Blizzard Addresses “Rising Tide of Toxicity” in Overwatch

Trash talking in video games is nothing new. In fact it’s what some people enjoy most and feel integral to being a gamer. But sometimes it goes too far and makes the game not enjoyable for other players, and Blizzard has decided to address that. In Blizzard’s most recent “Developer Update” video for Overwatch, game director Jeff Kaplan talks about the rise in poor behavior and how Blizzard plans on handling it.

Since the game’s launch in May of last year, Blizzard has taken disciplinary actions against more than 480,000 accounts with nearly 80% of those as a result from the player-reporting system. Kaplan is surprised to hear players encourage other players not to use this system as it does nothing, when it fact it does. Since there isn’t some magical patch for them to release to wipe out all the toxicity, the player-reporting system is one of the fews ways that helps them fix this issue. Kaplan also encourages players to “take a deep look inward”, saying “if you are a bad person doing bad things in Overwatch, we don’t want you in Overwatch”. He does not believe that toxic players should be pooled together but instead just removed from the game entirely. Blizzard is trying very hard to make Overwatch “an inclusive game space” which is hard to do when players are able to hide behind a veil of anonymity. And last but not least, Kaplan stresses that the more time and resources Blizzard spends on removing this toxicity the less they’ll be able to focus on actual game development. So if you want more new content, then just don’t be a jerk. Kaplan ends on the note, “if you have that negative comment, maybe just hold it back”.

In my personal experience, the trolling in Overwatch can get pretty bad. I don’t mean the cursing but the actually shaming and degrading talk that other players put on each other when someone plays a character they don’t approve of or if they feel like someone isn’t good enough to play competitively. The game is all about teamwork, and that means everyone should work and communicate effectively together. Even the person who think they “carried the team”. I’ve played many games with awesome people who threw out suggestions like getting behind someone or alerting where a sniper is located instead of just screaming at me to “get on the payload” while it’s surrounded by enemies and I don’t stand a chance. I appreciate that Blizzard is actually making an announcement on this instead of just brushing it off like some gamers who just say, “that’s the way the video game community is”.

How do you feel about the Overwatch community and what do you think can be done to improve it? Some players suggest that Blizzard reward those reported as a good player, while others think more medals show be added. What’s your stance? Let us know in the comments!

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