Blizzard may be constantly working to stamp out toxicity in Overwatch — and may perhaps set a standard for the rest of the industry — but the unfortunate reality is that nasty people exist, and it’s impossible to stop vile players at the gates before the fact.
That means some people have to actually face the most degrading and offensive language you can imagine while playing online, and while it may be easy to think that “they’re only words”, when those words are being used as a reflection of your perceived behaviour, it can hurt.
Case in point: a stunningly bizarre and racist rant recently recorded during a competitive match. You can view the act in question on Twitter below, posted by Respect_Rose, who was on the receiving end of a player’s horrendous words.
Rose is defending the point with her team while playing as Mercy, moving from player to player as soon as they hit critical health. Without wanting to sound patronising, the footage looks to be actually the perfect way to play Mercy.
That’s not enough for old mate Orisa main, however, who not only decided to attack Rose for what he perceived to be poor Support play, but went a step further as to correlate that play with her ethnicity.
“This is certainly not the worst altercation I had in gaming,” Rose continued.
“This is certainly not the worst altercation I had in gaming. I’ve done Modern Warfare, I’ve done Call of Duty, GTA you name it. But I wanted to post this clip to show that it’s still happening in 2019.
“Yes I could have muted, yes I could have left but no matter what I do as a POC (person of color), no matter where I go there’s discrimination, period.”
Blizzard was thankfully super quick to reacted, and the Overwatch community broadly appears to have rallied behind Rose (aside from the occasional edgelord).
“Thank you and those others who shared this report. While we won’t be able to share any specifics, we did want to let you know that we will be looking into this,” Blizzard said. “We’d also like to encourage anyone who encounters harassment to report it in-game.”
It’s unfortunate that the acts of so few can reflect poorly on the majority, but given the sheer nature and impact of the act itself, it should be used as a lesson on, not only how not to act, but just how much your actions can potentially impact others. Imagine living in such a bubble that what you perceive to be poor Mercy play fuels into a weird notion that race equates to quality of play.
A lifetime Overwatch ban wouldn’t be enough for this player (and those that just giggled along): he needs a lesson in humanity.