Blizzard is ramping up its efforts to crack down on Overwatch trolls who bully and harass other users.
Like any online game, Overwatch suffers from its fair share of abusive players; trolls who enjoy winding other gamers up for fun. A ban system already exists to deal with such players, but now Blizzard has decided to step up its war on Overwatch trolls in hopes of snuffing out the problem for good.
Blizzard says it will now be “issuing increased penalties” to players who have been verified as engaging in bad behaviour, effective immediately. This means if you’re reported for – and caught – doing any of the following, you’ll suffer much harsher penalties than before:
- Abusive chat
- In-game spam
- Match inactivity (being intentionally AFK)
“‘Play nice; play fair’ is one of Blizzard’s core value,” said a Blizzard Community Manager in a blog post. “It’s something we took to heart in creating Overwatch and remains a priority as we continue to support the game and our players. This not only applies to the new content we develop and the balance changes we make, but also to the features we add or improve upon over time.”
Blizzard says that anyone who is caught violating the rules in Overwatch will be silenced, suspended, or even permanently banned from the game as a result of their actions. Importantly, however, this news only relates to PC gamers, as there’s no existing reporting system for Overwatch on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One – although Blizzard says it “remains committed” to adding one, and is actively testing it internally right now.
The Activision-owned games studio also admits that more needs to be done in future, and that new changes will be introduced down the line to help further prevent trolls from ruining Overwatch for rule-abiding players.
“We know that making Overwatch a truly welcoming environment is an ongoing process, and this is only the first step,” Community Manager Lylirra explains.
The post continues: “Over the next several months, we have plans to make additional improvements based on your feedback, including scaling competitive season bans, a notification system that will alert you when a player you’ve reported is actioned, and functionality that will allow us to more aggressively penalise players who attempt to abuse the in-game reporting tool.”
Overwatch is Blizzard’s first shooter video game, and was released in May 2016 across Windows, PlayStation, and Xbox. The game caters to more than 30 million players and had generated revenues in excess of £1 billion by the end of Q1 2017.
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