It all started with an angry forum post.
Battle.net forum user “SharkyMarky” was clearly upset after a round of Overwatch that probably did not go their way. “Does Blizzard even play their own game??????” SharkyMarky exclaimed in the title of the thread. “Nuff said,” is all their post contained.
Later in the day, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan took it upon himself to respond to the thread. And his response was as cutting as it was informed.
“We play the game a lot,” said Kaplan. “Looking at your profile, I’ve won approximately 800 more games than you have. That’s not counting the daily internal playtests I am in, the time I spent in Alpha and Beta. Did you have a specific question or are you just here trolling?”
The reply was posted to Reddit and blew up in the Overwatch community, with many people praising Jeff for his handling of the post that most deemed as rude. It seemed like that would be the end of this story.
On Thursday night, SharkyMarky made a post on Reddit explaining that the exchange did not end there. Once they filed a support ticket, a Blizzard support member allowed SharkyMarky to convey an apology and explain that an in-game interaction with Widowmaker had them feeling angry.
In response, Kaplan actually reached out to SharkyMarky to apologize—and even gifted him a year subscription to World of Warcraft.
“So first, I’m sorry for calling you out publicly on our forums. It was unprofessional and lacked good judgement on my part,” said Kaplan. “On a personal level, I get frustrated and annoyed when people take “shots” at us without actually stating what their issue is. How are we supposed to act on feedback if the feedback is nothing but an insult? We get tons of feedback each day that we both agree and disagree with, and we love hearing it. But it’s super demoralizing to us to simply get insulted. To imply that we don’t play our game or that we don’t love our game is just straight up false.”
Kaplan went on to talk about Widowmaker balance and suggest that buffing her Venom Mine is something that they have considered.
“I’m really sorry I replied the way I did and I hope it hasn’t brought any unwarranted attention from other players to you,” Kaplan continued. “If anyone is harassing you, please let me know.”
SharkyMarky went on to say that the conversation continued after that, and how grateful and thankful he was for Kaplan’s apology. SharkyMarky suggested to Kaplan that he could maybe trade the World of Warcraft subscription for a Noire Widowmaker skin since he didn’t play the game. Kaplan later applied the skin to SharkyMarky’s account anyway, suggesting that he “become a hero” by gifting the subscription to someone on the World of Warcraft forums.
In the end, kindness won out, and an angry gamer turned into an enlightened one with a newfound respect for Kaplan. And Kaplan’s legacy as a fan favorite in the industry has only been furthered.