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The Overwatch community it notably toxic. Though there are plenty of players who just want to play the game and have fun, its immense popularity has inevitably ensured that there are more than a few bad eggs, willing to make the game worse for everyone with their bad sportsmanship and unpleasant behavior. Now Blizzard has stated that these players are actively improving them from improving the game, with the amount of time they’re having to spend punishing players distracting them from developing new maps, heroes and issuing updates.
Blizzard released a video titled ‘Play Nice, Play Fair’ in which game director Jeff Kaplan issued a plea to the Overwatch community, asking them to “take a deep look inward.” This video was made after Blizzard debuted a reporting feature for the console version of the game, which has become known as being particularly toxic when compared with its PC equivalent, which has had a report system since the game’s launch.
Though Kaplan noted that the reporting feature “isn’t perfect,” he stated that a number of improvements would be coming to the system, including feedback that would allow players to see the affects of their reports. Kaplan stated that the pilot version of this system will see Blizzard emailing players with notifications of their reports, though ideally these notifications will appear in-game. He also noted that Blizzard has taken action against over 480,000 accounts, and that over 340,000 of those were the result of players using the report button.
Kaplan then went on to address the players who have contributed to the toxicity of the Overwatch community. “If you’re a bad person doing bad things in Overwatch, we don’t want you in Overwatch,” he said. “We don’t want to create areas for you where just the bad people are in Overwatch, we just don’t want those people in Overwatch.
“Overwatch should be an inclusive game space. It’s an inclusive, aspirational universe and the gameplay experience should match what Overwatch is looking to achieve.”
Kaplan then revealed that players’ negative behavior is harming their development of the game. “We love creating these cool content and features for you guys. We want to make new maps, we want to make new heroes, we want to make animated shorts. That’s where our passion is, but we’ve been put into this weird position where we’re spending a tremendous amount of time and resources punishing people and trying to make people behave better,” he said. “I wish we could take the time we’ve put into putting reporting on console, and have put that towards a match history system or a replay system instead. It was the exact same people who had to work on both, who got rerouted to work on the other.
He concluded: “The bad behavior is not just ruining the experience for one another, but the bad behavior is actually making the game progress, in terms of development, at a much slower rate.”