Controversial Overwatch collegiate player ban ignites conduct discussion

Controversial Overwatch collegiate player ban ignites conduct discussion
Image via Blizzard Entertainment

Written by 

Sascha Heinisch


15th Apr 2024 14:35

UT Dallas collegiate Overwatch player Mason "durpee" Kuehne received an account ban for misconduct, rendering the player ineligible to play in the Overwatch Collegiate Championship Series.

Blizzard Customer Support's response to durpee's request for clarification has caused a wider discussion of the game's moderation practices.

Cause of the ban

On April 12, durpee reached out to Blizzard customer support on the social media platform X, requesting a non-automated response to a support ticket he had issued previously. A Blizzard Entertainment representative replied to the post, requesting the ticket ID.

Shortly after, BlizzardCS shared information on the ruling, stating that the account had been banned for "inappropriate language," further clarifying that the "F word and the SH word" had been used by durpee. The UT Dallas player later clarified that the ban would be impacting his ability to participate in the Overwatch Collegiate Championship Series in May. 

While it stands to reason that general misconduct may have contributed to the player's account falling out of good standing, potentially justifying the decision, Blizzard's Customer Support shared no further information. The response spilled over onto several other social media platforms, where fans discussed the decision.

Drawing a line of conduct

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A particular talking point for the community was the perceived inconsistency in the ruling both throughout Overwatch's history as well as the use of profanity by the game's characters. In follow-up replies, Customer Support cited the game's code of conduct, pointing to the clause, "You may not use language that could be offensive or vulgar to others."

"Are they trying to pretend this is how the rules have always been? Regardless of if this has always been the rules as written, this was not how they were enforced for years," Reddit user u/epicnerd427 shared in a thread about the Customer support’s replies.

Others pointed out the incongruency of a clarification of the Customer Support on another post, stating that profanity was not allowed in any form, "not explicitly, not abbreviated, not as a compound word, not masked nor misspelled," while Overwatch's Cassidy wears a belt buckle with an abbreviation that should be contained under the said definition.

Blizzard's Customer Support may see the decision to judge whether or not the use of profanity offended in the hands of other players participating in the match. A further reply qualified that if a report was made, it was "absolutely actionable." Indeed, another reply by a Blizzard rep to another case stated that "F-bombs in any form are not acceptable."

Sascha Heinisch
About the author
Sascha Heinisch
Sascha "Yiska" Heinisch is a Senior Esports Journalist at GGRecon. He's been creating content in esports for over 10 years, starting with Warcraft 3.
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