Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
Hearthstone players have been banned for cheating after using bots to auto-play games for them Blizzard

Game developer and publisher Blizzard has banned several thousand accounts for the online strategy card game, Hearthstone, after it found they were using bots to auto-play the game.

Playing with bots, or 'botting' as it is known in the cyberverse, means a player makes use of specialist software to play games on their behalf, giving them an unfair advantage over others.

According to Eurogamer, Hearthstone players were using bots to earn gold and buy new card packs in the game. Some players had even managed to achieve the game's 'Legendary' rank, enabling them to obtain special bonuses.

In a blog post on Battle.net, an online gaming hub run by Blizzard, the game development company said: "We've recently banned several thousand Hearthstone accounts that were associated with the use of third-party programs that automate gameplay, otherwise known as 'bots' or 'botting.' These accounts will be banned until 2015."

Blizzard then went onto emphasize the point that "fair play is at the core of the Hearthstone experience, and cheating and botting will not be tolerated."

However, other players have been left angry at such a lenient decision, with many of them calling for the cheaters to be banned permanently.

"If botting won't be tolerated why are they only being banned for 2 months?" commented one.

"Banned for 8 weeks. What a joke," said another.

Many players are worried that the punishment is no more than a slap on the wrist and the cheaters will just come straight back and pick up where they left off.

"Not enough. Should have been permanent bans, across all Blizzard games. Any account even associated to the offender via Credit Card/Email should also be wiped.

"This just shows blizzard are weak. The botters will take their little vacation and come back in 3 months to revel in their ill-gotten gains."

However, it looks like these gamers will have nothing to worry about as Blizzard has stated that it will be keeping a close eye out for cheaters in the future and employing a zero-tolerance policy.

"We're committed to creating a fun and rewarding environment for our players, and we will continue to closely monitor activities within Hearthstone and take appropriate action against cheating in any form, as outlined in our Terms of Use. From this point on, accounts found to be cheating will be permanently closed without warning."