Blizzard has equipped the ban-hammer of doom and is smiting players for bot usage in Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, blacklisting thousands of players until 2015.

All you rogues out there who think they're so sneaky with botting in Hearthstone should know that Blizzard is taking any form of automated gameplay seriously. Blizzard has already banned several thousand Hearthstone accounts caught using third-party programs that automate gameplay, which are known as bots. These Battle.net accounts will be banned until 2015. Mind you, your Battle.net account usually has your Hearthstone, StarCraft II, World of Warcraft and Diablo III accounts all rolled into one, so losing one could potentially mean losing them all when your account gets tossed into the Negative Zone.

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

We expect that Blizzard will formally announce the first big expansion for Hearthstone at Blizzcon 2014, which starts on Nov. 7.

From botting to fighting among friends: