Thousands of Hearthstone Players Banned For Using Bots

Thousands of Hearthstone Players Banned For Using Bots

Hearthstone Screen 01

Blizzard states it will not tolerate cheating; this round of bans end in 2015.

Blizzard Entertainment announced it has banned thousands of Hearthstone players for using third-party programs that automate gameplay. The company states use of bots does not constitute fair play, and these thousands of players are banned from Hearthstone until an undisclosed date in 2015.

This round of bans appears to be akin to a harsh warning as 2015 is nearly two months away. However, Blizzard stated any accounts cheating will be banned permanently and without warning.

Bot software allows people to play the game endlessly in the background. This makes leveling up significantly easier. In August, the presence of bots in Hearthstone prompted the community manager to make a locked forum post noting "a fun, fair, and competitive environment is at the very heart of the Hearthstone experience" and that using of third-party programs to automate gameplay is a violation of the company's Terms of Use.

"We're committed to creating a fun and rewarding environment for our players, and we will continue to closely monitor activities within Hearthstone and take appropriate action against cheating in any form, as outlined in our Terms of Use," Blizzard stated yesterday. "From this point on, accounts found to be cheating will be permanently closed without warning."

Blizzard asks people who think they have encountered a bot to report it to Blizzard's Hacks team.

Source: Blizzard

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While I resent Hearthstone's business model I'd never consider cheating to circumvent it. Truth is this is a competitive game, so you're not just making things more convenient for yourself. Problem with that argument, however, is that instead of using bots you can just spend tons of cash on cards :D

:/

If it's preferable to automate a game, there's something wrong with it.
Of course, without the time-wasting bullshit, the game couldn't be made "free".

Atmos Duality:
If it's preferable to automate a game, there's something wrong with it.
Of course, without the time-wasting bullshit, the game couldn't be made "free".

I'd only agree if a majority of players are cheating. Every game I've ever played has had cheaters of some variety or another, so either they're all broken or some people are just going to cheat no matter what the game is.

Bots aren't just a way to circumvent Blizzard's business model of paying to accelerate the expansion of your card library; those bots have to play against someone, and those people who have to play bots (and it's readily apparent when you are fighting one) tend to find the experience rather frustrating. If I'm going to be playing against bots, there's plenty of single player games I'd rather be playing over Hearthstone.

To put the cheating into perspective, if you only log in to complete the quests that refresh every day (of which you can accumulate up to 3 before you stop gaining new quests, until you complete some of the ones you already have), you will gain ~70 gold a day this way; a card pack costs 100 gold, and starting an Arena run costs 150 gold. Bots will also gain the ~60 gold from the daily quest they complete, and will then gain 100 extra gold from spamming normal games; you gain 10 gold for every 3 victories from games vs. other players, up to a cap of 100 gold a day gained this way. So we're talking ~160 gold gained a day for bots vs. ~70 gold earned a day by players who log in every day but don't play for hours on end, which I consider to be your average Hearthstone player; the difference in gold income and therefore card acquisition rate is huge.

For months, us legitimate Hearthstone players felt like idiots for playing by the rules while we were surrounded by bots who broke the rules for massive profit and got away with it. This is very happy news indeed.

I rage-quit Hearthstone after they "nerfed" that card drawing bird for the hunter to manacost 5. I hate games that punish their players for lack of balance... from one day to the other, my favourite deck didn't work anymore, while obvious bots and scammers (starting a game and stalling it for you to concede out of frustration) had fun "playing".

I sunk some money in cards and arena tickets because I liked the game but didn't have the time to grind all the gold to make it fun. A dead investment... maybe I'll reconsider playing after this bot purge... if I can overcome the sadness when I look at my hunter deck.

Maybe I'm just out of the loop here, but can someone explain the appeal of cheating at an online card game? I would think aimbotting/wallhacking/speedhacking in an FPS would be far more appealing to the sort of people that resort to such things.

EDIT: Answered for me, thanks.

Neverhoodian:
Maybe I'm just out of the loop here, but can someone explain the appeal of cheating at an online card game? I would think aimbotting/wallhacking/speedhacking in an FPS would be far more appealing to the sort of people that resort to such things.

I already answered that in my own post. There's a 10g reward for every 3 PvP games you win, up to a cap of 100g worth of these rewards per day. A Hearthstone card pack costs 100 in-game gold. So essentially botting nets you an extra card pack every day, which greatly accelerates the growth of your card collection for free.

Man from La Mancha:
I rage-quit Hearthstone after they "nerfed" that card drawing bird for the hunter to manacost 5. I hate games that punish their players for lack of balance... from one day to the other, my favourite deck didn't work anymore, while obvious bots and scammers (starting a game and stalling it for you to concede out of frustration) had fun "playing".

I sunk some money in cards and arena tickets because I liked the game but didn't have the time to grind all the gold to make it fun. A dead investment... maybe I'll reconsider playing after this bot purge... if I can overcome the sadness when I look at my hunter deck.

First point is, Starving Buzzard was very OP. In a single player game it can be fine to let it slide, but in a competitive multiplayer game it just made everyone sick and tired of playing against overpowered Hunters over and over again.

Second point is, Hunters are still very much a viable class after the Buzzard nerf. They're just not far and away the best one. But don't take it from me, take it from this article on a specialist Hearthstone site that makes tier lists for Hearthstone classes every now and then based on the opinions of 20+ Hearthstone pros:
http://www.liquidhearth.com/forum/hearthstone/467532-power-rank-classes-pre-hunter-nerf

What do they say? That before the Buzzard nerf, Hunter was very overpowered, and was by far the best class in the game. In a competitive multiplayer game, you can't just let that be.

Neverhoodian:
Maybe I'm just out of the loop here, but can someone explain the appeal of cheating at an online card game? I would think aimbotting/wallhacking/speedhacking in an FPS would be far more appealing to the sort of people that resort to such things.

Like was said in the article, people do it to level up and earn gold in the background. So they don't have to personally grind away game after game and waste countless hours doing so. Which to be fair, is understandable considering how frustrating it is to level up and earn gold in Hearthstone. I still quit because it required far more hours than I could possibly manage or a buttload of disposable income to stay competitive.

Zato-1:

First point is, Starving Buzzard was very OP. In a single player game it can be fine to let it slide, but in a competitive multiplayer game it just made everyone sick and tired of playing against overpowered Hunters over and over again.

Second point is, Hunters are still very much a viable class after the Buzzard nerf. They're just not far and away the best one. But don't take it from me, take it from this article on a specialist Hearthstone site that makes tier lists for Hearthstone classes every now and then based on the opinions of 20+ Hearthstone pros:
http://www.liquidhearth.com/forum/hearthstone/467532-power-rank-classes-pre-hunter-nerf

What do they say? That before the Buzzard nerf, Hunter was very overpowered, and was by far the best class in the game. In a competitive multiplayer game, you can't just let that be.

I absolutely believe you when you say hunter was ovepowered and had to be nerfed. And I confess that my rage was purely rage out of egoistical motives. My problem is that a overpowered mechanic like that should have been nerfed during beta, the Buzzard was a core set card. If they had adjusted him (like in the first nerf, when they made him 2/1 istead of 2/2) carefully to 3 or 4 mana, it would have been ok with me. But nerfing a card with 3 additional "to play" mana is the admission of complete blindness in the design team. I wasn't angry at the fact my favourite deck didn't work anymore but at the clumsiness of the developers that gave me time to fall in love with the Buzzard and then killed it.

I agree that Hunters were pretty OP with the original buzzard. But there is a problem, in that they nerfed the buzzard too much... Hunters have a lot of ways to thin out your own deck, yet we have essentially nothing to cultivate hand size throughout the game now. 5 mana with low health means it will only be played in the late game (at least 8 mana available), and if you are not set up to run a buzzard/hounds combo, then there will be little payout unless the other player has really backed themselves into a corner with no board-control/removal. Which is almost never that late into the game.

Every other class has low mana card draws, that do not require much of anything to pull off (that includes Warriors, as they have way too many cards to feed into Battle Rage), so the nerf was pretty devastating to us Hunters, as we struggle against players with full hands.

*Warrior - Battle Rage (2 mana)
*Priest - Thoughtsteal (3 mana)
*Paladin - Divine Favour (3 mana)
*Warlock - Hero power (2 mana)
*Mage - Arcane Intellect (3 mana)
*Rogue - Not even going to list theirs off, as there are way too many, for as low as 1 mana costs, with their big one being 7 mana.

Atmos Duality:
If it's preferable to automate a game, there's something wrong with it.
Of course, without the time-wasting bullshit, the game couldn't be made "free".

Pretty much this right here...
If someone would rather not play your game...then you have gone astray.

Man from La Mancha:

Zato-1:

First point is, Starving Buzzard was very OP. In a single player game it can be fine to let it slide, but in a competitive multiplayer game it just made everyone sick and tired of playing against overpowered Hunters over and over again.

Second point is, Hunters are still very much a viable class after the Buzzard nerf. They're just not far and away the best one. But don't take it from me, take it from this article on a specialist Hearthstone site that makes tier lists for Hearthstone classes every now and then based on the opinions of 20+ Hearthstone pros:
http://www.liquidhearth.com/forum/hearthstone/467532-power-rank-classes-pre-hunter-nerf

What do they say? That before the Buzzard nerf, Hunter was very overpowered, and was by far the best class in the game. In a competitive multiplayer game, you can't just let that be.

I absolutely believe you when you say hunter was ovepowered and had to be nerfed. And I confess that my rage was purely rage out of egoistical motives. My problem is that a overpowered mechanic like that should have been nerfed during beta, the Buzzard was a core set card. If they had adjusted him (like in the first nerf, when the made him 2/1 istead of 2/2) carefully to 3 or 4 mana, it would have been ok with me. But nerfing a card with 3 additional "to play" mana is the admission of complete blindness in the design team. I wasn't angry at the fact my favourite deck didn't work anymore but at the clumsiness of the developers that gave me time to fall in love with the Buzzard and then killed it.

Hm. The reasoning that the developers themselves offered is that one of the things that they value in Hearthstone is a feeling of stability; they'd much rather sit back and let players find counters to powerful cards and decks than to step in all the time and nerf the seemingly overpowered card du jour. As a result, they prefer to be really cautious when it comes to nerfing cards. Were they overly cautious with Buzzard? Probably, and I agree with you that they took too long. I'm just offering the Hearthstone dev team's take on the issue here.

Hunter is still a strong class- in the most recent high-level tournament where each player had to bring 4 decks, one from each of 4 different classes, 7/8 players chose Hunter as one of their 4 classes:
http://www.hearthpwn.com/news/662-battle-of-the-best-deck-lists-versus-series-spiffy

Buzzard itself isn't very popular at the moment, however.

BigTuk:

Atmos Duality:
If it's preferable to automate a game, there's something wrong with it.
Of course, without the time-wasting bullshit, the game couldn't be made "free".

Pretty much this right here...
If someone would rather not play your game...then you have gone astray.

What if someone plays the game, but leaves a bot running while they're at work? That way, they have extra cards to play with in the limited time they have for playing the actual game. You're assuming people were botting _instead_ of playing, when the only point of botting was to have more cards for when you do play (or to sell accounts with a bunch of cards unlocked to other people).

Oh please tell me this was accompanied by a wave a rage filled fourm posts by the cheaters calling the bans "bulls**t" and talking about how terrible the game is and how Blizzard has sold out or whatever. Those type of posts are my favorite part of these ban waves in games.

You can only cheat and get advantages by giving Blizzard money, duh.

Man from La Mancha:
I rage-quit Hearthstone after they "nerfed" that card drawing bird for the hunter to manacost 5. I hate games that punish their players for lack of balance... from one day to the other, my favourite deck didn't work anymore, while obvious bots and scammers (starting a game and stalling it for you to concede out of frustration) had fun "playing".

I sunk some money in cards and arena tickets because I liked the game but didn't have the time to grind all the gold to make it fun. A dead investment... maybe I'll reconsider playing after this bot purge... if I can overcome the sadness when I look at my hunter deck.

The hunter deck was as broken as the bot problem. It is frustrating, however, to build up an entire deck around beast cards, including buying supporting cards for constructed, just to only be able to refund the nerfed cards for full value. It's not like I can refund every beast bought at full dust cost.

it probably didnt help that the most effective decks basically just rush the opposing hero down while ignoring their minions so they would be pretty easy to automate

GarouxBloodline:
I agree that Hunters were pretty OP with the original buzzard. But there is a problem, in that they nerfed the buzzard too much... Hunters have a lot of ways to thin out your own deck, yet we have essentially nothing to cultivate hand size throughout the game now. 5 mana with low health means it will only be played in the late game (at least 8 mana available), and if you are not set up to run a buzzard/hounds combo, then there will be little payout unless the other player has really backed themselves into a corner with no board-control/removal. Which is almost never that late into the game.

Every other class has low mana card draws, that do not require much of anything to pull off (that includes Warriors, as they have way too many cards to feed into Battle Rage), so the nerf was pretty devastating to us Hunters, as we struggle against players with full hands.

*Warrior - Battle Rage (2 mana)
*Priest - Thoughtsteal (3 mana)
*Paladin - Divine Favour (3 mana)
*Warlock - Hero power (2 mana)
*Mage - Arcane Intellect (3 mana)
*Rogue - Not even going to list theirs off, as there are way too many, for as low as 1 mana costs, with their big one being 7 mana.

You know hunters have flare right? A one mana drop that draws and removes all enemy secrets(not even friendly secrets) and stealth, and with the heath boost to buzzard it's hard to kill with cheap spells making snake trap much much better, it wasn't really nerfed that much just can't be used with way over powered combo's so cheaply anymore.

Edit: I forgot to mention they also have tracking, 1 mana drop, pick one the top three cards in your deck, can hurt but usually doesn't.

heroicbob:
it probably didnt help that the most effective decks basically just rush the opposing hero down while ignoring their minions so they would be pretty easy to automate

lol, you clearly don't know much about Hearthstone at the competitive level if you're saying this. Easily more than half of the decks at Legend rank atm are slow, control oriented decks where decision-making is very nuanced and where fighting for control of the board without overreaching is the name of the game. By contrast, the majority of bots are Shaman decks full of minions who hit a glass ceiling around Rank 5 or so (new players start at Rank 25, and you climb through the ranks all the way up to Rank 1 and possibly Legend rank after that, if you're that good and perseverant).

The decks where you just rush the opposing hero down while ignoring their minions are popular in weaker ranks because they're cheap to build, and fast and easy to play. But they are a minority in higher-level play, only serving to keep slow decks in check when they become too greedy trying to stuff their decks full of more powerful, expensive cards than their opponents.

Zato-1:

What if someone plays the game, but leaves a bot running while they're at work? That way, they have extra cards to play with in the limited time they have for playing the actual game. You're assuming people were botting _instead_ of playing, when the only point of botting was to have more cards for when you do play (or to sell accounts with a bunch of cards unlocked to other people).

Well, if you're pursuing that line of logic (and it's not a bad one, don't get me wrong), you will inevitably have to ask a simple, if ugly question: "Why do people buy accounts?"
Or more accurately, "Why do fake cards in a 'free' game carry real world value?"

The answer is simple: Because the cards take a lot of time to acquire normally.
If nobody cared about the grind, nobody would buy accounts. Simple as that.

Botting is a symptom of another problem, not a cause.
Banning accounts en-masse? It's a treatment of that symptom, not the source.

And that treatment is necessary, since Blizzard built the the grind into their game so they could make money.
Whether or not you agree with this model or its caveats is a personal question, but the fact is that the time commitment drives botting, regardless of who is doing it (or for whom).

(there's a whole other discussion about what F2P actually does and what it requires of game design; or at least, I think it's interesting)

Atmos Duality:

Well, if you're pursuing that line of logic (and it's not a bad one, don't get me wrong), you will inevitably have to ask a simple, if ugly question: "Why do people buy accounts?"
Or more accurately, "Why do fake cards in a 'free' game carry real world value?"

The answer is simple: Because the cards take a lot of time to acquire normally.
If nobody cared about the grind, nobody would buy accounts. Simple as that.

Botting is a symptom of another problem, not a cause.
Banning accounts en-masse? It's a treatment of that symptom, not the source.

And that treatment is necessary, since Blizzard built the the grind into their game so they could make money.
Whether or not you agree with this model or its caveats is a personal question, but the fact is that the time commitment drives botting, regardless of who is doing it (or for whom).

(there's a whole other discussion about what F2P actually does and what it requires of game design; or at least, I think it's interesting)

You're saying that the business model behind Hearthstone, where it takes a very long time to acquire cards that can be bypassed with money, is the driving force behind botting. I don't think there's any arguing with that.

However, I do contest your diagnostic of what, exactly is the problem. The business model drives botting- but which here is the problem? The business model, botting itself, or both? I'm inclined to say botting is the problem- or at least the bigger problem. Over on the Hearthstone-specific community site I linked (on which I comment far more often than I do here on The Escapist), the community was fairly livid about bots in general. Here's a few choice quotes from people's reaction to the bot banning announcement:

Nekovivie:

I honestly think this is ridiculous. 3 months is absolutely nothing for people who have been openly cheating and botting for months, and all the spoils they have earned on these accounts, gold heroes, gold cards, gold itself, will still be on the accounts for use.

Should have had these accounts closed indefinitely imo :/ They do mention that future bans will be permanent but it's not enough. So many botters out there getting off lightly.

Nothingtosay:

3 Months is incredibly light. If they don't somehow take away gold/cards/dust earned from botting then this is a slap on the wrists.

PushDown:

Exaclty, a 3 months freeze for a secondary account is irrelevant. If anything, there will me more bots now that ppl know how much of a "punishment" Blizzard is giving to cheaters.

Liquid`Jinro:

Should be a permanent ban, maybe loss of other games attached to account.

Source:
http://www.liquidhearth.com/forum/hearthstone/470080-botting-banwave-10-27

Now, not everyone was carrying torches and pitchforks there. But botting itself was still perceived as a fairly serious offense by an overwhelming majority. I agree with you that botting never would have been a problem in the first place if Hearthstone had a business model like that of, say, Magic 2015. But if the biggest problem arising from Hearthstone's business model is this botting issue, which is a discrete problem that can be solved at no great cost (indeed, as of now it seems to be mostly solved already), then does it make sense to try and change the whole business model, which has otherwise been (very) successful for Hearthstone thus far?

Right now, I'm of the opinion that Hearthstone's business model is not a problem in and of itself. It has pros and it most certainly has cons as well, but the playerbase seems fairly happy with it overall and it's working great for Blizzard as well.

Atmos Duality:

Zato-1:

What if someone plays the game, but leaves a bot running while they're at work? That way, they have extra cards to play with in the limited time they have for playing the actual game. You're assuming people were botting _instead_ of playing, when the only point of botting was to have more cards for when you do play (or to sell accounts with a bunch of cards unlocked to other people).

Well, if you're pursuing that line of logic (and it's not a bad one, don't get me wrong), you will inevitably have to ask a simple, if ugly question: "Why do people buy accounts?"
Or more accurately, "Why do fake cards in a 'free' game carry real world value?"

The answer is simple: Because the cards take a lot of time to acquire normally.
If nobody cared about the grind, nobody would buy accounts. Simple as that.

Botting is a symptom of another problem, not a cause.
Banning accounts en-masse? It's a treatment of that symptom, not the source.

And that treatment is necessary, since Blizzard built the the grind into their game so they could make money.
Whether or not you agree with this model or its caveats is a personal question, but the fact is that the time commitment drives botting, regardless of who is doing it (or for whom).

(there's a whole other discussion about what F2P actually does and what it requires of game design; or at least, I think it's interesting)

Well considering its a free game that doesn't lock you out or restrict your access to any cards or card types or classes, a game people paid nothing to download and execute except whatever it cost them to have internet that month (which doesn't go to Blizzard), charging for packs and arena tickets isn't a big deal. Hell one can play the game as much or as little as one wants and never spend a dime on it and still eventually get everything the person who spend 100's of dollars on the game did. Its not pay to win and thats a world of difference.
Botting is a symptom of people who get something for free and feel they should get more without having to invest anything whether be it time or money.
Since everyone's time can't be quantified in a dollar amount (can you really put a price on your free time? I won't because I love my free time and don't feel anyone can buy it from me) you can't compare the dollar price of card packs or arena tickets to how much time one "wastes" on getting cards.
The other side I feel is that Blizz went out and designed and released a game for free, and gave people the option to pay Blizzard for it and receive something more for their investment.
But at no time is anyone required to pay anything.
*shrug* Its not the worst F2P game I've seen and it doesn't feel like you're being taken for a ride. I feel Blizz deserves something for their efforts, but them saying "you don't ever have to pay us" is a nice thing.

malnin:

GarouxBloodline:
I agree that Hunters were pretty OP with the original buzzard. But there is a problem, in that they nerfed the buzzard too much... Hunters have a lot of ways to thin out your own deck, yet we have essentially nothing to cultivate hand size throughout the game now. 5 mana with low health means it will only be played in the late game (at least 8 mana available), and if you are not set up to run a buzzard/hounds combo, then there will be little payout unless the other player has really backed themselves into a corner with no board-control/removal. Which is almost never that late into the game.

Every other class has low mana card draws, that do not require much of anything to pull off (that includes Warriors, as they have way too many cards to feed into Battle Rage), so the nerf was pretty devastating to us Hunters, as we struggle against players with full hands.

*Warrior - Battle Rage (2 mana)
*Priest - Thoughtsteal (3 mana)
*Paladin - Divine Favour (3 mana)
*Warlock - Hero power (2 mana)
*Mage - Arcane Intellect (3 mana)
*Rogue - Not even going to list theirs off, as there are way too many, for as low as 1 mana costs, with their big one being 7 mana.

You know hunters have flare right? A one mana drop that draws and removes all enemy secrets(not even friendly secrets) and stealth, and with the heath boost to buzzard it's hard to kill with cheap spells making snake trap much much better, it wasn't really nerfed that much just can't be used with way over powered combo's so cheaply anymore.

Edit: I forgot to mention they also have tracking, 1 mana drop, pick one the top three cards in your deck, can hurt but usually doesn't.

That card (flare) is not meant for hand stability, nor does it provide hand stability. Its only purpose, against decks that do not have secrets in them, is to thin out your deck so that you get the cards you need faster. The problem is, hand stability < thinning out your deck. The only reason I mentioned Rogue cards that are similar, is because cards like shiv are specifically meant to act as removal, feed into combos, while still allowing the Rogue to maintain hand size on a consistent basis throughout the entire match.

And tracking is most certainly not a hand stability card. It is essentially a 1 mana, remove 2 cards from your deck permanently cost, which is exceptionally steep of a cost, to literally just replace a card in your hand instead of actually drawing additional cards. The fact that you even brought up those two cards, leads me to believe that you are not really understanding what I am saying.

P.S. - the +1 health boost is near meaningless. The only nice benefit I have seen, is that mortal coil no longer works properly on buzzards. But aside from mortal coil, a huge portion of low cost removal can easily deal with buzzard, and I can truthfully say that my buzzards are typically dealt with within one turn, in nearly 95% of my matches.

beep boop, robot shaman out of commision.

Zato-1:

However, I do contest your diagnostic of what, exactly is the problem. The business model drives botting- but which here is the problem? The business model, botting itself, or both? I'm inclined to say botting is the problem- or at least the bigger problem.

Like I said, that's a personal question, and one I've wrestled with in recent years.

Grind-based-value metrics (like the cards, or any player-based item economy) work because they prey upon human nature.
The research on Skinner Psychology is well known and documented now, and HEAVILY implemented into service-centric gaming.
(virtually every single MMO and F2P game uses it by necessity)

I guess the short and dirty description I can offer is that "Grind is bad for gameplay pacing, but great for business."

Now, some people will claim they "enjoy" grind, but I find that a weak argument because that same claim can be applied to virtually anything. In movies, it'd be like saying one enjoys watching test patterns.
Sure, it's technically possible, but for purely irrational reasons.

But if the biggest problem arising from Hearthstone's business model is this botting issue, which is a discrete problem that can be solved at no great cost (indeed, as of now it seems to be mostly solved already), then does it make sense to try and change the whole business model, which has otherwise been (very) successful for Hearthstone thus far?

Of course, Hearthstone doesn't need me or you to defend it; its success speaks for itself.
But an appeal to popularity won't keep me from questioning why players tolerate concessions like grind in game design or why they're made...beyond the how it's a fiscally-sound business model (for now; standards may change, and that is my intent)

My criticism is that there are double-standards employed here:

-Blizzard selling boosts to bypass grind? A-OK.
Yes, it's their game and their rules.
But that kinda ignores the problem from the PLAYER'S perspective. (Word of God fallacy)

-Botters automating the process to bypass grind? Serious offense, by your own evidence.

Yet both methods have the same end goal because they're both responses to the same problem; hence, why it's a double standard. The only real difference in consequence is the end beneficiary: either it's the player, a middleman player, or Blizzard.

And the sad thing is: Most people will never realize this, or if they do, they will rationalize it away.
Once the botting symptom has been treated (temporarily) their "work" is given some perceived value again.

At a strictly pragmatic, business level, bots are just a symptom Blizzard will have to treat, just as part of the price of doing business.

And if you like the F2P model, or any other grind-based model; good for you.
But I don't, and it's not for a lack of trying. However, I also think that trying to understand WHY is a worthwhile process, for the sake of thinking; even if I never really convince anyone to the contrary.

Imperioratorex Caprae:

Well considering its a free game that doesn't lock you out or restrict your access to any cards or card types or classes, a game people paid nothing to download and execute except whatever it cost them to have internet that month (which doesn't go to Blizzard), charging for packs and arena tickets isn't a big deal.

"Free-to-play" is free in name only; you will pay in other ways so long as you play even if it's not with dollars and cents.
More on that later.

Since everyone's time can't be quantified in a dollar amount ... you can't compare the dollar price of card packs or arena tickets to how much time one "wastes" on getting cards.

Actually, you -can-. It's just really obnoxious to data-mine.
But in essence: it takes averaging the amount of time necessary to acquire [X-Threshold] of cards (or whatever your metric is), and then statistically determining the payout rates per pack of cards. (the irony here, is that the botters would provide a good baseline for time efficiency vs game complexity)

In the end, you should have a ratio of two rates: One for the Money Payout rate, and the other for the Time Payout.
That information, on its own, will give the player a reasonable means of comparing what Blizzard is really charging for their inconvenience mechanic (in this case).
You can then divide one by the other and compare to the average amount of time you spend playing.

But if you wanted to take that a step further, you could compare your rates to the going rate for selling accounts (difficult, but not impossible; an illicit market is still a market) and you would have a rough, but applicable estimation of what that time is worth.

I've actually seen this done with some MMOs; hell, I saw this done with Diablo 2 YEARS ago and a black market that used in-forum currency for trades; it conformed to economic trends to a shocking degree, for an illicit market.

Of course, I wasn't making that direct comparison in the first place; remember Opportunity Costs and Monetary Costs?
You actually touch upon those twice in your reply, even if you didn't realize it.
In non-economic terms: You either pay with your time doing busywork, or you pay with your money to bypass it.

Now, you can argue all day what you think is a reasonable amount to pay for EITHER, but know that Opportunity Costs have more direct implications for game design than Monetary Costs, and that's why I question those models that rely heavily on wasting the players' time.

Simply put, the necessity for grind devalues the experience for the player if it's making them want to do other things.
Hence, my original post in this thread.

All botting does, in this case, is automate the process to lower the Opportunity Cost...And in doing so, bypasses the Monetary Cost (which irks Blizzard for obvious reasons).

If what I'm saying sounds weird, it's really just basic economics and a bit of Game Theory; namely, the behavioral elements. (the original game theory...not that show with the really annoying host the Escapist partnered with)

There's a LOT of behavioral elements in the video game world from the business-side all the way down to game mechanic design; primarily because Video Gaming, more than any other creative medium, is driven by behavioral conditioning thanks to its requirement of audience interaction.

Games don't play themselves, and designers have to shape the players' behavior in some way in order for them to have an experience. It's for that very reason I take jabs at grind, because I think the medium can do better, but that's just my personal philosophy, and not hard fact.

@Atmos Duality (not going to quote that huge post :p)

I can see what you're saying, but having played both Hearthstone and WoW, the "grind" in each game feels very different to me.

There's several ways in which Hearthstone's "grind" feels less awful than that of MMOs to me:

*As a card game, Hearthstone has a lot of depth, to the point that even people who make a living out of streaming and competing in Hearthstone tournaments (Hearthstone "pros") make mistakes in a game more often than not. Improving your deck-building skills and your in-game decision making are two of the three avenues for growth in the game, with the last one being getting more cards. As such, "grinding" Hearthstone games will make you improve in ways that botting never will.

*Hearthstone is fairly fun to play. I've been there and done that, but doing Daily Quests or just farming mobs in WoW is NOT fun (though I did enjoy raiding). You do WoW Daily Quests for money, for advancement; you're compelled to do them so your bars can fill up, so you get a sense for virtual progression. The equivalent for WoW's Daily Quests in Hearthstone are... quests, which you get one of every day and they reward you with gold upon completion (Blizzard's not big on originality, I know). But Hearthstone's take less time to do, involve more entertaining gameplay, and encourage you to try different classes and playstyles, which is a good thing all in all. The limit here is one of pacing- you need to wait for the next day until you get a new quest.

*Besides quests, there is an actual grind where you gain a small amount of gold for every 3 PvP games you win, up to a limit for 30 wins in a day. Assuming a 50% winrate, that's 60 games in a day; that's a ton of games, and most definitely qualifies as a grind (this is what Botting in Hearthstone is all about, by the way). I'm not too sure why these rewards are even here, to be honest, because it really doesn't promote fun gameplay.

So yeah, without the grind I talked about in the last point, botting would never have been a thing in Hearthstone, I'm fairly certain- and this is a kind of grinding which human beings, overwhelmingly, do not engage in. If you're playing that many Hearthstone games, it's because you want to reach Legend rank or something, not for the highly time-inefficient gold payout.

So this is what they're doing with their time instead of an android port.

 

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