Any online game can see its share of less-than-helpful players, but the mechanics of a game like Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm can see players take things pretty seriously. Most of the time this means they might get a little irritated if a player is doing badly, others can take things too far.
Games like Dota 2 and League of Legends have already spent a lot of time combatting what are known as “toxic” players, and now that Heroes of the Storm is increasing in popularity, it’s time that Blizzard took the same steps.
The company announced in a blog post today that it has revamped the categories that can be reported as abusive, as listed below.
- Insults, cruelty, or ongoing harassment directed at one or more players
- Hate speech
- Real life threats
- Player intentionally and repeatedly gets their hero killed in order to anger allies or feed XP to the enemy team
- Player is idle or inactive for an extended period of time during a game
- Player is present, but has given up or refuses to take part in the game
- Suspicious behavior which indicates the player may be using third-party software or hack programs to gain an advantage during a game
- Character names or BattleTags that are offensive, insulting, bypass the mature language filter, or are otherwise considered objectionable
- Excessively communicating the same phrase, similar phrases, or pure nonsense
- Blatant or repeated advertising for third-party websites
Players familiar with the game might have noticed that the former Harassment category is gone, with Abusive Chat taking its place. Along with this, Blizzard has introduced a new option to deal with players engaging in this type of behavior: the Silence Penalty.
Any player who is reported multiple times under either the Spam or Abusive Chat categories will automatically be silenced. The time period starts at 24 hours, then doubles for each penalty received after the first, with no maximum. Silenced players can still communicate with friends, join parties, and use in-game pings for limited communication with their team, but they’re unable to engage in any form of chat with strangers outside of Party Chat.
A number of characters in Heroes of the Storm have unique mechanics, and Blizzard is aware of this, saying that this will be kept in mind when reports are reviewed. The company will also punish players who are found dishing out “trivial or false” reports.