Starting from 27th September, Blizzard plans to introduce a new Overwatch ban system. The intention is to permanently block the worst gameplay offenders from competitive gameplay. In other Overwatch news, a free weekend is about to kick off for this highly regarded and popular team-based multiplayer online first-person shooter. You can play for free on PC, Xbox One or PS4 from 7pm UK time today, until 8am UK time on Tuesday 26th Sept.
Starting from Wednesday 27 Sept, Blizzard will begin to implement permanent bans in Overwatch competitive play. In brief, it's a 'three strikes and you are out' system. Any player who accrues three or more seasonal bans "may be permanently banned from Competitive Play, removing their ability to participate in any future matches in that mode," explains Blizzard. It is highlighted that your seasonal bans need not be consecutive to have a perma-ban levied.
Behaviour such as leaving early or being kicked for inactivity during a match will lead to restrictions on future competitive matches. Blizzard says that as these violations accumulate, access to Competitive Play will be locked for an increasing amount of time. Players at this stage can regain good standing by completing matches without incurring further penalties and thus avoid escalation to a seasonal ban. A full code of conduct is published here for reference.
As mentioned in the intro paragraph, those interested in giving Overwatch a test run can do so for a generously long free weekend, coming up. Starting at 7pm UK time today PC, Xbox One (Live Gold) or PS4 (PlayStation Plus) users can play Overwatch, all the way until 8am UK time on Tuesday.
There are a few regional restrictions on the PC (there is no PC free weekend in Korea, for example) but during the weekend players will have access to Overwatch's full roster of heroes, maps, and a selection of features—including Quick Play, Custom Games, the Arcade, and Loot Boxes. There are 25 heroes and four different game modes and 14 different maps available - so there's plenty to explore and do.
Blizzard will make sure any progress, skins and other items earned in the free weekend will be carried over if you purchase Overwatch later - as growing the user base is of course the purpose of this exercise.