In a post that practically vibrates with 'this is why we can't have nice things' energy, the studio announced (opens in new tab) that it has banned 120,000 "malicious accounts" in WoW Classic and is making it harder to create Death Knight characters. The change will kick in next week.
"As of next week’s regional maintenance," said Blizzard, "we will be returning the original Death Knight character creation restrictions to Wrath of the Lich King Classic". That means you'll be unable to make one unless you already have a level 55 character on your account, a restriction that was part of the original release of Wrath of the Lich King back in 2008, but which Blizzard lifted for the expansion's WoW Classic release (opens in new tab) last year, letting anyone jump right in at level 55 and skip a huge chunk of grinding.
Naturally, that made the class a huge magnet for botters, who were keen to glean any advantage they could get. The infestation proved unnavigable for many players, who reported swarms with as many as 35 Death Knight bots (opens in new tab) roaming the game, targeting players, and generally ensuring pretty much no one had any fun at all.
Well, no more. Although Blizzard "felt it was very important [...] to give anyone who wanted to hop into this iconic expansion the ability to do so with as few barriers as possible," allowing the "unrestricted creation of Death Knights on brand new accounts" has proven to be a "tempting vector for malicious actors to use to get into the game and start exploiting very quickly". With the hubbub of the initial launch period over, Blizzard says its priorities have changed: It's time to crack down on the exploiters.
Players aren't necessarily convinced. For many, it's too little, too late, with some responders to Blizzard's post remarking that all the change means is that botters will now buy a character boost (opens in new tab) before rolling their Death Knights. The top-voted comment—from Firestar3689 (opens in new tab)—in the r/ClassicWoW thread announcing the change simply says "Now botters have to buy a subscription AND a character boost! Huge profits for Blizzard". Another, from user TippyTap (opens in new tab) on the Blizzard forums, says botters have been "ruining a large portion of the game for months now," asking why it took Blizzard "so long to do something".
So Blizzard has some goodwill to win back. Still, some players are inclined to optimism. One Blizzard forum user named Holyseizure (opens in new tab) called it "a direct nerf to botters" and "a good decision". Another, the evocatively named Septicflesh (opens in new tab), simply said "Thank you Blizzard bae". But the studio will probably need to make an even bigger dent in the botter population before other players come round to that way of thinking.