Warcraft 3 cheaters banned

More than 50,000.

Blizzard Entertainment has reasserted its aggressive stance against cheating in its online games, permanently shutting down over 50,000 user accounts this week.

"We will continue to monitor Battle.net for cheating and take action as needed," Blizzard said in a statement. "As always, thank you for your continued support; with your help we have been able to keep Battle.net a fun and safe place to play Blizzard games."

The cull, which sees 53,928 Warcraft III accounts shut down, meaning that users will have to recreate their online identities and attempt to build up their ranking afresh, is the latest example of the company's close monitoring policy when it comes to online play through its proprietary service, Battle.net.

In addition to closing down specific accounts, Blizzard has also banned a total of 8,168 actual Warcraft III CD keys from ladder play for one month - meaning that players are effectively barred completely for that time unless they were to go out and buy another copy of the game - while 3,331 CD keys have been banned permanently.

"Repeat offenders risk having their CD keys disabled, which will result in the permanent removal of their copies of Warcraft III from Battle.net," the company warned.

Blizzard regularly bans Battle.net accounts, and has been targeting cheaters in its MMORPG hit World of Warcraft recently too.

Previous purges of its games have seen many thousands of Warcraft III and Starcraft accounts closed permanently.

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