Overwatch gets serious about bad behavior yet again – for real this time, they swear

Even Mercy can’t save you from Blizzard’s wrath for being a cranky player.

The studio sat its playerbase down for a talk this week, saying that it was getting serious about bad behavior that is running rampant throughout Overwatch and stepping up the punishments for crossing the line.

“Effective immediately, we will be issuing increased penalties to players in response to verified reports of bad behavior,” the studio posted. “In Overwatch, that means anything from abusive chat, harassment, in-game spam, match inactivity (being intentionally AFK), and griefing.”

Blizzard encouraged players spotting such activities to make full use of the reporting tools. Those caught engaging in negative behavior will be silenced, suspended, or even banned. The studio said that a reporting system is on its way for the console editions as well.

It’s worth pointing out that Blizzard has been talking about cracking down on toxic behavior in Overwatch for a long time — here’s an article from over a year ago on just this topic, and a few more recently. As we’ve previously noted, up until now, the most visible and frustrating punishment for toxic behavior in Overwatch is actually inflicted on the victim of such behavior, as it’s the victim who’s forced to choose whether to stay in a match with a toxic player or take a ratings hit by quitting out.

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17 Comments on "Overwatch gets serious about bad behavior yet again – for real this time, they swear"

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ShivanSwordsman

I’m just a bit worried about how far this could reach. Anytime they announce lots of bans and certain behaviors, I wonder what exactly they mean. Will shit-talk get you banned? Will tea-bagging? Will general trolly/odd behaviors or singling out certain people in the game to target get you banned? I realize a lot of these are generally childish behaviors, but I figured if it’s nothing too abusive, it would slide. I also realize they don’t want a toxic environment slathered in trolls that are just dragging the entire game down.

Solaris
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Solaris

I’ve played OW faithfully since launch and seen very little trollish or extremely offensive behavior. Not sure if it’s the time I’m playing or what!

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birini

Blizzard’s community has been toxic for years in many of their games. It was too much trouble to deal with it years ago and now it’s entrenched. I hope they’re serious here but I strongly suspect it’s glorified lip service.

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Slaasher

How is it different from any other competitive game?
People are asshats. To say that they are in the minority is being naïve now I think.

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mcsleaz

Apparently you’ve never played any of Blizzards other online games. I Concur, the Blizzard community has been mega-toxic for about a Decade.

DeadlyAccurate
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DeadlyAccurate

Nah, I do believe the asshats are the minority. It’s just that they’re a loud, obnoxious minority, and they’re like black mold: they contaminate everything they touch.

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Wandering on youtube last week and found a livestream from a female gamer in Overwatch. There were several.

It was depressingly awful.

I wish them luck but that’s a hateful and trogloditic bunch they are fighting against.

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starbuck1771

The majority of the players are not a problem. There are some who are tools though. Was playing at 3 A.M. my time this morning or 10 hours 42 minutes ago your pick. Anyways had to report a tool spamming Send Dick Pics in global chat. I hope he gets a good spanking from Blizzard.

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J W

The statement by its nature is empty since the wide range of issues they say they will take care of require different approaches.

Someone AKing is a system issue. If your game can be cheesed for rewards via afk then that’s an issue with your reward system and an issue with your game no noticing afk and an issue where people woudl rather afk than play for the rewards. It’s three issues in one and the three issues have different solutions.

Something like harassment is dealing with a topic that is subjective and sometimes political.

While spam is likely easier to deal with since you can narrowly define it as repeated messages within X amount of time and you implement a system that mutes that player once they reach that threshold.

So, in the end, some of these things they probably can’t fix and others they should just fix rather than talk about fixing. And of some of the things they are talking about fixing because they realize it may be a bigger quagmire than changing or putting in some code.

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CthulhuDawg

I stopped playing because I got real tired of people telling me not to play McCree. Some Dude: “Don’t play McCree you don’t know how to play him!” Me: “I have 256 hours logged on McCree.” Some Dude: “You’re still going to play him wrong so now I’m going to afk til you change!!! REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!”

DeadlyAccurate
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DeadlyAccurate

Ctrl-Shift-C will turn off all text chat (including character voice lines). The “P” key will show the Social screen where you can turn off Team and Match chat. You have to do them at the start of every play session, but it lasts until you exit the game.

I would’ve stopped playing ages ago if not for that.

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CthulhuDawg

I’m aware of how to turn chat off but that defeats the purpose of competitive play lol.

DeadlyAccurate
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DeadlyAccurate

True. I tried competitive. The games are more exciting, but I’m not willing to let other people try to dictate how I play, so I still refused to leave chat on.

It just saddens me that someone felt the community was bad enough to give up on a game they obviously loved enough to put 250+ hours into a single character, and I wanted to offer a workaround.

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starbuck1771

Do what I do and just ignore them it is much easier. Even during closed Beta people were like don’t play Bastion when on the attacking team because he is only defensive. Words I enjoyed shoving down their throats.

DeadlyAccurate
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DeadlyAccurate

I used to get mocked for playing Junkrat on payload attack maps. As far as I’m concerned, every character can work on every map if the team knows how to play. I’ve been on teams without healers or tanks that have dominated and teams with theoretically perfect makeups that were steamrolled.

I do get annoyed when the Widowmaker won’t switch off when it’s obvious that a Widowmaker is useless for our team, but I’ll never ask them to switch off. It’s their game, too.

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CthulhuDawg

My secondary was Hanzo so I was damned either way.

DeadlyAccurate
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DeadlyAccurate

I report when I see toxic chat, but that also reminds me that I forgot to turn off chat. The “P” key is your friend!

I wonder if they’ll take action if you report a Mei who deliberately blocks her teammates in the spawn room.

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