In another update to its efforts to eradicate bad behavior from Overwatch, Blizzard has pointed out that it will take stern action against players who spam voice lines for their characters on a regular basis.
Responding to a recent complaint on the official forums where a player claimed that he was silenced for no reason for the third time, principal designer Scott Mercer reminded everyone that spamming voice lines “in a way that is either disruptive or would be considered harassment” is a punishable offense.
The issue is not unique for Overwatch and is also present in other multiplayer games where there are ways to communicate in-game other than through real-time human voice. League of Legends, for example, has pings that players can use to quickly alert allies. However, many spam the pings to either tilt other players or just in plain frustration. It is why Riot Games had to introduce a muting option.
In the case of Overwatch, it is unlikely that players will be banned for using voice lines for a few times in every game. It is when the action is regularly being reported by others that Blizzard will finally step in. Silencing is probably the start. Those who continue to display bad behavior are likely to be temporary banned in the future.
Last month, game director Jeff Kaplan revealed that more than 480,000 accounts have been punished in various forms since the game was released last year. More than 340,000 of these accounts were a direct result of the in-game reporting button.
The developer has also taken massive steps to curb toxicity with a three-strike policy in Competitive Play. Anyone who receives three bans in ranked games will be permanently banned from the queue for life.