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Hearthstone bot maker forced out of business

Blizzard takes further steps to clean up its games.

Following a recent ban wave that saw thousands of Hearthstone accounts temporarily closed for making use of botting software to automate gameplay, the creators of the most popular tool - Hearthcrawler - have shut up shop for good.

The company's Hearthstone and World of Warcraft programs are no longer available to purchase, and its website now consists of a short statement.

"Dear Community," it begins. "This is our last official announcement. The recent ban wave in Hearthstone hit a lot of users. After discussing this with Blizzard, it's clear we have to take off our services/products now. Please note that we're not going to be commenting further on this.

"Thank you all for being part of our community. We are very sad about this but you also know botting is against the rules and we all knew that the day when our products doesn't work anymore would come. With tears in our eyes we have to say bye.

"In love, the whole team of Crawlerbots."

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The software maker's situation is reminiscent of an earlier fight between Blizzard and MDY Industries, creator of the WOWGlider software that allowed World of Warcraft players to earn gold and level up characters without playing the game.

In that instance, the courts found in Blizzard's favour back in 2008, leaving MDY with a $6m compensation bill.

In related news, Blizzard also announced at the weekend that it had issued permanent account bans to a number of players found to have engaged in nefarious win-trading activities.

Those who reach the highest bracket of the game's ranking system often find themselves playing against each other. Some players were found to have traded account wins in order to rank higher within the game's Legend bracket, increasing their chances of gaining a seat at the lucrative World Championship, due to conclude at BlizzCon this coming weekend.