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Blizzard promises ‘increased penalties’ for bad behavior in Overwatch

Developer says it’s cracking down on harassment, AFKers and griefing

Reinhardt from Overwatch carrying his hammer Blizzard

Blizzard says it’s increasing its efforts to curb bad behavior from Overwatch players, promising to issue “increased penalties to players in response to verified reports” of harassment, spam, griefing, match inactivity and more.

On the official Overwatch forum, Blizzard community manager “Lylirra” wrote about Blizzard’s increased efforts to clamp down on toxicity, AFKers and unsportsmanlike play, which goes into effect “immediately.”

We believe that our in-game reporting and player penalty system is one of our most important features, and it’s something we want to invest in significantly over the next year. To this end, effective immediately, we will be issuing increased penalties to players in response to verified reports of bad behavior. In Overwatch, that means anything from abusive chat, harassment, in-game spam, match inactivity (being intentionally AFK), and griefing. If you see someone engaging in any of these types of behaviors, report them. Players in violation will be silenced, suspended, or even banned from the game as a result.

We know that making Overwatch a truly welcoming environment is an ongoing process, and this is only the first step. Over the next several months, we have plans to make additional improvements based on your feedback, including scaling competitive season bans, a notification system that will alert you when a player you’ve reported is actioned, and functionality that will allow us to more aggressively penalize players who attempt to abuse the in-game reporting tool.

While player reporting is currently PC-only, Blizzard reiterated its plans to bring a similar system to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Overwatch.

“As console players ourselves, we know it’s been frustrating to not have this functionality on your platform,” the company said. “We are actively working on the feature and have many elements of undergoing internal testing right now. Our goal is to implement similar reporting options as are currently available on PC, and any improvements made to PC between now and when it’s available.”