Overwatch reporting system improved with harsher penalties and notifications
Overwatch will be implementing new reporting features, both now and in the upcoming future. In the post that Lylirra made on the forums, she spoke about Blizzard’s core value about playing nice and fair, while emphasizing that the report feature is one of the most important tools for supporting this. However, they also recognize that more needs to be done in order to support this, and make Overwatch a game players feel comfortable in.
It’s a two-part process. The first part, which is effective immediately, is that verified reports of bad behavior will see harsher penalties applied. This means that players who have been proven to engage in abusive chat, harassment, in-game spam, griefing, and intentional AFKs during matches will find silences, suspensions, and even bans on their account, depending on the severity or frequency of the infraction.
The second part includes changes Blizzard wants to add over the next several months. Based on feedback provided by players, seasonal bans will be scaled, players will receive a notification if someone they reported is penalized. Players who attempt to abuse the reporting tool will also find themselves subject to penalties. Some players immediately jumped to possible abuse of the reporting system, such as reporting players for playing the “wrong” heroes or comp. Overwatch clarified that these harsher penalties would be for actual, verified bad behavior like the ones listed, rather than automated.
"verified reports of bad behavior". Keyword: Verified.
— Overwatch (@PlayOverwatch) July 26, 2017
With a game the size of Overwatch, bad behavior is bound to happen, but it seemed to be particularly prevalent with its popularity. The harsher penalties will be welcome, as well as the improvements planned. One popular complaint is that reports never seem to go anywhere, which leads players to believe that reporting is futile. When they make a report, they don’t see any action taken. Whether it slipped through the cracks on Blizzard’s end or if they just never ran into that player again, they don’t actually see a result so it feels like there wasn’t one.
By adding in a system to notify, players will know that their reports actually had an effect and that it wasn’t all in vain. Of course, there are always trolls or people with a vendetta, so it’s nice to see that players also won’t have to worry about a flurry of false reports from someone particularly vindictive.
Rampant abuse and bad behavior can drive away players, resulting in a much less enjoyable game for everyone. The console version of the game has actually been bereft of any reporting options at all, which Blizzard hopes to rectify soon. They plan to implement a similar system to the one available on PC, along with any improvements that are planned. The console reporting system is currently being tested internally.
“Play nice; play fair” is one of Blizzard’s core values. It’s something we took to heart in creating Overwatch and remains a priority as we continue to support the game and our players. This not only applies to the new content we develop and the balance changes we make, but also to the features we add or improve upon over time.
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.
We also remain committed to bringing a reporting system to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. As console players ourselves, we know it’s been frustrating to not have this functionality on your platform. 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.
Thank you for your vigilance, passion, and commitment to building a welcoming and enjoyable community and helping us make Overwatch the best game it can be.
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