At least 1.4 percent of World of Warcraft's roughly 7.1 million active accounts were banned for six months for the use of performance enhancing bots.
Bots are programs that are designed to automate tasks. In this case, that task was grinding through World of Warcraft.
A game master allegedly put the size of the ban in perspective during an in-game conversation. Check out the screen grab below, which was posted on Imgur and toured through gaming forums and news sites around the web:
A World of Warcraft community manager officially announced the massive ban in a post in the game's forums.
The ban comes and millions of World of Warcraft players have been leaving the ten-year-old game on their own. The Warlords of Draenor expansion prompted droves of players to return to the game and then they left.
That's the cyclical nature of the game in its current state, Ion Hazzikostas, lead game designer, said in an interview with Venture beat.
These days, "players aren't necessarily viewing World of Warcraft as a year-round lifestyle so much as a game that they love, where they're going to check in, see what we've got, play the content in a patch, go off, play some other great game that just came out, and then come back when we have something new to offer them," said Hazzikostas.
When there's a significant surge in active accounts, there isn't a surprise when those numbers come back down to earh, he stated. Blizzard's primary goal is to make a "fun and engaging experience" for player and it isn't as much about "chasing numbers" as it is about making the game enjoyable, said Hazzikostas.
"We have faith that the numbers will follow in the wake of that," he said.
The Warlords expansion also prompted a change in the way people play World of Warcraft now, Hazzikostas stated. With previous expansions, people either devoted hours at a time to playing the game or they didn't play at all, he said.
"Now, it's actually a pretty commonplace thing to say well, I have my morning cup of coffee, I'm getting ready, I have five minutes," said the game designer." I'm going to log into WoW, collect my mission rewards, send my guys out on new missions, and then log off."