In any team-based game there is bound to be a fair amount of toxic behavior, and Blizzard’s Overwatch is certainly no exception to the rule. Whether it’s because of players trolling in competitive play or simply refusing to switch from their one-trick main, players get angry when rank is on the line, and Blizzard has yet again acknowledged the issue.
A recent post on the game’s subreddit pointed out that, back in 2013, developer Valve discovered that player toxicity was one of the major factors that saw users quitting Dota 2. The user, NessDan, pointed out that the same factors that drove the game’s fan-base to decrease in numbers are now present in Overwatch and steps need to be taken to ensure that the popular title doesn’t head in the same direction.
The blog post by Valve reports that players were not driven to quit due to the amount of games won or lost, but rather the amount of abusive chat going on in their games. After making some smartly planned adjustments, the developer managed to reduce toxicity by 35% and saw that more than 60% of banned players choose to modify their online behavior so as to not receive further punishment.
Within three hours of the post being made, it had already attracted significant attention from users and Blizzard alike. Community Manager Griffin thanked NessDan for their passionate post, informing all Reddit users that the Overwatch developer sees eliminating toxicity as a top priority. Back in July, Game Director Jeff Kaplan released a developer log that promoted kindness and fair play, something that the Blizzard employee promises the development team is still committed towards encouraging.
Lately we have seen Blizzard beginning to take more of a stand against Overwatch trolling, and hundreds of accounts have been administered bans for leaving mid-game, not participating, or simply acting maliciously. Although this is a very good move on the developer’s part, there is still a long way to go and players are encouraged to continue reporting those who are purposefully disrupting the “normal player’s gameplay experience”.
All things considered, there’s a reason that Blizzard’s motto is “Play Nice; Play Fair” and the developer looks to be doing its best to make Overwatch a fun and lasting experience for all the fanbase. For those gamers who have yet to try the hero shooter, the title is currently undergoing a free weekend, aiming to give players on all platforms a chance to play without spending a penny.
Overwatch is out now for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.