Blizzard will be dropping hammers of justice on the gavel of cheating, as they've recently made it known that anyone caught cheating, exploiting or hacking Overwatch will be dealt with swiftly, quickly... and permanently.
IGN picked up word on Blizzard reinforcement of their cheating policy, which was posted by community manager Lylirra, over on their official forums. Lylirra explains that Blizzard isn't changing their policy on cheaters and hackers, just reinforcing it when the time comes for Overwatch to launch on home consoles and PC at the end of month, writing in the post...
If a player is found to be cheating—or using hacks, bots, or third-party software that provides any sort of unfair advantage—that player will be permanently banned from the game. Full stop. Not only does cheating undermine the spirit of fair play that all of our products are based on, but it works to diminish the fun and enjoyment of others. While we are unlikely to publicly acknowledge when accounts are closed as a result of cheating or using unauthorized programs, we have and will continue to monitor Overwatch for exploitative behavior, as well as take action as needed to preserve the integrity of game.
Actually, that is a bit of a change in policy on how they handle cheaters... usually they do publicly acknowledge when an account is closed for cheating by doing it it in a bundle pack of sorts. Every so often news will come out that Blizzard will wipe out bots, cheaters and hackers in what's known as a “ban wave”, something that's not uncommon to appear in the news for their other online titles such as Diablo III or World of Warcraft.
Then again, in the case of Overwatch they may not wait for the ban waves and may opt to act immediately against the perpetrators, booting them clean out of the game instead of waiting for the ban wave.
IGN notes that these permanent bans will be handed out to first-time offenders, which would also be a new rule. However, in the actual post by Lylirra, she doesn't actually mention that first-time offenders will be permanently banned on the spot. In fact, there's a more forgiving and accommodating tone in regards to potential false flags for cheaters and hackers.
While Overwatch has mostly been relegated to closed beta testing, and only recently had a very successful open beta with nearly 10 million users jumping into the action, there haven't been enough opportunities to test for false flags such as players with expert FPS skills who others might consider to be hackers.
In a lot of first-person shooters it's completely possible to come across players who are pure experts in the art of landing headshots and scoring impossible kills. Lylirra actually warns players that before reporting another player for hacking or cheating in Overwatch, that these players might just be very good at playing the game.
While the first half of Blizzard's post talks about their zero tolerance policy for dealing with botters, hackers and cheaters, the second half covers what to look for and how to report another player effectively. Even still, it's not entirely a bulletproof method; and that more than anything players should seek to “play nice and play fair”.
Overwatch is set for release on the Xbox One, PS4 and PC starting May 24.