Blizzard's Overwatch set a new record for players participating in an open beta, drawing in a whopping 9.7 million players. A total of 37 million matches covering 81 million hours of gameplay were played in the open beta, signaling that Blizzard has a new hit in its hands with Overwatch.
Blizzard surely wants to keep Overwatch as playable as possible to maintain its success through its official launch on May 24, and one of the ways that the company can do so is by making sure that cheating players are not tolerated.
In an announcement posted on the official Overwatch forum, Community Manager Lylirra reiterated Blizzard's core value of "play nice; play fair," as the company takes cases of cheating very seriously. As such, players that are found to be cheating will be permanently banned from the game, on the first offense.
Cheating is defined to be using bots, hacks, third-party software or any other means of gaining an unfair advantage over other players.
"Not only does cheating undermine the spirit of fair play that all of our products are based on, but it works to diminish the fun and enjoyment of others," the post states.
Players are also encouraged to report any possible cases of cheating to Blizzard's email@example.com email. No response will likely be given to reporters, but it is assured that reports sent are being actively monitored. In fact, through the reports sent during the open beta, improvements have already been made to the game to prevent cheating, while also already banning some players that were found to be cheaters.
Blizzard will also be adding a way to report possible cheaters directly within the game, which can be accessed through a normal right click and selecting the Report menu.
Blizzard, however, noted that it will not be using only video evidence to issue bannings and called upon players to be responsible in using the feature to report possible cheating. Some players are just really good at first-person shooters, Blizzard said, which could be why they may seem like cheating to the less inexperienced players.
Compared to other games, a permanent ban on the first offense is a harsh punishment, Destiny issues weeks-long restrictions to first-time offenders, while Call of Duty bans players temporarily after the first two offenses. Blizzard has also come down hard on cheaters in its other games such as Diablo III and World of Warcraft but not to the extent of what will be applied to Overwatch.
Such a punishment could lead to cases of innocent players being permanently banned, but Blizzard has an appeal process in place for such instances.