Cheating, trolling, and other toxic behaviors remain rampant in Overwatch despite the existence of a penalty system on the game’s PC version. Now that a recent Overwatch update added the report system on consoles, Blizzard detailed its plans for policing the community, which includes plans to eventually solely have account suspensions and permanent bans for repeat offenders in Competitive Play.
In response to a forum post saying “no one fears the system” Blizzard has for policing toxic players, director Jeff Kaplan shared the team’s short term, medium term, and long term plans on the official Overwatch forum. Apparently, Blizzard aims to solely have suspensions and bans as punishments for cheating and toxic behavior while permanent bans will be given to repeat offenders.
This news comes a day after Kaplan responded to a complaint that reports aren't vetted properly by Blizzard, which led to Kaplan revealing that the complainant had a total of 2247 complaints filed against him. He also had three gameplay suspensions, seven silence penalties, and a manual GM suspension for "mass griefing."
At present, the Overwatch team is currently evaluating reported players and will convert simple mute penalties to suspensions. The team is also trying to increase the length of suspensions. Boosting, or the act of high skilled level players helping lower skilled players to boost the lower ranked player to a higher skill tier, has long plagued the game and the team is now evaluating reports to sanction Season 5 offenders and scrap their Season 5 rewards.
In the medium term, Blizzard hopes to penalize repeat offenders in Competitive play “from ever playing competitive again.” Kaplan said Blizzard is actively creating “a new series of punishments” to permanently remove “extreme offenders” from playing Competitive play in Overwatch. Apparently, the team is eyeing to reduce boosting offenders in Season 6.
The team’s medium term plans also include putting an in-game notification whenever Blizzard has actioned on one’s player report. At present, the team is sending email notifications for successful player reports.
Blizzard’s long term goal is to reward good players and encourage a positive behavior in the community. “We will do this as it is our responsibility but we'd like to spend more time rewarding good players rather than having to focus on poor sportsmanship and unacceptable bad behavior so much,” said Kaplan. “Like it or not, this is an "us, the OW community problem" and not just an "OW team problem". For better or for worse, we're in this together.”
Kaplan said more details regarding player reporting will be detailed in a developer update video coming soon.
What do you think about Blizzard's plans? Do you have any other suggestions for Overwatch's report system? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.