As anyone who has played games online can tell you, toxicity is a constant problem across the internet. Due to the fact that bad behavior and overt toxicity are a predictable feature of online gamine, and due to a combination of constant pressure from a beleaguered fanbase, Blizzard have made a decision to do their best to stifle the negativity.
Blizzard has now decided to issue “increased penalties” to Overwatch players who partake in bad behaviour and it covers all the common problems found when playing online.
The increased penalties will mostly manifest as longer bans and quicker action being taken by Blizzard against bad players. The fact that players who report other abusive players will be told directly if Blizzard has taken action against said abusive player is also a good move.
The psychological impact of letting players know that not only will bad behavior be taken more seriously, but also that their reports are being listened to can’t really be overstated. This is hopefully a step in the right direction of breaking players of bad behavior.
The full statement from Blizzard reads:
We believe that our in-game reporting and player penalty system is one of our most important features, and it’s something we want to invest in significantly over the next year. To this end, effective immediately, we will be issuing increased penalties to players in response to verified reports of bad behavior. In Overwatch, that means anything from abusive chat, harassment, in-game spam, match inactivity (being intentionally AFK), and griefing. If you see someone engaging in any of these types of behaviors, report them. Players in violation will be silenced, suspended, or even banned from the game as a result.
We know that making Overwatch a truly welcoming environment is an ongoing process, and this is only the first step. 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 penalize players who attempt to abuse the in-game reporting tool.
We also remain committed to bringing a reporting system to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. As console players ourselves, we know it’s been frustrating to not have this functionality on your platform. We are actively working on the feature and have many elements of undergoing internal testing right now. Our goal is to implement similar reporting options as are currently available on PC, and any improvements made to PC between now and when it’s available.
Thank you for your vigilance, passion, and commitment to building a welcoming and enjoyable community and helping us make Overwatch the best game it can be.