Blizzard is giving Overwatch players one extra slot to stuff toxic players you want to avoid in Competitive Play. For season 12, Blizzard has increased its Avoid as Teammates slots from two to three.
“As promised when the feature was implemented, we have been watching to see the effect Avoid as Teammates has on gameplay and queue times,” a Blizzard representative wrote on the Overwatch site. “After reading feedback and deciphering data, we think adding a slot will help players enjoy their Overwatch experience while keeping queue times reasonable.”
Blizzard implemented the Avoid as Teammate feature in April with the Overwatch Archives event. The feature was in testing on the PTR since late March. Avoid as Teammate is supposed to be a way for players to avoid teammates they don’t gel with, but that haven’t necessarily done anything that’s a reportable offense. Maybe a teammate keeps complaining for you to switch heroes—but not in a toxic way—or just has consistently bad feedback. Don’t report them; just Avoid them.
The developer was afraid it could impact queue times for Competitive Play games, since the game will be actively looking to avoid certain players on specific teams for all six players. It wasn’t necessarily an issue for lower- to mid-tier players, where the majority of the player base stands, but on the peripherals for the highest and lowest bunches of players.
Blizzard will also continue to issue warnings to players that have been avoided a bunch of times. Those players may experience longer-than-average wait times due to the number of players that don’t want to play with them.
Overwatch used to have an Avoid Player button, but it was abused as a way to avoid playing against players that were really good. Avoid as Teammate is a good alternative there, since players want to keep good ones on their team.