The famed developer has announced a series of changes to its reporting and suspension guidelines which will go into effect with the next patch. The changes are predominantly concerned with player harassment and could have long-term consequences for repeat offenders.
Players will have the option to report allies for taking intentional deaths, refusing to participate in the game, and cheating through the use of bots or scripts.
There’s also the tricky issue of false reports. Blizzard’s announcement emphasizes the fact that should players erroneously report a Murky for their repeated and expected deaths or take to task an Abathur for sitting far back front the front lines, the only person at risk will be the one making the false report. Repeat offenders will be investigated.
Players will now also have the option to report their allies for abusive chat or spam. If reported numerous times, offenders will be subject to a 24-hour silence that will prevent them from using allied chat during matches and drafts, chat channels, or whispers sent to non-friends.
Should offenders violate again, the length of their ban will double. There’s no limit to how far this doubling effect can reach. That means repeat offenders could see their bans soar into the range of hundreds of hours.
Violations won’t just be limited to vulgarities. Targeting a player will also be considered abuse, so those who repeatedly nag a player over the course of the game and blame them for the team’s poor performance will be putting themselves at risk of punishment.
Combined with the recent decision to restrict ranked play to one and two-person queues, this represents a newly renewed effort from Blizzard to improve the experience of Heroes of the Storm players. It’s in the developers’ interest to do so prior to drawing the many eyes that will come from the game being put on its biggest stage to date at BlizzCon’s Heroes of the Storm World Championship in November.