Specifically, Blizzard’s post on the WoW Classic forums last night says it’s banned 74,000 WoW accounts it “found to be in violation of [its] End-User License Agreement 28” – most of them for “using gameplay automation tools, typically to farm resources or kill enemies much more efficiently than legitimate players can.” In other words, botters.
“Like you, we play World of Warcraft. We understand what it’s like to spot a player in-game who appears to be botting. We always want to eliminate the botting player, if it can be proved that they are indeed cheating. And that raises a big difficulty in addressing this issue – we have to prove to ourselves that the accused player is not a person who’s actually controlling a character with their hands on a keyboard. We use powerful systems to determine if the suspected player is using an identifiable cheat, and our heuristics (which we do not outline publicly) are constantly improving and evolving. But when we examine a suspect and these measurements aren’t out of line, we have to manually gather evidence against the accused player, which can be very time consuming and complex. It’s worthwhile though, because we never want to take action against a legitimate player.”
Ultimately, Blizzard seems to be pinning the blame for these kinds of activities on RMT, though of course those services exist only because players buy from them, and people buy from them for many reasons often rooted in the game’s design itself, so it’s a bit more complicated that it seems on the surface. “Real money trading drives third parties to put an enormous amount of effort into circumventing our detection systems,” the studio says. “As much as this is a very high priority for us, it is the only priority for profit-driven botting organizations. The bans we issue are simply a cost of doing business for them.”