Blizzard’s World of Warcraft becomes the latest title to tackle player toxicity in-game, as the MMORPG will implement a new penalty for players abusing their chat privileges.
Gamers currently enjoying the craze over Blizzard’s newest game, Overwatch, should know that the game’s polished multiplayer experience and deft handling of its playerbase was likely refined over the many years Blizzard has watched over and improved World of Warcraft. Studios don’t just stumble upon a property that becomes the most successful video game movie of all time – World of Warcraft and its many expansions and multimedia extensions is a carefully cultivated property, one that has constantly evolved to meet player needs over time.
It’s World of Warcraft‘s history of adapting to either a massively growing or declining and aging player population that makes it no surprise that Blizzard announced yesterday that it would be changing the game’s chat system. The World of Warcraft player experience can vary dramatically depending on who gamers come into contact with during their first steps into the world, and it’s for that reason and others that Blizzard is introducing the “Silence Penalty” for players unable to behave themselves while chatting.
As one might expect from something called the Silence Penalty, the punishment is enacted whenever a player is reported multiple times for abusive chat or spam, with a Blizzard investigation being conducted on each offender to ensure they deserve the ominous-sounding sanction. If found guilty, players sanctioned by the Silence Penalty will be unable to: talk in Instance Chat; create calendar events or invitations; send party invitations; send invitations to duel; and talk in global channels that players auto-join (such as general or trade chats), among other things.
Players with the Silence Penalty can still whisper their own friends and create their own groups, so those lucky enough to have a friend who enjoys chat spamming might still reconsider their stance on raiding with them. First time offenders will receive the penalty for 24 hours, with repeat offenders doubling whatever their previous “sentence” was – so players who have been found guilty 4 times, for instance, will end up with the Silence Penalty for 192 hours, which might make the return of Illidan a lot less fun and interactive.
The policy will be implemented during the pre-expansion of World of Warcraft: Legion, which should arrive soon. It’s a smart move on Blizzard’s part, as the game likely saw a slight influx in players when World of Wacraft: Warlords of Draenor went free earlier this year and should see a great deal more come back once the newest expansion launches. Critics may say what they will about World of Wacraft‘s age and relevance, but moves like this make it clear why few developers can offer the same kind of multiplayer experience that Blizzard does with such regularity and finesse.
World of Warcraft: Legion will launch on August 30 for PC.