Blizzard has recently completed a ban wave where 74,000 accounts lost access to World of Warcraft Classic. While they didn't want to divulge details that cheaters could exploit, they did offer some insights on why some things happen.
Blizzard took to the official forums to describe the nuances of the latest ban wave and why they are keeping some things secret when it comes to these issues in World of Warcraft as well as the Classic version.
This particular ban wave spanned one month across the Americas, Oceania and Europe, with a grand total of 74,000 WoW Classic accounts ending up suspended due to "using gameplay automation tools", colloquially known as botting.
Devs made the post a long one since they tried to explain how, when and why they ban these accounts in order to let players know why it sometimes looks like their reports amount to nothing. Then again, they tried to keep things obscure enough so the cheat makers wouldn't get any valuable info from the post, which could potentially help them develop illegal software that's harder to detect.
In short, the suspicious activity boils down to three situations:
- Blizzard manages to clearly identify a botter and ban them
- Blizzard can't definitively identify a botter and then examine data manually before deciding on whether to ban or not
- Legitimate players that appear as botters to others
- Banned botters popping back up with the same name
The first case is pretty clear and self-explanatory. It's the second case where things get a bit complex since manual data checking is much slower and the ban happens a bit later because of that.
Legitimate players that get reported for botting are closely tied to this scenario since manual reviewing is what prevents them from being wrongfully banned. Not getting banned is obviously good for their continued enjoyment of WoW but can appear frustrating to the players who perceived them as botters and they now can be misled to believing that Blizzard let a botter off the hook.
Finally, there is the issue of exploiters being spotted and banned but they would subsequently return to the game, doing the same thing with the same name. It appears that these people didn't consult Cheating 101 because it makes them easy targets but they are still a major frustration to those who reported them.
To the ones who reported such cheaters, it could appear that Blizzard didn't do anything about it on surface but it appears nothing is further from the truth.