Hundred of Hearthstone accounts were banned overnight under the suspicion of being bots registered in countries with lower prices.

A post on a Taiwanese forum revealed that Blizzard banned hundreds of Hearthstone accounts for botting. These bot accounts allegedly belonged to Chinese Hearthstone players who registered them under fake Argentinian addresses to benefit from lower regional prices.

This happened less than a month after Blizzard shut down their Chinese Hearthstone servers and hours after the regional price increase.

Hearthstone banning bot accounts

Hearthstone has been suffering from a botting problem for some time now. The cat-and-mouse story between bots and Blizzard's capacity to discover and ban them is legendary. The first bots farmed experience on Wild mode, some more complex ones dominated the Mercenaries leaderboard, and others flooded Classic mode to the point that they pushed themselves all the way up to legend.

Yesterday, glormagic, a Taiwanese Hearthstone player shared that Blizzard issued bans to hundreds of bot accounts. According to him, most of those banned Hearthstone accounts were registered in Argentina and owned by Chinese players.

All those bans were permanent and for "Inappropriate Program Use," which usually means botting.

The Chinese-Argentinian connection

While we are entering speculation territory, we have a few different sources linking this massive Hearthstone bot ban with Chinese players and Argentinian prices. The theory is that Chinese players, after their server shutdown, created accounts in Argentina since it was the country with the cheapest regional Hearthstone prices.

Furthermore, the post informing the bans discloses under what email those Hearthstone bot accounts were registered. Most of those email accounts were under QQ or 163.com domains, two popular Chinese email servers. The Chinese community calls this "Argentinian in heart."

Is it a coincidence that these massive bans came just hours after Hearthstone's regional price increases?

Hearthstone botting and regional price hikes

Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw, in his Walk to Work Hearthstone podcast, makes an excellent point about the price increases that can be directly related to this bot-banning situation. With Blizzard still trying to negotiate a deal to bring Hearthstone back to China, they can't allow their user base to flee to other servers.

What bargaining power would they have if, after six months, most Hearthstone users already had accounts on other servers? That could be one of the reasons behind the virtual elimination of every regional prizing promotion policy in Hearthstone. Because Argentina was the first target, but the issue would roll over to any other country with lower regional prices

At the same time, this turns Chinese Hearthstone players into virtual hostages. While botting and faking residency is clearly against Blizzard's terms of service, it's hard to imagine what it feels like to be a Chinese Hearthstone player. It's only natural that after being expelled from the game, many would seek to get back by any means possible.

Argentina had their prices artificially low due to constant currency devaluation, so many gamers exploited this to their benefit. This is not exclusive to Blizzard or to Argentina. Steam had similar issues with Turkey as well.

This is still a developing story. We are waiting for an official comment regarding Blizzard's actions toward botting in Hearthstone and these massive bans. We will update the article as we get more information.


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

Sign up to receive more Hearthstone content from our weekly email

Create account
next article