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Hearthstone bot maker shuts down in response to massive bans

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Crawlerbots, the team behind botting tool HearthCrawler and WarCrawler, shut down as a result of recent bans made by Blizzard, according to an announcement on the service's website.

Botting, or using third-party programs to play any aspect of a game, violates Blizzard's terms of service. In its statement, Crawlerbots — which offered bots for Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and World of Warcraft — said that the announcement would be its last.

"The recent ban wave in Hearthstone hit a lot of users," the statement reads. "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 [sic] anymore would come."

Hearthstone, Blizzard's acclaimed free-to-play card game, launched earlier this year. The game has since racked up over 20 million users and is estimated to have pulled in more than $114 million in revenueBlizzard reminded the community in August that it takes fair play "very seriously" and would punish violators accordingly. Making good on those promises, Blizzard banned "several thousand" players last week. According to the developer, those bans will last until 2015.

Although those previous Hearthstone bans related to botting have been temporary, the developer made it clear that such leniency would not be repeated.

"From this point on, accounts found to be cheating will be permanently closed without warning," Blizzard said.