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New Heroes of the Storm patch silences abusive players

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Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Entertainment's popular massively online battle arena game, is giving players new ways to keep the game player-friendly.

In a post to the game's news blog, Blizzard detailed the reporting options that will be added in an upcoming patch. The updates aim to help limit the behavior that "can lower team morale, and ruin an otherwise fun experience for everyone else," the company explains.

Players will be able to select from an updated list of misconduct types, with categories including Abusive Chat, Cheating/Botting/Hacking, and Spam, among others. The post also provides guidelines for each category, to help develop best practices for the new feature.

Abusive Chat replaces the old Harassment category, a change that Blizzard explains by writing, "Undesirable chat messsages can take on many forms, and the Abusive Chat category ... covers a much wider variety of cases than Harassment."

Additionally, Abusive Chat leads directly to the patch's other major addition: the Silence Penalty. Players who are flagged multiple times for either spamming or antagonizing other players will face limited chat options as a result. Players who have been silenced will not be able to participate in custom or general chat channels. They also won't be allowed to send Whispers to people not on their friends' list. They will, however, be able to utilize party chat and join new parties.

A player's first silencing results in a 24-hour chat restriction. This is doubled with each successive penalty.

No date has been set for this patch yet, but Blizzard promises that its official Heroes of the Storm page will have more information "over the weeks to come."