De-toxifying Overwatch by shoring up its reporting and punishment systems has been a focus for Blizzard in recent weeks. Game director Jeff Kaplan gave notice at the end of August that permanent bans were in the offing, and starting from next week, they'll be a reality.
For the details of Blizzard's shooter's latest form, check our Overwatch patch 1.15 notes.
“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,” writes community manager Josh Engen.
These three seasonal bans don’t have to be consecutive to make you eligible for a permanent ban, and neither seasonal nor permanent bans will decay over time: “Once an account is permanently banned, it currently cannot return to good standing.”
However, it seems that penalties up to, but excluding, seasonal bans can decay over time: as “violations accumulate, access to Competitive Play will be locked for an increasing amount of time. Completing matches without incurring further penalties will eventually return the account to good standing.”
Overwatch's code of conduct is available here, if you'd like to remind yourself of what constitutes a breach. In summary, don't leave competitive games early, and don't be idle during them or you risk getting kicked. If either happens, you're unable to join another competitive game until the one you left finishes, and you'll be penalised. You have the option to rejoin games in progress, and will avoid a penalty if you do so.
You can read Engen’s post in full here. Ben and Matt grappled with the issue of toxicity in a previous episode of Overwatch This, which you can check out below: