Blizzard is taking bigger steps to combat World of Warcraft Classic’s botting problem, including banning nearly 120,000 accounts and bringing back restrictions around who can create and play as the game’s popular Death Knight class.
In a post on the Wrath of the Lich King Classic forums, Blizzard announced it had banned close to 120,000 “malicious accounts” from the game’s Wrath Classic and Classic Era servers. Blizzard notes that the most recent ban is in addition to its usual ban waves, which it said often includes “tens of thousands of accounts per week.”
This time, however, Blizzard is going one step further. Back when Wrath of the Lich King originally launched in 2008, players needed to already have a level-55 character on the same server where they wanted to create a Death Knight in order to do so. However, that wasn’t the case for Wrath Classic’s launch, where Blizzard allowed every account to create a single Death Knight character with no restrictions. That was due to Blizzard wanting to allow players to play with their friends and jump right into Wrath Classic without the need to spend dozens of hours leveling through the content from the base version of WoW.
But, as Garrosh Hellscream once said, “times change.” Blizzard is now bringing back the original restrictions around Death Knights alongside regional maintenance on March 21 in order to fight bad actors.
“Allowing every account access to Death Knights–even if they did not meet the historic requirements–was important,” Blizzard writes. “However, now that the initial launch period has passed, we no longer wish to allow the unrestricted creation of Death Knights on brand-new accounts. It’s a tempting vector for malicious actors to use to get into the game and start exploiting very quickly.”
The community’s reaction to the news has been a mixed bag. On one hand, players had been pointing out the fact that the ability for new accounts without an existing level-55 character to create Death Knights would be abused by botters and “malicious accounts” ever since Blizzard first announced the move. The issue only seems to have gotten worse over time, with multiple WoW content creators like MetaGoblin and WillIE documenting the issue over the past few months.
Players on the game’s subreddit note that banning the easy creation of Death Knights will likely just push botters toward using the game’s paid character boost service, a service that has long been another point of contention within the WoW Classic community. In general, it seems like players are happy Blizzard is taking action, but doubt the return of restrictions around Death Knights will bring any lasting change. Blizzard itself admits in the post announcing the Death Knight restrictions that the battle against botting is a bit of a never-ending struggle, writing that “as long as there is a demand for gold and other services that players are willing to pay real money for, these malicious actors will keep coming back.”
Blizzard has largely been quiet on its plans for WoW Classic in 2023, but a few lines of code on the public test realm for WoW’s current Dragonflight expansion does give some evidence that news on what’s next, perhaps related to official “hardcore” servers, could be coming soon.
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