If you thought the only way to get your account silenced in Overwatch was through breaking the Abusive Chat rule by swearing or harrassing teammates over voice chat, it turns out that excessive use of the emote system can lead to the same penalty as well.
The news was confirmed by designer Scott Mercer on the official Overwatch forums yesterday evening. His post was made in response to a popular thread where a player had complained of receiving his third silence ban despite not even having a microphone plugged in at the time.
Mercer's first response was to deliver what is fast becoming the signature takedown of the average Overwatch developer. Namely, they investigate the poster's complaint by examining reports made against them, and then spell out why the ban was in fact very well deserved, and typically to the embarrasment of the complainant. It seemed as though the poster in this case had been throwing games, using poor sportsmanship and feeding themselves to the enemy team.
Business as usual, then, except for one comment that was then clarified in a follow-up post where Mercer confirmed that “spamming voice lines” - if done so in a disruptive or harrassing manner - can lead to a ban all by itself.
“I'm going to copy this from the Report Player form in the game,” he wrote.
"Abusive Chat is:
"Any form of hateful, discriminatory, obscene, or disruptive communications. Threatening or harassing another player on either team is also unacceptable, regardless of the words used.
"So YES, if you spam character voice lines in a way that is either disruptive or would be considered harassment, then you could be actioned."
Consider yourselves duly warned, then.
Regardless of how clean you try to keep voice and text chat in moments of frustration, using even the most benign communication tools in a way that demeans the Overwatch experience for the rest of your team can still lead to account penalties.