A new reporting system is to be introduced with the next patch for Heroes of the Storm, in an effort to curb abusive behaviour from the more negatively excitable members of the player community.
The upcoming changes were detailed in a blog post on the game's official website last night.
There are some fairly obvious occasions where you might feel moved to report someone for their in-game behaviour. The use of abusive language in chat channels now has its own category, for example, as does disappearing from the PC altogether when the chips are down. If your name is offensively spicey, you can be marked out for punishment, and those suspected of using third-party software to cheat may well find themselves on Blizzard's naughty step, too.
One reporting category specific to this sort of game though is for those who intentionally "feed" themselves to the enemy team as easy kills, granting crucial experience points to the opposition, as well as antagonising team mates in the process. Certain Heroes can display evidence of this kind of behaviour even when played legitimately, although Blizzard claims it will take the behavioural characteristics of these specific Heroes into account when evaluating complaints.
There are already punishment systems in place for those who outright cheat at the game, but the next patch will introduce a new set of penalties specifically for those who abuse other players or spam chat channels. Called the Silence Penalty, players who receive multiple reports of abuse and spamming will be investigated and then - if deemed guilty of their negative behaviour - find their communication options severely restricted.
For a start, they'll no longer be able to talk in the General or Allied Chat channels, or in the Hero League Draft Lobbies and custom chat channels. They'll also find themselves unable to send direct private messages to non-friends. There are no restrictions around private chats with invited players and friends, however, and affected players will still be able to "ping" the map to warn their team of danger and developments on the battlefield.
The first instance of silencing will last for 24 hours, however the punishment will double for each successive penalty issued by Blizzard. This will hopefully encourage errant players to either reform their behaviour, or face an increasingly lengthy absence from the game's public communication systems.
If you are silenced, you'll receive notification of the effect's expiration date and time, but be warned - as long the penalty is in effect, your portrait will publicly display your nefarious behaviour to everyone you encounter in-game.
To stay on top of all the latest developments in the game, take a look at our dedicated Heroes of the Storm channel at MetaBomb.