Botting, or using a program to play the game for you, ruins the experience of other players who expect to play against a human with the same physical and mental limitations as themselves. Hearthstone provided a great opportunity for botters to hone their craft, or monetize their tools, selling them to players so they could earn in-game gold while away from keyboard.
The wildly popular digital card game became that way in part due to its deceptive simplicity, with a finite number of moves every turn. But that same simplicity has also made it a hotbed for botting activity, allowing skilled programmers to create bots capable of reaching very high in the ladder.
But Blizzard began to crack down in late October. The company’s policy of shock and awe—mass banning a huge number of accounts at a time—seems to be working. One of the most popular botting services, Crawlerbot, shut down one week after the news.
Today Blizzard showed they’re going to keep up the assault.
Of course, even if Blizzard is successful now, bots won’t be gone for good. The upcoming Goblins vs Gnomes expansion introduces the “mech” minion category, promising we’ll have at least some kind of bot plaguing Hearthstone for years to come.