- Hearthstone has banned nearly 200,000 accounts in its largest ban wave ever, targeting bots and bad actors in the game.
- The ban wave in Hearthstone is significantly larger than some seen in other live-service games, making it a significant event.
- Despite recent layoffs affecting Blizzard’s customer support team, Hearthstone is committed to catching botting accounts and creating a better community environment.
Hearthstone just set a new record for the largest ban wave the collectible card game has ever seen. Nearly 200,000 Hearthstone accounts have been closed since the beginning of the year, with a focus on clearing out bots and bad actors from the Tavern.
Like most live-service multiplayer games, Hearthstone is engaged in a permanent battle against players who engage in botting – using programs and automation to play the game, usually to acquire currency or other rewards to sell or exploit in some fashion. Over the last 10 years, Blizzard’s collectible card game has done what it can to battle bots, including adding the ability for Hearthstone fans to report suspicious or malicious behavior.
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Since the start of 2024, Hearthstone has banned a record-breaking number of actionable accounts. According to a forum post from Hearthstone community manager Vyraneer, during January, it banned over 60,000 accounts that were flagged for botting, or who were exploiting the game in other ways. Then, on February 7, Hearthstone took action against over 135,000 botting accounts in the single biggest ban wave in Hearthstone history. Altogether, Hearthstone has banned nearly 200,000 accounts in just over a month.
Hearthstone Bans Nearly 200,000 Accounts
Ban waves are not new to live-service games like Hearthstone. Companies often ban large numbers of accounts in singular waves to make it more challenging for malcontents to pick up on the companies’ tracking methods. However, large ban waves in most other games usually number in the thousands, such as a recent example of about 11,000 bans in Escape from Tarkov. This Hearthstone ban wave is several times larger than an average one, making it a rather significant event.
Then again, it is clear that Blizzard does not mess around when it comes to bans. In December 2023, World of Warcraft banned over 270,000 accounts from both retail and Classic. This marked the largest mass account closure the company had reported since it began sharing monthly banning statistics last June.
Unfortunately, the recent mass layoffs from Microsoft impacted the majority of Blizzard’s customer support team. This means many of the company’s games, including Hearthstone, lost moderators, game masters, and other roles that help find these accounts in favor of outsourced agents. That said, Hearthstone’s recent message makes it clear it is committed to the hunt for botting accounts. Hopefully, the game can continue to catch these bad actors in light of these layoffs, and keep building a better environment for the Hearthstone community.
Hearthstone is a free-to-play digital trading card game from Blizzard and features many characters from the World of Warcraft universe.