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'Overwatch' bug is causing innocent players to be banned, fix is on the way

Blizzard’s Overwatch has a well-publicized toxicity problem on PC, and the developer recently stepped up its enforcement efforts in order to prevent harassment and abuse. However, it appears that some players are being banned from competitive play in the game by mistake.

Users took to Blizzard’s forums to bring a bug to the attention of the development team, which is causing players with no history of problematic behavior to be permanently banned from competitive play. The bug isn’t limited to one platform, as both Xbox One and PC players made mention of it.

Game director Jeff Kaplan responded to players’ concerns, saying that Blizzard had already identified the bug and that it is “a high priority” for the studio.

“In the meantime, we’ll be removing the seasonal ban for all players affected by this bug as well as restoring their skill rating,” Kaplan added. “To date, this bug has impacted fewer than 200 accounts, but we’ll continue to monitor for additional occurrences and provide assistance until we can implement a permanent fix.”

The bug appears to be related to leaving very early or being kicked for inactivity — actions that generally make you lose out on in-game currency but don’t result in any other form of discipline.

Blizzard doesn’t currently have a timetable for when the bug will be fixed, however, so anyone hit by it in the future will likely have to reach out to customer support in order to reverse the ban.

A few weeks ago, Blizzard shared details on its efforts to combat actual toxicity in Overwatch, including adding a reporting feature to both console and PC versions of the game. At that time, more than 340,000 disciplinary actions had already been taken based on reports from players, and players repeatedly reported for offensive behavior were permanently banned from competitive play.

These bans were said to happen much more quickly than Blizzard’s previous bans, and this may have something to do with the system’s overzealous banning of innocent players.

In less serious news, a bug affecting the bounciness of the pre-match basketball has been fixed, so you can sink those three-pointers again.

Overwatch is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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