The Overwatch Toxicity Problem

Is Overwatch just toxic?

No, it’s the players. And apparently, that’s just a terrible issue that deserves priority over any development on the game right now.

It’s no secret that the Overwatch team hasn’t been very happy about toxicity in their passion project, a little while ago we heard Jeff Kaplan say that he’s planning on banning players for toxicity in the future. Well, the day has come, he said as much during the latest Developer Update pushed out on the 13th entitled: “play nice, play fair”.

He started out by talking about the recently added ‘report’ function that they had only on PC but then put on consoles. He said that to date they’ve taken action on 480,000 accounts, and about 340,000 of those accounts were because of someone reporting. He said that people often disregard the reporting feature because they don’t think it does anything, but he said that’s not the case at all, and he encourages players to report if they see something. I can even attest to that, since each time I’ve used Blizzard support they’ve come back to me promptly and fixed my issue with no question, I believe that these guys are here to help.

He went on to his last point before he went and philosophically discussed why people are toxic, and that was the fact that Blizzard doesn’t want to isolate toxic players, they just don’t want them to play the game.

And this has been a central theme for a while, and it’s why they’ve been spending so much time on this report/banning system because they’re chasing some kind of idea that to me just seems a bit too ideological. They want to have an experience where nobody is toxic, and nobody wants to be toxic, and if a toxic player joins a game, he’ll be stoned to death on the spot, and I think it’s pretty obvious that’s not going to happen.

I’m not bashing the team for putting their focus on toxicity, it is a viable issue, especially when you have an online-only competitive multiplayer shooter, where one toxic player usually means a lost match. Overwatch is so team-oriented that this kind of system is vital, if not only to curb the frustrated community.

But there comes a point where you just have to throw up your hands and say “f**k it”. You can’t fix everything, and like I said above, it seems like the Overwatch team is trying to make a utopia, and since toxic players never just stop playing a game because people don’t like them, so they’ll always be there. And it wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t putting most of their resources on this problem, which means that any other development for the game has all halted while they figure out how they should ban people. Like I said, it’s nothing against the issue, I believe it, but I’d put more focus on the actual game part of the game, making that better and just having a smaller team on the side that’s always working on the reporting system.

What do you guys think?

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