Blizzard announces that it is increasing punishments for Overwatch players who send abusive messages, harass others and more. The developer has also revealed further plans to improve the game’s reporting system.
Concerns about toxicity in Overwatch have been growing in recent months, with some fans saying that they have stopped playing the game because of the hostility and negativity of the game’s playerbase.
Overwatch is Finally Tackling Toxicity
In a post on the game’s official forum, community manager Lylirra wrote that “effective immediately, we will be issuing increased penalties to players in response to verified reports of bad behavior.” The community manager explained:
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.
Blizzard realizes that making Overwatch a “welcome environment” is an “ongoing process.” Over several months the company will also be looking at scaling competitive season bans, a way for Blizzard to “more aggressively” penalize players who abuse the in-game reporting tool, and a notification system which will inform players when a player that they reported has been punished.
Those who play Overwatch on PS4 and Xbox One are frustrated that they still do not have access to reporting features, but Blizzard says that it’s working on those too. There’s no confirmed release date for the console reporting system yet, but Lylirra said that “we are actively working on the feature and have many elements of undergoing internal testing right now,” also confirming that console players will get the PC reporting improvements too.
Better Overwatch reporting tools have been a long time coming and the early response from players seems to be that Blizzard is on the right track. Notifications about reported players being punished was one thing in particular that fans had called for as it currently feels like reports just get sent off into the void.
It’s too soon to say how successfully the new measures have been but even if players don’t see an immediate decline in toxicity, Blizzard’s commitment to improving the features more over the course of the year will hopefully make an impact. Watch this space.
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