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World of Warcraft introduces silence penalty to shut up abusive chatters

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Multiple offenders could be quieted for some very long times, suggests Blizzard

World of Warcraft is introducing "The Silence Penalty," a set of chat sanctions for abusive players that, as the name suggest, shuts them up in some significant ways if they are unable to control themselves.

The Silence Penalty comes into play if a user is reported multiple times for abusive chat or spam. Blizzard investigates the complaint and if it determines the user is in violation of its conduct policy, a number of restrictions are levied.

Sanctioned players cannot: talk in Instance Chat; talk in global channels that players auto-join (general or trade, for example); create calendar events or invitations; send in-game mail; send party invitations; send War Game invitations; send invitations to duel; update a premade group listing or create a new list for a premade group.

What can they do? They may "whisper" to World of Warcraft and Battle.net friends; reply to whispers; participate in Party/Raid Chat with invited players; create parties and raids; talk in global channels that are moderated; share quests and sign up for a pre-made group.

First time offenders get a Silence Penalty for 24 hours. Subsequent offenses will see the period of silence doubles each time (so, 48 hours for a second offense; 96 for a third, 192 for a fourth, etc.) and there is no maximum. "This means that players who receive multiple silence penalties may find themselves unable to chat for a very, very long time," Blizzard wrote.

World of Warcraft's next expansion, Legion, is due to launch at the end of August. The game's most recent expansion, 2014's Warlords of Draenor, was added to the base game back in May.