Overwatch has grown exponentially since its 2016 release, but just as with any game of its size, there's always a concern for the community growing too toxic for the wide player base. So how does Blizzard go about preventing a minority of jerks, creeps, and cheaters from allowing the game to grow any further? The latest update looks to address just that.
Game director Jeff Kaplan took to the Overwatch YouTube channel to directly address the Overwatch community. He noted the game's "Report" feature will now be available across all platforms. More importantly, he points out that Blizzard hopes to better indicate when a report has resulted in an action, seeking to eventually respond with an in-game message that action has been taken.
"Our highest level philosophy is, if you are a bad person doing bad things in Overwatch, we don't want you in Overwatch," said Kaplan in the latest Overwatch Developer Update video. "We don't want to create areas for you where just the bad people are in Overwatch. We just don't want those people in Overwatch. Overwatch should be an inclusive game space. It's an inclusive, aspirational universe and the gameplay experience should match what Overwatch is hoping to achieve."
Kaplan first hinted at Blizzard's plans for dealing with toxicity in an Overwatch forum post back in August. This includes encouraging positive behavior in the long-term, but offering some Season 6 changes in the more immediate future.
"For Season 6, we're going to be way more aggressive with boosting/throwing or any sort of SR manipulation," reads the forum post. "We have some very smart people who are getting very good at detecting this behavior and we are actively building systems (and punishments) around SR abuse. Also in the medium term, we have a new series of punishments we're going to try that escalates much more quickly (so you don't have egregious cases like the one you're referencing). Basically, extreme offenders will "strike out" of the game much quicker. As part of these increasing punishments, we're looking to make it so that offenders get blocked from Competitive play much sooner -- more details on this as we get closer."
However, while there are team members working on this issue, Kaplan points out to the community that those team members have potentially been taken away from development on actual in-game features. He does so in hopes that policing toxicity can become more of a joint effort between the development team and the game's community.
For Kaplan's full address, check out the video below.