Blizzard has dispensed more than 100,000 World of Warcraft 6-month account bans in what could be considered the biggest disciplinary move the company has ever dished out.
It seems that most of the banned players were using a bot known as Honorbuddy. The program allows players to automate actions in the game, from simple tasks like gathering resources or grinding mobs unattended, to more complex actions like complete dungeon & battleground runs. This is very much against the terms-of-use, and Blizzard has been trying for a while now to find a way to discover the people using it. It seems it managed to do so, since it went on and banned more than 100,000 accounts.
The makers of Honorbuddy appear to have given up. In a statement released on the official forum, the developer Bossland has announced the shutting down of the Honorbuddy Authentication system, following the new wave of bans.
“With Honorbuddy you thought that we are unbeateable, we never thought that, we’ve succeeded since 2010—Honorbuddy had not a single software detection. It seems there is one now.”
“We are sorry for all your lost WOW Accounts, hopefully you can use them again after the 6 months ban is lifted. I have read here in the forums a bit, a lot of the accounts where 10 years old. This is a pity. We always say, do not use your valuable accounts as the risk is always there.”
“You ask yourself what happens next? For now we closed our Honorbuddy Authentication, when we know any more details we will inform you.”
This seems to be the end for one of the most popular bots in World of Warcraft, unless the massive bouts of bans are not connected to Honorbuddy, which right now seems highly unlikely.
Its doubtful this "victory" will deter future cheaters and botters in WoW, but at least Blizzard has dealt them a serious blow. Given that Honorbuddy often clogged-up PvP matches with "machines" that ruined the fun for actual players, its great to see Blizzard is finally able to discern between player and bot (at least in this instance).