Everyone hates a party pooper. That’s why, to those that don’t play World of Warcraft, it may come as a surprise that one of the world’s most famous game developer, Blizzard Entertainment, has just now announced that in its upcoming pre-expansion patch for Legion, it’s implementing a system to punish those that use abusive language in chats. According to a blog post, players who are reported multiple times under the Spam or Abusive Chat categories will be investigated, and if it turns out positive the player will receive an “account-wide silence penalty.” And while that penalty is great for those who are experiencing the nasty side of the game’s community it doesn’t completely disallow chatting with other people, and Blizzard has published a detailed list of what a silenced player can expect.
Its main targets appear to be the general chats. Players who have been silenced will be unable to join instant chat (for raids, party, and battlegrounds) as well as automatically joined global channels like General or Trade. They won’t be able to host in-game marriages or birthday parties either, at least not via the game’s built-in calendar, since they’re unable to create events or send invites. In-game mail will also be out of reach, and invitations to a party of War Game are shut off too. That’s a lot of limitations on interaction with other players, and it doesn’t stop there. Should a silenced player want to duel someone they’ll have to wait for it to come from somebody else. Finally, they’ll be barred from updating premade Group Listings or creating a new list for a premade Group.
Still, there are a few options left for communication. Silenced players can still whisper to friends, and reply to their whispers, on both WoW and Battle.net. A party or raid with invited players will also be open for a chat, and they can still create their own parties or raids. Blizzard has also decided that as long as a moderator is present, the player will be able to talk on global channels. They can also share quests and sign up for pre-made groups.
A player that has been silenced will stay that way for 24 hours, should they repeat their behavior that duration will double. This happens indefinitely, meaning the next successful slew of reports get you banned for 48 hours, then 96 hours on a third occurrence, and so on. Blizzard encourages players to create a non-volatile community by making proper use of the in-game report tool.
Players are displaying differing opinions on the game’s official forums. Some are voicing concerns that the game uses an automated system despite the statement there will be a prior investigation, but a community manager was quick to point out it will be investigating the reported cases. For now it’s uncertain what effects the penalty system will have on reporting players in the game, but one could argue that, for a game that has been out for almost 12 years, something like this should have been implemented a long time ago.
The next expansion, World of Warcraft: Legion, will hit the shelves on August 30.