Overwatch Competitive permabans are coming next week

Blizzard has issued a warning to the Overwatch community that beginning next week, players who have accumulated three or more seasonal bans will face a possible permanent ban from Competitive play. And permanent means permanent: "Neither seasonal bans nor permanent Competitive Play bans will decay or reset over time," community manager Josh Engen wrote. "Once an account is permanently banned, it currently cannot return to good standing." 

"Starting Wednesday, September 27, any player who accumulates three or more seasonal bans may be permanently banned from Competitive Play, removing their ability to participate in any future matches in that mode," Engen wrote.   

"Seasonal bans do not need to be consecutive to qualify for a permanent Competitive Play ban. For example, if a player earned seasonal bans in Seasons 2 and 4, and then earns another ban in Season 7, he or she will be eligible for a permanent ban from Competitive Play as soon as that third seasonal ban is issued." 

The warning also included a reminder about seasonal bans, which can be imposed for leaving games early or being kicked for idling. "Repeated occurrences of leaving early or being kicked for inactivity during a match will lead to restrictions on future competitive matches. As these violations accumulate, access to Competitive Play will be locked for an increasing amount of time," Engen continued. "Completing matches without incurring further penalties will eventually return the account to good standing; however, repeated violations can also result in a ban from Competitive Play for the current season—including the forfeiture of any seasonal rewards." 

Being "eligible" for a Competitive permaban doesn't mean that it will happen automatically on the third offense, which is reasonable. Being locked out of Competitive play forever is a pretty big deal, and there has to be some room for discretion and extenuating circumstances. But bad behavior is obviously a problem, and while Blizzard may move slower than some players would like, it seems determined to do something about it: Game director Jeff Kaplan said in June that Blizzard would be happy if "leavers" just stopped playing the game altogether, adding, "We keep increasing the penalty for leaving and will continue to do so."   

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.