World of Warcraft and Hearthstone artwork for Thrall

[Update]: Blizzard has now adopted a much, much harsher stance towards multiboxing.

For as long as I've been playing World of Warcraft, Blizzard has followed one steadfast rule when it comes to gameplay modification: one click equals one action. The reason, as you might imagine, is to prevent automation and actually make people play the game in a way that's both fun and fair for everyone involved.

However, despite this being a long-standing rule, Blizzard has always turned a blind eye towards multiboxing - the process of mirroring keystrokes from one account to another in order to control an entire army of characters that can all move and act in perfect unison. That is, until today.

"We’ve examined the use of third-party input broadcasting software, which allows a single keystroke or action to be automatically mirrored to multiple game clients, and we've seen an increasingly negative impact to the game as this software is used to support botting and automated gameplay," explains the brief update. "The use of input broadcasting software that mirrors keystrokes to multiple WoW game clients will soon be considered an actionable offense. We believe this policy is in the best interests of the game and the community."

"We will soon begin issuing warnings to all players who are detected using input broadcasting software to mirror commands to multiple accounts at the same time (often used for multi-boxing). With these warnings, we intend to notify players that they should not use this software while playing World of Warcraft. Soon thereafter, the warnings will escalate to account actions, which can include suspension and, if necessary, permanent closure of the player's World of Warcraft account(s)."

It's going to take a little while for these changes to filter through, but I'm quite curious to see what will happen to the in-game economy afterwards. I'm guessing the price of raw materials will go up considering that there isn't a whole army of players collecting each and every herb, though on the positive side, the gold cost of the WoW Token might go down now that the influx of raw gold from grinding won't be as high.

Whatever the answer may be, we'll still have to wait a fair few months in order to find out. Until then, you can read a little bit more about the multiboxing ban over at the WoW forums.