hearthcrawler_01

The infamous Hearthcrawler at work, with the offending “player” having ever so conveniently blotted out their nick. There’s also such irony in them using a cracked version of the bot.

Two things: one, that headline likely just got me fired. Two, Hearthstone players have been bothered by bots (Hey, what do I have to lose?) the past couple of weeks — indeed, around 10% of Hearthstone Reddit users admitted to using bot programs in a recent informal poll.

The thing about bots is that they run indefinitely — so it’s highly possible that while player online activity shifts according to time zones, the bot population remains static throughout, continuously grinding their way up the ranks and to Hearthstone‘s daily gold limit. So it’s not enough to get crushed by RNG and yet another Zoolock deck; the real salt in the wound is that the person laying the smack-down isn’t even there. That bots can consistently win against top players and climb the ranks to Legendary might have deeper implications on the competitive balance of the game.

Now, a well-known Hearthstone botmaker, Warcrawler, has shut down. Citing their Hearthcrawler product, the website now displays a simple announcement, stating, “This is our last official announcement. The recent ban wave in Hearthstone hit a lot of users. After discussing this with Blizzard, it’s clear we have to take off our services/products now. Please note that we’re not going to be commenting further on this.”

The bans in question were several thousand temporary Battle.net account bans enacted by Blizzard last month, citing bot activity. “We’re committed to creating a fun and rewarding environment for our players,” explains the ban announcement, “And we will continue to closely monitor activities within Hearthstone and take appropriate action against cheating in any form, as outlined in our Terms of Use. From this point on, accounts found to be cheating will be permanently closed without warning.”

PC Gamer previously interviewed a bot user, who was largely unrepentant on its use. What about you? Are bots as a real time-saver, or a real life-waster?

Source: Ars Technica

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