It’s a never-ending battle, but Overwatch developer, Blizzard, is hard at work to stamp out cheating in the competitive landscape. It hopes its new anti-cheat measures will effectively keep cheaters out of Competitive matches.
Speaking in its most recent developer update, Overwatch game director, Jeff Kaplan, detailed how the Blizzard team has implemented an “improved detection for cheating” in Overwatch, and that it was currently being put through its paces on the PC PTR.
“We will automatically shut down a match where we detect cheating is happening and we will make sure nobody on either side of the match is penalized for that match being shut down,” Kaplan said.
It’s an interesting and certainly most-necessary approach to cheaters, with the community growing increasingly frustrated at the (seemingly) lack of consequence for players cheating in competitive matches.
Most cheaters take advantage of tools such as Aimbots to nail headshots from pretty much any location and under any scenario, making it increasingly difficult for other players to be effective during a match.
The anti-cheat measure has been used and tested on the PTR recently, and the Overwatch community has been shared images and thoughts as to how the system work.
As you can see in the above image, a pop-up appears telling players in the match that cheating was detected, that the cheater has been banned, and that the ban has effectively ended in a draw with no win or loss marked against your record.
“We think this is the next evolution of cheat detection in the game,” Kaplan said.
Currently, the only way a player can counter perceived cheaters in a match is by reporting them using the in-game “report” system. On console this is rather difficult, as the time taken to actually type out and detail why you’re making the report, makes it difficult for there to be any real hope for consequence or investigation.
Kaplan detailed that the update will be available “in the coming weeks”, although it’s difficult to tell if he meant that for the PTR, or for the live servers. Given these developer updates are likely recorded days or potentially even weeks before they’re released, and given the anti-cheat measures are already on the PTR, we can assume that’s what he was talking about.