It's funny how just the other day I was posting about how Blizzard can (and will) ban you for any reason or for no reason at all.
Coincidentally, I just learned that Blizzard banned possibly thousands of players for using Single-Player trainers and cheats.
Check out this very interesting post from Cheathappens.com.
Here's my favorite bit:
Still though, some question Blizzard’s motives. “I’m surprised they took such a blind step without doing some research into the games played,” gm0ney added. The user has been through a similar situation before, with another game -- where he suspects the company had monetary motivations for the bans, “A bunch of people’s accounts got hacked and used cheats, so we all got banned. The company already had our money so they didn’t care about our accounts.” Many people, including Cheat Happens’ Business Operations Manager and Content Editor Chris O’Rorke, believe that Blizzard is also thinking monetarily, and points to the company’s blockbuster MMO World of Warcraft as evidence. In WoW, which (unlike Starcraft 2) carries with it a monthly fee, users who are found to be cheating are only handed temporary bans as to not interrupt the monthly flow of cash coming from those users.It echoes a lot of concerns and supporting evidence that I've been posting about. Many of Blizzard's activities seem to be motivated by monetary purposes (especially when there are so many alternative methods available that are more customer centric rather than profit centric.)
Blizzard's official announcement, however, made it sound like the users were cheating on Battle.net or during live competition with other players:
Those banned players were also questioning the "legality" of Blizzard's actions. But, Blizzard's EULA and TOU documents are worded very carefully. Players don't actually own any of their games, they are merely "renting" the service from Blizzard who can terminate said service at any time, without notice, and for absolutely no reason at all.
Note: Even though I have a 100% clean account (I know a lot about bots and exploits for example, but I've never actually used them on my WoW), I'm pretty sure my account will get banned one day. It will probably be this Blizzard employee too.. he still regularly checks the blog, but has kept quiet with his comments since I called him out on it. He'll find SOME reason to ban me. =]
The timing of this SC2 ban-wave is definitely "coincidental" for other reasons as well. It happened on the first day (Oct 1) of the new Q4. It could have been done a few days earlier, so that it was reflected in Q3.. but no, Blizzard waited until the same Quarter as when Cataclysm would be released. This specific date was actually quite a strategic move and will pad Blizzard's profits (users need to purchase new licenses) for the same Quarter when Cataclysm is released. After all, they need to show a large profit to their investors during this time.
I had talked about this before, and how Blizzard can make these types of strategic actions to pad their numbers (especially during months when they are showing lower than expected profits.)
Here's the link where I noted an "interesting trend" about how new services, content or game releases, or bans will happen in quarters when sales are hurting.
If Blizzard's profits from WOTLK China Launch are lower than expected (Q3 statements not released yet) or Blizzard is really worried about about Cataclysm sales performance, we might see another WoW (or other BNET games) banwave during the next couple months. So if the banhammer drops before mid-December or you see new services (or paid pets for example) introduced - it means that Blizzard has some very strong doubts about Cataclysm. Blizzcon revenue (whose ticket prices keep increasing mind you) should help significantly improve their profits for Q4 however.
On another related note, the reason you haven't seen any in-game advertisements yet in Starcraft 2 is because Microsoft's Massive Inc. is closing their doors. This announcement was made to their clients (Blizzard being one of them) before the Blizzard SC2 banhammer dropped and before their public announcement was made. I'm thinking that's probably a real coincidence, but the timing (ie, Oct 1) of the banwave was definitely not a coincidence in my opinion. It fits in perfectly with what I've been writing about these past few months.