Blizzard has reassured its community that it will be clamping down on those who are consistently abusing other players or demonstrating bad behaviour in Overwatch.
A user post on the official forums described the community as "toxic" and the reporting system "a failure". Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan responded to this with more details on what the developer plans to do.
In the short term, the Overwatch team plans to re-evaluate which punishments are assigned to various offences, and as "in the process of converting silences over to suspensions", according to Kaplan. Suspensions will also be extended as the original user post observed that a one-week ban isn't particularly threatening to some players.
Blizzard plans to eventually phase out silences and rely solely on suspensions and bans, although users causing violations with their BattleTag name will be forced to change.
Repeated offenders within the Competitive Play mode will face permanent bans. Currently bans are only in force for the rest of the current season, but if Blizzard bans the user for more than a certain number of seasons, they will not be allowed to play this mode ever again.
Kaplan promised Blizzard will be "way more aggressive" during the upcoming sixth season of Competitive Play.
An email system will also be introduced that informs players if someone they reported has been punished, as well as an in-game notification system that delivers similar information. While the emails won't offer full details, the idea is to encourage more users to report abusive behaviour by showing that it is acted upon.
Kaplan finished by calling on Overwatch players to help identify the most toxic members of the community, and hopes that one day effort spent on dealing with them can be put to better use.
"In the long term, we really want to work on systems that encourage positive behavior and reward good players. It really bums us out to spend so much time punishing people for being bad sports. We like making cool, fun game systems -- that's what we do for a living. But because people seem to lack self-control or because people like to abuse anonymity and free speech we're put in a position of spending a tremendous amount of our time and resources policing 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.
"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. We're working hard to make changes. I hope you all do too."
A video update about plans for a stronger regulation system has already been filmed and will go live soon, although Kaplan was not sure when.