Overwatch has serious issues with toxic players, and in current months, these issues only seem to have gotten worse. Blizzard swears up and down that it’s working to enhance participant habits, however in response to recreation director Jeff Kaplan, these efforts are taking a direct toll on different points of the sport’s growth.


In a brand new video, Kaplan defined that poorly behaved gamers have basically poured poisonous goop into the works of the Overwatch staff’s growth machine, slowing down the creation of different options.

“We want to make new maps, we want to make new heroes, we want to make animated shorts,” Kaplan stated. “But we’ve been put in this weird position where we’re spending a tremendous amount of time and resources punishing people and trying to make people behave better.”

He then supplied a concrete instance: the current addition of a reporting feature on consoles.

“I wish we could take the time we put into having reporting on console and have put that toward a match history system or a replay system instead,” he stated. “It was the exact same people that had to work on both, who got re-routed to work on the other. The bad behavior is not just ruining the experience for one another, but the bad behavior’s also making the game progress—in terms of development—at a much slower rate.”

That’s unlucky, but additionally a purposeful reporting system ought to be absolutely the baseline so far as anti-toxicity and harassment instruments go, and Overwatch already had one on PC. Gamers have been justifiably perplexed that Blizzard took so lengthy so as to add one on consoles, which makes Kaplan’s remark right here come off as weirdly combative given how a lot Blizzard dropped the ball earlier than lastly addressing the problem.

Within the video, Kaplan acted like participant toxicity was this sudden, disagreeable difficulty that the staff is barely now confronting out of obligation, although numerous different video games have handled and proceed to battle the identical issues. It’s not like that is new. If you happen to’re operating a large-scale multiplayer recreation within the yr 2017, it’s par for the course, and sources ought to be allotted as such. It’s worrisome to listen to someone in command of one of many greatest video games on the market speak this fashion. This mentality is, I might wager, a part of the rationale issues have been capable of get so unhealthy within the first place.

The remainder of the video is odd. Regardless of it ostensibly being in regards to the Overwatch staff’s plan to battle “the rising tide of toxicity,” Kaplan solely evenly touched on concrete plans. He talked about that individuals who’ve filed studies at the moment are getting notified when Blizzard takes disciplinary motion towards gamers, although it’s solely a “pilot program” in the mean time. He hopes to inform folks extra ceaselessly sooner or later, in order to guarantee them that hitting the report button doesn’t simply open up a chute and toss all of your exasperated rage into the void.

For a lot of the video, although, Kaplan simply spoke in generalities about why toxicity occurs on-line (anonymity, and so forth) and advised that duty for preventing toxicity rests on the shoulders of the group. “The community needs to take a deep look inward,” he stated. “Think about all the times somebody’s said something negative to you in the game and imagine now if somebody had said something positive to you instead. There’s a way to spread positivity that I don’t think is really prevalent right now.”

To an extent, he’s proper: if the group’s decided to be a bunch of garbage-spewing rage weasels, even Blizzard’s finest techniques gained’t have the ability to do a lot. It’s fairly clear, although, that almost all gamers want to simply benefit from the recreation and be first rate to 1 one other. Kaplan didn’t actually need to spend a lot time laying this all out. In gentle of how a lot folks have been begging for clearer, simpler reporting instruments and the way little has modified to date, the video comes off as alternatively defensive and never notably reassuring, given how imprecise most of it’s.

The weirdest half is that Kaplan has outlined particular adjustments to reporting and punishment that the Overwatch staff is hoping to implement within the coming months, albeit weeks ago in a forum post only a relatively small portion of the player base saw. There, he talked about how the sport will quickly solely punish folks with suspensions and bans (no extra silences), incoming aggressive perma-bans for repeat offenders, punishments that escalate into bans extra shortly, and harsher punishments for SR boosting and match throwing, amongst different issues. I’m undecided why he didn’t point out extra of these issues right here, as they really sound like small steps (if not big leaps) in the appropriate route.