As part of our ongoing effort to ensure Overwatch provides the most welcoming environment possible for players, we’re making some changes to our penalties against players reported for inappropriate language—as well as making a few changes to our profanity filter to give players better tools to manage what kind of language they see in their games.
Improved Profanity Filter
The profanity filter in Overwatch currently provides players with two basic settings: on or off. However, this doesn’t account for players who might be OK with seeing more mature language in party chat with their friends, but would rather filter such language out when chatting with players they don’t know. In order to give players more control over the types of the language they see and the situations in which they appear, we’re making some updates to the profanity filter, which are now available for testing on the Public Test Realm (PTR).
Instead of a simple “on/off” profanity filter, there are now three settings available:
Friendly – We’ll do our best to filter all words currently identified by our constantly updated list as obscene, vulgar, or offensive. This is the most family-friendly setting.
Mature – You may see some obscene or vulgar words with this setting, but we will filter language identified as extremely offensive.
Unfiltered – Nothing will be filtered. Please be aware that you may see extremely offensive language, so this setting is generally not recommended.
Along with these new filtering options, players will now be able to apply different profanity filter settings for each communication channel. These channels include:
As an example, you could use the stronger Friendly option for more public channels such as General Chat or Match Chat, but use the Mature setting for the more private Party Chat.
Remember that the existence of profanity filters does not make it acceptable for players to use offensive, hateful, or language that violates our In-Game Code of Conduct—and as always, we encourage you to report instances of such behavior if you encounter them. Using language report by the community and deemed offensive by Blizzard will result in severe account restrictions.
Updated Penalties for Inappropriate Language in Overwatch
While using a profanity filter can help you control when you see offensive language, we’re also committed to constantly improving our methods of combatting this issue at its source. In the short term, we will be imposing harsher penalties against players found to be using offensive, hateful, or other similar language that violates our Code of Conduct, including longer periods of silence, longer suspensions, and permanently banning players after fewer repeat offenses.
In the near term, we’re also considering some changes to our internal processes that we hope will result in meaningful improvements to the effectiveness of our preliminary detection methods and the speed at which players found to be violating the Code of Conduct are investigated and actioned. As always, we appreciate your support and vigilance as we continue to work toward addressing these challenging and important issues—the best tool we have is your reports and feedback, and we look forward to sharing more in the future.
UPDATE (Oct 12):
In addition to the improved profanity filter and updated penalties for inappropriate language, we’ve also performed a manual action wave against some of the worst offenders of toxic language in Overwatch. This action will take effect with updates to profanity filter and penalties in the next live game patch.