If you’ve played Overwatch at any point since its launch four-plus years ago, you would have surely encountered the community’s unfortunate toxic tinge. Developer, Blizzard, has gone to great lengths to protect law-abiding players, but unfortunately, that toxic tinge prevails.
The developer is upping the ante when it comes to toxic Overwatch players, telling fans it will be ramping up the banning mechanisms and punishments for community members that break the rules.
Stamping out toxicity is a challenge for any game developer: just ask any of Bungie, 343 Industries, Treyarch or Infinity Ward. Blizzard certainly is no slouch in this department either, although its efforts with Overwatch have somewhat gone under the radar.
It started early on in 2017, but the studio let players ban teammates for “poor teamwork”. The introduction of the endorsement system was meant to encourage good play, but has merely turned into an XP farming tool (you’re granted 50 XP for each player you “endorse” after a match). Back in 2018 Blizzard went as far to say that even the introduction of an in-game reporting system wasn’t enough, and that the problem of toxicity is not solved in Overwatch.
Another update has since come from the developer, taking to the official Overwatch forums on September 23 to outline some new proposed changes.
“We will be imposing harsher penalties against players found to be using offensive, hateful, or other similar language that violates our Code of Conduct, including longer periods of silence, longer suspensions, and permanently banning players after fewer repeat offenses,” the Overwatch team said.
What this means, interestingly, is that Blizzard is taking a not-so-lenient approach with players who are reported multiple times for toxicity. Additionally, there will be attempts made to improve the game’s profanity filter and proactively protect other players.
“In order to give players more control over the types of the language they see and the situations in which they appear, we’re making some updates to the profanity filter,” the studio said.
Uniquely, the filter is built around “family friendly”-esque settings, meaning you can alternate between Friendly, Mature and Unfiltered.
“We appreciate your support and vigilance as we continue to work toward addressing these challenging and important issues — the best tool we have is your reports and feedback,” the team said, reiterating that while the filter will help solve the issue, it’s ultimately up to the community to keep reporting nasty players.