Most, if not all competitive games are plagued with toxic players and the more popular the game gets, the worse the case usually is. Blizzard’s Overwatch is no different, with director Jeff Kaplan admitting that the game’s development has been slowed down because of the behaviour.
The latest Overwatch update video is aptly titled Play Nice, Play Fair, in which Kaplan talks about “the rising tide of toxicity or bad behaviour in the game” resulting in the lack of “new maps, heroes and animated shorts.”
“We’ve been put in this weird position where we’re spending a tremendous amount of time and resources punishing people and trying to make people behave better,” explains Kaplan. “I wish we could take the time we put into putting reporting on console and have put them towards a match history system or a replay system instead. It was the exact same people who had to work on both who got re-routed to work on the other.”
The team at Overwatch isn’t wasting these resources, however, resulting in the recording system that has been present on PC to make its way to console. They have also been hard at work taking action against those reported on the system, with Kaplan emphasising that the system does work. “We have taken disciplinary action against over 480,000 accounts, and 340,000 of those were a direct result of players using the reporting system.”
Kaplan explained that the Overwatch team are experimenting with disciplinary action feedback, in which players who have reported others will receive notification when their effort has resulted in another player being disciplined. This will happen via email at first, however the aim is to notify people within the game’s client similar to that used in Valve’s Dota 2.
The Overwatch devs will continue to work on balancing content creation with babysitting the bad behaved, but Kaplan urges the community to take responsibility for their actions and try to say kinder things instead of negative. If they do, everyone will win with more content in the long run.
Quite frankly, Kaplan, his team and the majority of the community “just don’t want those people in Overwatch.”
KitGuru Says: Since toxic players are almost a given no matter where you go, people seem to have resigned into the way of thinking that it’s normal. Being anonymous online doesn’t give anyone the right to ruin experiences, so it’s nice that a developer is coming out and showing that this behaviour inevitably causes the perpetrator to suffer too. What do you think on the matter?