Online gaming communities always have issues with their player bases being complete asshats, and Blizzard’s insanely popular hero shooter Overwatch is no exception. From launch, the title has been plagued with poorly behaved players making the community a little less than inviting for noobs and rookies trying to learn. Not to say it isn’t an equally shitty place to be for more skilful players, arguably people are more aggressive in putting you down when you’re supposed to be good at the game.
The team at Blizzard have been tackling the issue since day one, dropping the ban hammer on offenders and punishing those caught being overly harsh towards their fellow man. The most recent development in the war on toxic behaviour comes in the form of the Endorsements and Looking-For-Group systems.
Blizzard has reported a 26.4% drop in abusive player chat in America and 16.4% reduction in Korea, with abusive actions being reduced 28.8% and 21.6% respectively as well. Currently, there are no figures reported regarding European activity, however, it certainly looks as if Overwatch’s online player base may have cleaned up their act in order to acquire Endorsements for bonus XP after every match.
The new Looking-For-Group system that matches players looking to play certain heroes/classes with teams currently lacking heroes of those natures, reducing the amount of in-game chatter trying to force players to change character or calling them out for playing a certain hero when they feel they shouldn’t.
Such changes are encouraging, showing that online player interactions doesn’t need to lead to communities becoming hated-filed cesspits, unwelcoming to all but the most toxic and least reputable of players. With such a medium there will always be trash talk and insulting comments made but there’s a fine line between banter and being downright unnecessary, something most players seem to fail to understand. It’s great to see such positive changes and gives hope to us all. Hopefully Blizzard get the balance between Trash Talk and Toxicity just right and the Overwatch community retains the creative and colourful communications that are just insulting enough to be funny, but not cutting enough to be hurtful.