Improvements to Abusive Chat Penalties

In an effort to combat the game’s toxicity, Blizzard’s going to greatly reduce the number of silence penalties applied to repeat offenders’ accounts and issue ban suspensions instead.

  • Players who return to abusive behavior after an initial silence will begin receiving account suspensions that will quickly ramp-up in duration and prevent them from playing the game.
  • Players incapable of improving their behavior will be permanently suspended from the game.
  • Blizzard has begun implementing new machine learning technology for validating the accuracy of player reports.

Blizzard LogoBlizzard (Source)

In the next few days, we’ll be rolling out improvements to our reporting system for abusive chat. Specifically, we’re changing the ways we penalize repeat offenders by increasing the severity of the actions we take against their accounts.

In the current system, players who are regularly reported for abusive chat incur a silence penalty, which restricts them from chatting in-game and prevents them from playing Hero League for the penalty’s duration. Subsequent offenses result in increasingly longer silence penalty durations. In some cases, however, silence penalties alone aren’t enough for repeat offenders to see the error in their ways and correct their behavior.

As a result, we’re going to greatly reduce the number of silence penalties we apply to repeat offenders’ accounts. Instead, a player who returns to abusive behavior after their initial silences expire will begin incurring account suspensions. These suspensions will quickly ramp-up in duration and prevent them from playing Heroes of the Storm entirely. Players who prove they are incapable of—or unwilling to—improve their behavior after being warned, silenced, and suspended enough times will be permanently banned from the game.

We’re also aware that some players are concerned that they may be penalized after being falsely reported for abusive chat or abusive voice. This is not the case. Here’s how we handle false reports in these instances:

  • Abusive chat or spam reports are ignored if they are issued against a player who hasn’t participated in in-game chat or public chat channels.
  • Abusive voice reports are ignored if they are issued against a player who hasn’t participated in voice chat.
  • Abusive chat and abusive voice reports issued by players on an enemy team are also ignored.

Furthermore, we have already begun implementing machine learning technology that further enhances our ability to validate and empower accurate player reports. This has proven very successful so far, and we plan to continue leveling-up and expanding our report validation processes going forward

As always, we’d like to thank those of you who continue to use the appropriate in-game reporting options to bring negative behavior to our attention. Your reports are important in helping us take action against offending players and those actions are about to have even more impact than they did before.

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