Heroes of the Storm

At a GM’s urging, I’d like to start a discussion about the report system, forgiveness, and the lack of hope it creates

HeroesoftheStorm 1 - At a GM's urging, I'd like to start a discussion about the report system, forgiveness, and the lack of hope it creates

I received confirmation from a GM that reports do not ever "fall off" an account like they do in Overwatch. There are stacking penalties, and eventually, enough reports can accrue that there's no way to wait them out, perhaps by not chatting at all.

Not lying: I've been silenced several times, which morphed into a suspension. A couple of these were deserved. I never attacked anyone directly, but saying things like "Stop feeding, Leoric" or especially "GG"ing way too early ("Let them end") are bad ones. Since then, I don't do that anymore. However, a lot of these are legitimately from engaging with toxic players. The kind who insult other players' picks, or performance, and I mean, directly attack them. "ur trash" "Your the reason were losing" and the like are stuff I've had directed at my teammates and sometimes me (though I was having a great game) just in the past few days.

Now, responding in kind isn't going to get anywhere. Once it gets to that point, I just say "Reported, muted, moving on" and encourage them not to type anymore. I've focused on positive encouragement in my chat. It's worked great. Big difference. Just stay positive, stay moving, the game'll be over soon even if you lose. Just focus on what you can learn. However, trolls in parties with their friends, who are equally toxic, are a problem. The two or three of them will just report you for abusive chat, despite never having actually committed an offense.

As we all know, the system is automated, so trolls like these can "win" by simply spamming reports. GMs won't overturn it based on the scantest justification, and often don't even look at the chat. The last time this happened to me, I had indeed had a chat full of positivity, and the GM even looked and saw it. Great! Legitimately, they said that telling people that they're reported, or asking others to report a problematic player (actively toxic, not just bad at the game but learning), is an actionable offense. That was it. Literally the only reason they upheld it. The GM even admitted the rest of it was good stuff; no attacks, no toxicity, all positive.

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At this point, after having dealt with a spate of trolls lately, especially the ones attacking my teammates (a new Hammer player was subject to this the other night, though why we were matched with a newbie I have no idea), I have grown increasingly concerned for my account. I'm going to turn off all chat because you can quite literally have chat full of positive encouragement, be reported by toxic kids, and be penalized with no possibility of overturning it, despite overwhelming evidence that it is an unjust penalty.

This, of course, means, that it'll be impossible to notice when a teammate is being flamed and try to stick up for them, or encourage them after the game. It also reduces avenues of coordination, but such is the environment that the game has become. Indeed, I am heavily considering moving over to a different game entirely; at least in League, reports mean something, and if you say some of the stuff that people get away with here, you get banned very quickly. It feels like trolls actually get punished, and that the customer service is responsive and actually cares enough to properly examine conduct, unlike in this game.

The GM I spoke to about these concerns suggested starting a thread in the forums, and of course the reddit is actually more visible, so I decided to crosspost. I had asked if there are any systems of forgiveness, and the GM said there are none. Reports don't fall off. There's no real way to make up for past mistakes or penalties (whether or not they were legitimate offenses). Most GMs just rubberstamp a denial without ever even looking at the context. And you have groups of toxic players like this one game the other night (and I have replays, oh boy, do I have proof) who just gang up on and attack players like our poor Hammer. Do those players get silenced or banned? No. But if you dare to stand up to them and then get reported en masse, you can face sanctions that no decent GM would ever uphold, and yet they do anyway.

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That, combined with the obvious change in direction and budget cuts to the HGC and game development in general, have left me feeling extremely doubtful about my favorite MOBA. At least maybe we can make this issue noticeable with the reports and penalties and lack of any form of forgiveness, and maybe they'll do something before the game just peters off into complete irrelevance.

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