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New 'Silence' Penalty System Coming to Heroes of the Storm

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As part of their ongoing effort to improve the Heroes of the Storm experience, Blizzard is introducing a new penalty as part of their player reporting system - a temporary (but scaling duration) silence penalty. Players who are 'silenced' due to excessive spam or abusive chat cannot speak in Allied Chat in-game, during the Draft process in Hero League, or in general or custom chat channels.

 

The complete process is detailed in this morning's blog post from Blizzard:

 

Blizzard Icon Introducing New Reporting Options and the Silence Penalty

 

During a typical Heroes of the Storm play session, you’re sure to come across all sorts of people and personalities. Some players realize that they make a great match, and might even become friends after playing and chatting together. Some players prefer to focus on the game, and don’t utter a single word before a Core falls. As with most any online game, however, there are a few players that just don’t seem to get along with anyone.

 

Whether they’re just having an off day, or get their kicks by being mean to their allies, players who project a negative attitude toward others can lower team morale, and ruin an otherwise fun experience for everyone else. In order to help limit this sort of behavior, our next major patch will bring a few new reporting options to Heroes, as well as a brand new consequence for those who consistently try to put a damper on everyone’s fun.

 

REPORTING OPTIONS

 

Before we begin, we’d like to remind you that you can report another player for various types of inappropriate behavior by clicking the gear icons found on in-game score screens (TAB), as well as end-of-game score screens, and then selecting “Report Player”. You can also report players outside of a match by right-clicking a player’s name in the chat pane. These reports add up, and receiving too many can result in silence, suspensions, or even permanent bans in extreme cases.

 

With the arrival of our next patch, you’ll find that we’ve reworked the categories you can select when reporting another player for various types of misconduct. All of the reporting options that will be available to you, as well as a few guidelines for how best to put them into action, have been listed below.

Report Categories & Guidelines for Use

  • Abusive Chat
    • Insults, cruelty, or ongoing harassment directed at one or more players.
    • Hate speech
    • Real life threats
  • Intentionally Feeding
    • Player intentionally and repeatedly gets their hero killed in order to anger allies or feed XP to the enemy team.
  • AFK/Non-Participation
    • Player is idle or inactive for an extended period of time during a game.
    • Player is present, but has given up or refuses to take part in the game.
  • Cheating/Botting/Hacking
    • Suspicious behavior which indicates the player may be using third-party software or hack programs to gain an advantage during a game.
  • Inappropriate Name
    • Character names or BattleTags that are offensive, insulting, bypass the mature language filter, or are otherwise considered objectionable.
  • Spam
    • Excessively communicating the same phrase, similar phrases, or pure nonsense
    • Blatant or repeated advertising for third party websites

We know that avid Abathur players may worry about being reported for Non-Participation, and Murky lovers may be concerned about receiving Intentional Feeding reports. However, we’ve taken heroes with unique mechanics into account, and will take action accordingly. Additionally, you can rest assured that a single report from an ally who misunderstands Abathur’s playstyle, for example, will not result in any penalties against your account. What’s more, we’ll also investigate players who are found to frequently dish out trivial or false reports and take action as necessary.

 

You may have noticed that the Harassment report category has been replaced with Abusive Chat. Undesirable chat messages can take on many forms, and the Abusive Chat category not only covers a much wider variety of cases than Harassment, but also fits nicely with our new consequence for misbehavior in chat: the Silence Penalty.

 

THE SILENCE PENALTY

 

Following our next patch release, any player who is reported multiple times under the Spam or Abusive Chat categories will, after investigation, receive a silence penalty. While this penalty is active, the silenced player will find that their ability to chat with others is greatly limited.

 

Silenced Players Cannot:
  • Use Allied Chat in-game
  • Chat in Hero League Draft Lobbies
  • Chat in General Chat channels
  • Chat in custom chat channels
  • Send Whispers to non-friends 
Silenced Players Can:
  • Use Party Chat (with invited players)
  • Create, Suggest, and Request to Join parties
  • Send and receive friend requests
  • Send Whispers to friends
  • Reply to Whispers from non-friends
  • Issue in-game Pings

The first time a player is silenced, their chat will be restricted for 24 hours. This duration will double for each silence penalty received after the first, and there is no maximum. This means that players who receive multiple silence penalties may find themselves unable to chat for a very, very long time.

 

59APXM1MZXT31438330934639.png

 

Silenced players will be notified of the penalty’s remaining duration each time they log in to Heroes of the Storm, and a new icon will be displayed on their player portraits in the game’s menus to indicate their silenced status to others. Players that are in-game when they receive a silence penalty will be logged out at the end of that game, but will still gain any XP, Gold, or Ranked Points earned during the previous match.

 

That’s all we have to share on our new reporting options and the silence penalty for now. Keep an eye on the official Heroes of the Storm website to keep up with all the latest announcements about our next patch over the weeks to come. Until then, be excellent to one another, and we’ll see you in the Nexus!

 

Thoughts on this new system? It sounds like a great way for Blizzard to curb the seemingly rampant negativity during competitive play.

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Anything that discourages toxic behaviour is a step forward in any multiplayer game.

 

The fact it can ramp up pretty quickly should hopefully make players think twice about acting negatively. 

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