The banhammer is real in many online games. The threat has to be there to prevent abusive players from running amok among those who just want to have fun. Far on the opposite end of the banhammer damage scale however, lies permaban. Permanent bans are real, they're everlasting, and if you love a game, you definitely don't want to be subject to one.
Most recently Blizzard has started to threaten the permanent ban in efforts to combat their stereotypically “toxic” gaming environment in Overwatch. Blizzard has stated they would much rather work on rewarding positive players, but unfortunately punishing those negative ones has to take precedent some times. Another game that has brought out the permaban-hammer is Friday the 13th: The Game. Developers Gun Media and IllFonic have listed all sorts of reasons that players can be banned permanently from their game.
It's clear that anyone can become victim to the banhammer, even if they aren't actively being a tool in an online game. Our own Editor-In-Chief here at Cheat Code Central has feared the banhammer from time to time. A big reason for his terror is the threat of bans due to leaving a game. In Friday the 13th: The Game, you could be sitting watching gameplay for a long time. If you're the first to die on the counselor side, you have to sit around and wait for everyone else to bite the dust. Sometimes you just want to play and not sit on the sidelines. But if you leave during this wait period too many times, you could be subject to a ban.
For Friday the 13th: The Game, Gun Media and IllFonic say that the bans are only temporary, but the time period does go up for every subsequent ban. If this was in fact a permaban, I would definitely take personal offense to it. Bans for leaving a game early are a tricky business. Sometimes players “leave a game” because they have shoddy Internet service. I've had this problem myself sometimes. Not everywhere in the U.S. has super reliable Internet service yet. Some places actually have atrocious service. If I'm playing a game and get booted by no fault of my own, why should I suffer a ban? Especially one that could be permanent!
Thankfully, it would seem Friday the 13th: The Game doesn't permanently ban players for leaving matches. A similar argument can be made for other ban reasons though. What if someone breaks a rule unintentionally, and then suffers from a permanent ban? I'm sure many would just try to create a new account so they could keep playing. But then, if the good guys are doing that, it's almost certain that the bad guys will too.
Negativity in online games has always been a big problem. There's always going to be someone to insult your mother or to tell you you're a horrible gamer. The community isn't always like that, but it'd be silly to say it doesn't exist. Battling it is ongoing. Developers and publishers do their absolute best to combat it where they can. Suspensions and warnings are a big part of punishing negative players in online communities. But when does the permaban become okay? In my opinion, it would have to be something that is completely unforgivable. Or the person in question has to clearly be someone who will not change in the future whatsoever. Only then does permanently denying someone access to a game make sense.
How do you feel about permanent bans? Do you think they should be used more often? Do you think permabans should not be used at all? Let me know in the comments.