Bot

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Bots are player accounts being run by an automated piece of software, which calculates and makes moves on behalf of the player, without need for player intervention. Using third party programs to automate Hearthstone play is a violation of the game's Terms of Use, and accounts that are found to be making use of bots will be permanently closed, without warning.[1][2]

Botting software is often used by players to accumulate gold or rank without effort, and is easily obtained. As well as being against the game's Terms of Use, botting is considered by many players to be indecent and inconsiderate behaviour, and is looked down upon and complained about by a large proportion of the playerbase.

Blizzard regularly ban large numbers of accounts found to have been using bots.

History[edit | edit source]

In late 2014, many players reported encountering a large number of bots while playing. Bots had been reported as reaching Legend rank. In August 2014 a statement was made on the official forums by the game's developers:[3]

A fun, fair, and competitive environment is at the very heart of the Hearthstone experience. This is a reminder that we take fair play very seriously, and that making use of third party programs that automate gameplay (also known as ‘bots’ or ‘botting’) is a violation of our Terms of Use. Accounts that are found to be making use of ‘bots’ are subject to penalties, up to and including permanent suspension.[3]

In October 2014 an official blog announced the temporary banning of several thousand accounts in connection with botting. Furthermore, the previous warnings of potential penalties were replaced by a clear statement that "From this point on, accounts found to be cheating will be permanently closed without warning."[1] It was later stated that over 10,000 accounts were banned from the game for botting.[4]

While many players considered this punishment too lenient, preferring the botters to be stripped of their cards, gold, rank and other rewards gained through their illegal actions, the developers stated that part of the reason for this was making allowances for new players, who might not have understand the seriousness of their actions.[4] For this reason it was decided to take a more lenient approach to punishing existing botters, but with a zero tolerance approach going forward.[4] Another possible factor is players who had reportedly resorted to botting out of frustration following playing against bot after bot, especially in the face of Blizzard's apparent inaction on the matter. However, it was later announced that those players would be stripped of all ranked wins, automatically removing any golden heroes or progress toward them.[5]

On November 12, 2014, it was announced that the first permanent bans following the previous announcement had been enacted, closing the accounts of several thousand Hearthstone players found to be cheating.[6] Since then, Blizzard have begun to regularly announce when further waves of bans have been enacted.[7][8]

Recognising bots[edit | edit source]

Certain behaviours of many bots can be used to identify them as such. However, there is no way to tell for certain whether the opponent is being controlled by a player or a bot, despite the quickness of many players to assume the latter. It should also be noted that many different types of bot exist, and it is therefore possible for some bots to exhibit certain signs, while others do not.

  • A popular class for bots is shaman, due to certain mechanics which make the class easier for the bot to play effectively. Bots are often used in combination with certain types of deck, due to the software being known to work well with those decks. As a result, certain class and deck combinations are taken by some to indicate that the opponent is a bot, although obviously this cannot be known with any certainty, as many players also play shaman decks of all kinds.
  • Some bots can be recognized because of the way they queue attacks with their minions. The newest types of bots attempt to simulate the mouse movement when directing an attack, but since the mouse is controlled by the third party program, it teleports to the second minion to queue the attack right after finishing targeting the opponent character. It is humanly impossible to have that small of a delay in a movement, which is currently one of the biggest giveaway if the player is a bot.
  • Some players claim that bots never highlight a minion or card; rather their actions are taken instantly, without any indication of cursor movement, or mouse over highlighting of features.
  • Another common claim is that bots often take a precisely even interval of a few seconds between each action.
  • Many common moves such as checking cards and minions, or cancelling plays before they are complete, are often taken as indication that the opponent is not a bot, since bots have no reason to make such moves.
  • One tell-tale behaviour of some bots as of late 2014 is to use Earth Shock on their own minion, when there is no benefit to doing so. Certain other nonsensical behaviours can similarly serve to identify them.

Reporting bots[edit | edit source]

Accounts suspected of using botting software can be reported to [email protected] . Players are encouraged to include as much detail as possible.

Players can also use http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/submit/hacks.html or http://eu.blizzard.com/en-gb/submit/hacks.html, depending on the region involved.

Official statements[edit | edit source]

This section includes only blogs and new-topic forum posts. For brevity's sake, repeated "Continued Actions Against Botting in Hearthstone" posts are not listed.

References[edit | edit source]