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Blizzard Entertainment's Overwatch is hugely popular and has garnered quite a community. However, there are some rotten apples in the bunch that Blizzard feels need to be weeded out, so its doing some late summer cleaning in the form of promising to crackdown on the bad behavior exhibited within the team-based first-person shooter.
Over on the official Battle.net forums, community manager Lylirra has a detailed post about how crackdowns will be more imminent in Overwatch when players violate the rules, including sending abusive comments through chat, engaging in harassment, utilizing in-game spam, or purposefully going AFK or not helping teammates by being inactive in order to help them lose, or griefing. Lylirra writes...
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.
Quite naturally, there are many people who are on board with this more strict and enforced crackdown on bad behavior in the AAA game, but some others have raised the typical rebuttal about being banned from a $60 game that's main meat and potatoes is the online mode. Does it not render your purchase useless?
This has been a topic that has always popped up in regards to online-only games, or games where the majority of the content and gameplay is situated within the multiplayer component. A similar issue recently arose in Gun Media and Illfonic's Friday The 13th: The Game, where some users complained about how quickly permanent bans were handed out for a game where it only has a multiplayer component.
Some argue that players who behave badly deserve the ban and that increased restrictions on that behavior only helps the Overwatch community.
Blizzard, however, isn't going for an all-or-nothing approach. In fact, in the post, Lylirra explains that the developers will be scaling and addressing the crackdowns based on feedback, including things like competitive season bans, so this way a player isn't permanently banned from the game forever. It's like being in digital jail for a term and then being allowed to come back after learning a lesson or two about online decorum in multiplayer games.
Also, if you're worried about being wrongfully reported, Blizzard will also be cracking down and penalizing players who attempt to abuse the in-game reporting tool.
For now these enforcement rules are being applied to the PC version of the game, but Blizzard will be looking into expanding the security and reporting system to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Overwatch as well. It's mentioned that the team is currently undergoing internal testing for the reporting features for the home consoles. The new enforcement and reporting options for the PC version of Overwatch are currently available right now, and further improvements will be made to enhance the efficiency of the system.