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.