The developers of the massively popular competitive shooter Overwatch, Blizzard Entertainment, have recently announced a change in the way they’ll be handling bad behavior from its player base from now on.
As reported by The Rolling Stone, Blizzard has released a statement claiming they will be looking into more thoroughly punishing offending members of the community (numbering around 30 million players currently). Some examples of behavior they deem unacceptable includes griefing, spam abusive chat or harassment, and match inactivity. Punishment ranges between silencing, suspending, or banning players depending on the severity and frequency of their offenses.
Bad behavior from people online is nothing new, especially in gaming communities. Almost since its inception, the increased anonymity and freedom available to people by the internet has brought out the worst in certain stripes of the population who use their relative power to bully and harass others for entertainment. Certain groups and communities do their best to contain and prevent this sort of behavior with mixed results, while others accept or even encourage it.
Blizzard has typically tried their best to punish the worst members of its communities in its various properties, Overwatch being no different as exemplified in this announcement. “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.”
In addition, Blizzard claims that they will soon be implementing the reporting tools currently only available on the PC version to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 ports of the game. “We are actively working on the feature and have many elements of undergoing internal testing right now.”
Players will have to wait until these changes are fully implemented to test their effectiveness. With any luck, though, they should provide a safe and reliable way for the community to police itself, making the game a safer and more fun experience for everyone.