A lot of Overwatch players haven’t been on their best behavior.
In a Developer Update posted to YouTube on Sept. 13, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan revealed that more than 480,000 Overwatch accounts have been actioned against since the game’s launch last year. Reasons for punishment in Overwatch vary, but a lot of those actions have one thing in common—they’re the result of other players using the game’s reporting system.
Kaplan said that more than 340,000 of punished accounts were a result of the Overwatch report button.
There’s a serious misconception that reporting players for bad behavior doesn’t actually do anything, according to Kaplan. But the statistics don’t lie: Lots of players have been punished for bad behavior.
The reporting feature in Overwatch still isn’t perfect, though. Kaplan outlined a few steps that Blizzard is taking to adjust how it works. It’s already sending emails to players who’ve reported a player that’s been punished. Letting players know their reports don’t get ignored is a way to encourage player policing. Eventually, more players will begin receiving emails, with the final goal notifying players in-game.
“There’s not going to be a moment where we have a magic patch in Overwatch that makes bad behavior go away,” Kaplan said. “But it is a continual process that we are very dedicated to fixing and improving. You’re going to see things that are visible, like actually changes to the game, and then there are more things happening behind-the-scenes.”
The punishment threshold and punishment gravity, Kaplan said, is constantly being tweaked. The bottom line is, if you’re creating problems in Overwatch, Blizzard just doesn’t want you to play it.
It’s not all up to Blizzard, however. Kaplan suggested players take a look at their own behavior and work together with the community to cut down on toxicity in-game. Have fun playing the game, he said, and encourage others to do the same. And even if you’re not doing it out of the goodness of your own heart, do it for the game development process. Blizzard has to take valuable resources away from “cool features” to work on the reporting system.
“We’ve been put in this weird position where we’re spending a tremendous amount of time and resources into punishing people, trying to make people behave better,” Kaplan said. “I wish we could have put that time into a match history system or a replay system instead.”
Bad behavior is making the game progress slower, Kaplan added.