘30 Instances per 24 hours lock’, and you are out of the bad graces for a while again.

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you dont need to say how you stopped them but just showing the players, blizzards customers, that you are taking action is what we need, square-enix publish the number of bans handed out for RMT and botting monthly to keep players in the loop that they are doing something to combat it, thats all we ask for is an actual response that something is happening more than just turning an old april fools joke into the method of dealing with the issue

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Amazing! Stratholme is literally empty now.

Seems like you got all of them.

Can we remove the ridiculous 30 instances per 24 hours cap now?

12 Likes

can you say that you honestly do 30 instances a day? most normal players won’t do that in a week

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Should have locked all the servers for a couple of weeks though. Currently 50+ characters between lvl 10 and 15, another 44 characters between 16 and 20 on Earthshaker alliance side. Most of them are without guilds, at 1.40 AM in the middle of the week.

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I seriously cba to deal with these kind of uneducated replies again.

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check his realm and race

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“boohoo!!! I cannot do that so you shouldn’t be allowed to either!!”

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funny you said this, to show how bad botting was to my partner i done a /who strath and there was 1 group in there, all unguilded to still probably bots, but better than the 49+ that is normally returned

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/who stratholme

5 teams, 15 mages, 5 druids, 5 priest

Yep… nothing looks out of place here

WTS ZG run

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9oS_oCeXgZE

Yep… nothing out of the ordinary here

:crazy_face:

4 Likes

at no point did i say i can’t do it just i dont do it, its not hard to hit the 5 instance lock out in DM on a mage it just bores me as i have better things to do than aoe flowers for 50-100g an hour

i like to play games, and there are better farming sims out there than DM

2 Likes

Well I only looked on my own server.