Overwatch director blames toxic players for slowing down game development

By midian182 · 30 replies
Sep 15, 2017
Post New Reply
  1. It’s been almost a year and a half since Overwatch launched, and in that time the team-based FPS has become incredibly popular. But, as is the case with virtually all multiplayer titles, it attracts a number of toxic players—a problem that is getting worse.

    In Blizzard’s latest “Developer Update” video for Overwatch, director Jeff Kaplan talks about the “rising tide of toxicity or bad behavior in the game,” and how it’s affecting aspects of its development.

    “We want to make new maps, we want to make new heroes, we want to make animated shorts,” he said. “But 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.”

    Kaplan cited the recent addition of a reporting feature on consoles as an example of how detrimental these toxic players are to the game as a whole. “I wish we could take the time we put into having reporting on console and have put that toward a match history system or a replay system instead,” he said. “It was the exact same people that had to work on both, who got re-routed to work on the other. The bad behavior is not just ruining the experience for one another, but the bad behavior’s also making the game progress—in terms of development—at a much slower rate.”

    Since Overwatch’s release in May 2016, Blizzard has taken action against 480,000 accounts, 340,000 of which were the result of reports from other players, according to Kaplan. He added that anonymity is often the root cause behind antisocial behavior in games (and online in general).

    So remember, if you’re angry at the slow pace with which new characters, maps, etc. are appearing in Overwatch, Kaplan says blame its toxic players, not the developers.

    For those who've never played Overwatch but would like to try it without buying the game, there’s another free weekend starting September 22nd at 11:00 AM PDT/2:00 EDT.

    Permalink to story.

  2. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 3,054   +1,368

    Ultimately the reason is that penalties for toxicity arent discouraging anything. The system does lots of penalties against people who leave matches early (even non-comp and arcade matches), but people who intentionally feed, AFK, use abusive chat, or just generally are un-fun to play with hardly get any penalties.
    TempleOrion likes this.
  3. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,887   +1,270

    I get that "toxic" players are a problem. However, this is Blizzard. This is not their first rodeo with online games. So, would they not have already been better prepared for the toxicity?
    ikesmasher likes this.
  4. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 5,150   +4,223

    I read this:

    “We want to make new maps, we want to make new heroes, we want to make animated shorts,” he said. “But 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.”

    I thought to myself, "Let me guess. This isn't people cheating. It's people saying mean things in chat."

    And then, I read this:

    "“We want to make new maps, we want to make new heroes, we want to make animated shorts,” he said. “But 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.”"

    Somehow, some way, every other major online shooter has managed to deal with this problem without it impacting game development.

    Perhaps if you stopped acting like snowflakes, told people to use the mute function and add a simple profanity filter, maybe you'll have more time to develop new content while you aren't busy "taking action" against a half-million anons who have said Things(TM).

    SirChocula and Reehahs like this.
  5. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,287   +1,054

    It's particularly prevalent in Overwatch, I can't tell you why, but I've played a lot of WoW and HotS and neither have anywhere near as many Toxic players as Overwatch.
    This, so much this, I hate these players, I hate them more than players who leave (unless it's comp, since other players won't fill their position).
  6. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,998   +1,300

    I haven't played Overwatch so I can't speak from experience, but I'd assume that toxicity is one of those things that is tolerated in small doses. Once it gets too big though you have to do something about it.

    It's also hard to say you need it up-front. Meaning - when they were deciding if they needed a reporting function they probably decided to wait and see how bad it would be.

    League of Legends could have this same issue, but it's not THAT bad... but - they have a reporting system and they have something called 'Leaver Buster' quit too many games early and you have a 20 min queue to wait before playing again.

    There are known solutions - they just probably bet wrong on whether they'd be needed.
    stewi0001 likes this.
  7. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,151   +1,174

    This is what happens when you listed to the snowflakes, or worse, put them on your staff as blizzard has done.

    Just mute the player and move on. Not that hard. Stop wasting dev time on being the Feels police.
    Agnomen, SirChocula and davislane1 like this.
  8. Reehahs

    Reehahs TS Guru Posts: 640   +371

    A simple solution would be to loss make the toxic players lose the anonymous status.
    TempleOrion likes this.
  9. Nobina

    Nobina TS Evangelist Posts: 1,499   +965

    This seems like someone who doesn't know much about gaming community. There was always trash talk, there has always been **** talking between teams and teammates. If you're bad at a game and you're making your team lose ofcourse they are going to talk **** to you, just deal with it or even better, mute them. Problem are people that freak out over something so meaningless and they don't want to use mute button which is almost a perfect solution. Instead they cry to devs and want to ruin gaming community cause they're so sensitive.

    What he is saying seems like absolute bullshit, they seriously use same people who make maps and heroes to also ban players who say "gg easy"? He should defintely be fired cause he is **** at his job.

    Overwatch is not that great of a game, they want to establish it as an esports and they still haven't done anything meaningful yet they shift blame to something that absolutely has no connections.
  10. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,887   +1,270

    I've play a lot of online FPSs and admin FPS gaming servers in the past. I have never played Overwatch so I don't know what their current system is. I'm not sure if blizzard has even done an online FPS before either. IMO, FPSs tend to have more trolls than other genres, but I'm probably wrong since I haven't played as much of the other online genres.

    The main factor is, the more popular a game is, the more variety of players it will attract.
  11. texasrattler

    texasrattler TS Evangelist Posts: 385   +139

    Boo freakin hoo, do your freakin job. No one cares how hard it is for you to control your game, figure it out that's your freakin job. I paid for a game and expect a dev to do their job not cry n put blame on players.

    It is the devs fault if they cant control things. If you cant then I suggest they get out of the game business, seems its too much for them. So players have to listen to other players crying and now the dev, jesus, whats next.
  12. roberthi

    roberthi TS Addict Posts: 311   +81

    This is no excuse. Gaming communities are notorious for being toxic, especially in these types of games. Blizzard knows this going in, so the mechanism for handling these issues should be handled prior to game launch and remain top-priority. It's how you keep the game going these days. Valve should know this. Riot should know this. Having said that, all this tells me is that there are a ton of money-hungry developers out there that are too lazy to handle their own stuff and want to blame the gaming community. Blame has to be shared here.

    How hard can it be to apply permanent chat filters and/or preset phrases? Of course, if you're going to allow microphones to be used, this won't work, but then it can be easy to mute them. This stops one aspect of the problem. AFK? Substitute a bot (AI supposedly is getting better these days). Feeding? Again, use AI to analyze the player habits...shouldn't be that hard to tell if someone's simply throwing the game.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
  13. roberthi

    roberthi TS Addict Posts: 311   +81

    Sounds like you need to take your own advice.
    Darth Shiv and TempleOrion like this.
  14. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,781   +1,901

    People need to realize that Overwatch isn't like other shooters. One toxic person can ruin an entire competitive match and your Skill rating goes down as a result. COD you can solo carry, on OW any level above silver (which is really low) it is really hard to carry unless your very very good. You also need to be able to communicate with your team because overwatch is a game that relies heavily on team comp. Muting your healer is obviously a bad idea.
    BlueDrake and TempleOrion like this.
  15. roberthi

    roberthi TS Addict Posts: 311   +81

    Actually, that describes a lot of the games I've played.
  16. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,781   +1,901

    Not in the FPS genre.
  17. roberthi

    roberthi TS Addict Posts: 311   +81

    Quake, Unreal, and others. Nice try though.
  18. Fobus

    Fobus TS Booster Posts: 86   +52

    What an asinine comment. If friendly fire is on, how muting them is of any help? If they go afk on purpose, if they don't participate in fights, and just go solo, if they pick meme strategies, if actively help the other team? There's a gazillion things they can do besides being abusive in chat. Are you really this dense if you suggest just muting them??
    Evernessince likes this.
  19. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 2,781   +1,901

    All nothing like overwatch, SAD!
  20. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 5,150   +4,223

    This was solved decades ago. It's called vote kick.

    So we're up to three features that should require minimal dev time:

    1. Mute
    2. Profanity filter
    3. Vote kick

    The number of accounts they've had to take action against (almost half a million) should tell you that they aren't talking about an army of team killers or slot squatters.
  21. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 5,150   +4,223

    No, you are correct. More trolls and many more people who don't play their class.
    stewi0001 likes this.
  22. roberthi

    roberthi TS Addict Posts: 311   +81

    Well, you're obviously too young to remember what brought you here in the first place, kid. Sad.
  23. Fobus

    Fobus TS Booster Posts: 86   +52

    How is vote kicking your team mate in a ranked match a solution? You're down one man in a team based game... Your comment makes me think you haven't played a modern game in the last 5 years. Besides, good luck convincing whole server to vote kick a person during casual game... That is, when they are not voting kicking the wrong or innocent person...
  24. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 5,150   +4,223

    You need to invest some more skill points into 'logic.'

    If you have somebody AFK, you are already down a man. If you have somebody actively helping the other team, you are already down two or more men.

    Subsequent responses will be ignored on account of you not being able to read your own posts, let alone mine.
  25. Fobus

    Fobus TS Booster Posts: 86   +52

    Are all you responses so empty of substance?
    That is precisely the reason why I said those solutions were bad, because they didnt address the problem. By your own admission, you solution is just making their trolling final... Talk about "logic"... Real solution needs to prevent griefing and trolling from starting before the match, or make that person change his way during the match. How is kicking a person from a ranked match of any help?

    Oh, btw, by "person" I meant the offender, I thought that was clear... No logic fail here. And logically, you can have both trouble convincing server to kick the abuser/person you want to be kicked, and the server being trigger happy to kick some other person or mistakenly voting for the wrong person. I've seen that happen many times. It helps to be right, before calling others on logic fails...
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2017

Similar Topics

Add your comment to this article

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...