Griefers, trolls, toxic players of Overwatch beware, as Blizzard is cracking down on bad behavior in its popular multiplayer shooter. It’s promised to invest “significantly,” in its in-game reporting and penalty system and is looking to issue increased punishments to those caught behaving poorly.
One of the biggest challenges faced by any online gaming company is what to do with problematic players. While the majority of players are nice, well-meaning people just looking to game for fun, there are always a trenchcoat-wearing few who derive joy from ruining others. Coming down on this group too harshly though, risks collateral damage, so finding the balance is difficult.
In the case of Overwatch, Blizzard is erring on the side of caution and will be cracking down harder on those it believes are detrimental to the gaming experience. It’s specifically looking to target those who take part in abusive chat, harassment of other players, spam during the game, go AFK intentionally and often, or simply grief their own or the opposing team.
Anyone found to be taking part in such negative activities will first be silenced, followed by suspensions and, for the most egregious offenders, outright bans will be implemented.
These more rounded punishments are just the first step in Blizzard’s attempt to clear up the game. In the coming months, it plans to implement new features based on player feedback. These include scaling competitive season bans, a new notification system that will alert players when their report has been actioned, as well as analytics to look at abuses of the report system.
Blizzard’s announcement also detailed a new reporting system that was in the works for console players, stating that it and several other anti-griefing tools were currently undergoing internal testing at the publishing giant. Essentially, it’s looking to build parity with the console system with what is currently in place on the PC, making sure that no matter where you game, there’s a way to stop the trolls from taking over.
Overwatch isn’t the only game to have instituted a crackdown on negative gamers as of late. Valve recently banned as many as 40,000 people from Steam, following post-Summer-Sale cheating.