You won’t get banned from Overwatch for playing just one hero—”one-tricking”—but you can get punished if that determination is disruptive.
A Torbjörn main was banned over the weekend for being a “one-trick” player. The player in question says he’s been banned simply for playing only Torbjörn, but others say that his behavior is more than just annoying—it’s disruptive. The issue isn’t preferring a hero: You won’t get banned if you specialize on a hero, but you could get banned if your behavior turns sour when others ask you to switch.
“If you’ve been playing Blizzard games for a while, you’ve probably heard us use the phrase ‘Play nice; play fair,'” Overwatch community manager Josh Engen said in the forum. “It’s like a manta around the Blizzard campus, and it’s a big part of the way we approach situations like this. People tend to focus on the ‘playing fair’ part, but they forget about the ‘playing nice.’ Sometimes that means switching off at your teammates’ request, and sometimes that means working around your teammate’s specialization.”
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In the Torbjörn main’s case, he’s been accused of throwing after another player picked Torbjörn and wouldn’t switch off so he could take over. The behavior is question, then, isn’t even tied to playing Torbjörn—it’s his behavior when not playing Torbjörn.
“The reports that you received are not because you were playing a particular character in Competitive,” a Blizzard Game Master wrote to the Torbjörn player. “They are there because of your refusal to cooperate with the rest of the team, hence the disruptive gameplay suspension.”
Blizzard is currently investigating both sides of the reports and “thinking about how this type of situations affects specialized players and their teammates,” Engen wrote.
“We take both sides of the issue very seriously,” Engen said. “We believe that players should be able to choose their favorite heroes, but playing as a team (which includes building an effective team composition) is a core part of the Overwatch experience. It’s a delicate balance, and we’re still working on getting it right (and probably always will be).”
There’s no clear answer here. Players should be allowed to play whichever hero they want, but is there a line that needs to be drawn? When does specialization turn disruptive? At this point, players don’t need to be afraid of getting banned if they prefer one particular hero over the rest—though it’s important to ensure that dedication doesn’t turn hostile.