TL;DR Avoid even downloading the program autohotkeys, it can be used as a script/hack software and so blizzard indiscriminately bans accounts it finds the program in the system of. Just having it on your system for mere minutes can get you banned, you don't even need to have run a script or set up a macro for it to be flagged.
So I was notified earlier that my main overwatch account had been 'closed' as a result of the offense: Unauthorized Cheat Programs ("hacks"). Whilst I've used things such as bhop macros and cheat engine (for borderlands 2 super fun time) before, I've never once used a genuinely malicious hacking program in any game I've ever played pvp or pve regardless. So seeing this email I was pretty shocked. I immediately opened bnet to see for myself and there it was, a ban right next to the overwatch play button. Confused I started googling for an explanation or a similar story and I came across this reddit post https://www.reddit.com/r/Overwatch/comments/5nb7si/heads_up_got_permabanned_after_using_autohotkey/
Sure enough I recognised the name and with another quick google search there it was, the site link in purple (meaning I had clicked it). Few may know that I have a youtube channel which was an way for me to show my progression through my time playing overwatch and my improvement at editing. I'd been looking for a program to be able to set up macros for my keyboard (an old corsair k70 with no software support) to be used when editing in premiere pro. Autohotkeys had been one of the programs that I'd seen being recommended and so I downloaded it. However upon installation and after a few mins looking around the program I couldn't understand how to use it and so gave up and uninstalled it. I don't recall overwatch even being open at the time. Fast forward a few days and it looks like I'd been banned for it.
I contacted blizzard support, made a web ticket and explained my situation. Sadly blizzard support were nothing short of useless. The gist of the reply I got was that there was nothing they could or even would do. They refused to explain or show their evidence and refused to even hold a conversation so I could understand the ban, marking the ticket as resolved without even giving me the chance to ask a question without creating an entirely new ticket. Basically all I got in my attempt at an appeal was 'Tough luck'. Whilst I understand they can't show evidence without risking hackers and the like taking advantage of that information, it costs them nothing to have a conversation and at least taking the time to explain.
Honestly I don't think its even hit me yet that my main account has been banned. I've played overwatch since open beta, I've probably spent more than £500 on the games cosmetics. I have 5 accounts,my main being level 1040. I reached GM for the fist time last year and Top500 at the end of last year. I even won my first tourney at the end of last year, truly one of the most incredible experiences I think I have ever, and will ever experience. And despite the poor state overwatch has been in for the past 9 months, the recent ptr changes had given me newfound enthusiasm and hope for the game. However the situation I now find myself in has left me feeling pretty defeated and honestly kinda empty.
I find it astonishing how as someone who has been playing the game for over 3 years, with probably over 2000 total levels and thousands of hours in the game, I had never even once heard of or been warned of the risk of using software such as autohotkey. As a computer science undergrad and just all around technology and computer enthusiast I've always been one to download and try all sorts of programs, it's both educational and just fun to learn and try these things. I never once thought it would cause something like this. The worst I ever expected to happen was to end up getting a virus or just general malware, yet being a careful and well versed user this has never once happened. Yet even I ended up in this situation.
So anyway, I feel like these things should be discussed and the wide community should be made aware. This is the main reason for this post. I'm fairly certain this is the end of my time in Overwatch, it's not the way I would have liked to have quit but it definitely feels like the time now. I just hope with this post I can help prevent others going through the same thing. If people could upvote and share this post I'm sure alot of people would appreciate it, none more than me.
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© Post "Autohotkeys and similar 3rd-party macro programs WARNING!!!" for game Overwatch.
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