Chinese botting might ruin Hearthstone Arena cover image

Chinese botting might ruin Hearthstone Arena

A new ramification of the Chinese Hearthstone botting problem could affect Arena, but this time on a global scale.

A long-known botting-related problem in China might now have a notable impact on Hearthstone's Arena game mode globally. Bennidge, a Hearthstone Chinese community member, shared his thoughts on how Chinese bots might influence Arena globally. Another ramification of Blizzard shutting down the Chinese Hearthstone server.

"It's safe to say, at least safe for a Chinese myself to say, that we are notorious for cheating like botting, boosting… in many games, including Hearthstone. Check the recent wave of bans, for example."

How Hearthstone botting affects Arena

Botting doesn't give Hearthstone players a strict advantage when playing Arena games. However, this doesn't means that the aggregated effect is innocuous. The way bots affect Hearthstone Arena is indirect.

Arena provides a Hearthstone drafting experience in which players pick from randomized sets of cards to make a deck. The Arena entry ticket costs Hearthstone 150 gold or $2. This price bar is what brings a sense of balance to the mode.

"Botting generates tons of free gold, which could be used everywhere (bgs lul), but particularly effective in Arena."

Bennidge stating the relationship be

If Hearthstone players had absurd amounts of gold thanks to botting, then there would be no incentives to play a run if their drafted decks weren't insane. That is the root of the problem Chinese bots generated in Hearthstone Arena.

"This is one of the main reasons why CN server's Arena meta had been the toughest, because so many botted accounts were in our Arena, the average bar of deck quality got raised by a significant amount. Normal players, with normal drafts, were consistently put at disadvantage."

Bennidge about unfair competition in Hearthstone Arena

As we see, bots didn't only affect the Leaderboards but also casual Hearthstone Arena players. Everyone faced a tougher and unfair field as if they were bringing a knife to a gunfight. Years of facing better quality decks, forced top players, that played fair and square, to became even stronger.

geyuan6, a content creator with 250K followers in China, added yet another reason behind Hearthstone botting related to Arena. According to geyuan6, some streamers focus their Arena content on playing "superdrafts". Superdrafts are incredibly powerful Arena decks, drafted often by Hearthstone bot account owners to whom streamers can pay $10 or $20, according to geyuan6.

With yet another economic incentive, it's understandable that the Hearthstone botting problem is increasing.

Why is the botting problem spreading?

Bennidge explains that this botting problem in Arena was almost exclusive to the Chinese Hearthstone server. Ever since NetEase, Blizzard's partner in China, introduced Hearthstone Arena Leaderboards, players engaged in botting to get an edge. According to Bennidge, Hafu confirmed the issue mentioning that "every opponent has insane decks".

Now, this Chinese botting influence on Arena is spreading to every Hearthstone server. This happens mainly because Hearthstone Chinese players started "emigrating" to other servers after their server shut down in January. The first piece of evidence was seen last week when Blizzard banned several Hearthstone accounts suspected of botting and under Chinese email servers.

This week, we confirm the arrival of several Chinese players to other servers after seeing their presence in Arena Leaderboards introduced with the 25.4 Hearthstone patch. While this doesn't mean that they are engaging in any botting activity, it is possible that the continuous influx of players might end up also spreading the botting problem.

Hearthstone Arena Leaderboard - Image via Benndige
Hearthstone Arena Leaderboard - Image via Benndige

To be clear, these leaderboard players are not part of the problem, much on the contrary, they are victims. They had to adapt and face a tougher Arena field and by that, they turned into superb players.

Blizzard intervention

The events are still developing, and we are waiting for an official statement from Blizzards. While it's suspected that the regional price hike Hearthstone players from 14 countries suffered on February 14 was related to Chinese players "emigrating" to other servers so they could keep playing, Blizzard hasn't confirmed (nor denied) this.

We have seen some intervention already, with Hearthstone banning accounts suspected of botting trying to combat the issue. It's also unclear the magnitude of the botting wave and if Blizzard's measures can prevent Hearthstone bot accounts to influence the Arena meta.

One thing is clear, with or without botts, Hearthstone Arena will be tougher now that seasoned Chinese players are entering the western ecosystem.

As always, stay tuned to find out and check out more Hearthstone content. Be sure to visit for all the latest esports news.