Overwatch Game Director on Toxicity: 'If You Are a Bad Person... We Don't Want You'

Overwatch Game Director Jeff Kaplan spoke on behalf of the Overwatch development team on Wednesday in addressing the game's growing toxicity problem.

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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.

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Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty

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      September 14, 2017 9:33 AM

      Hope it works, I pretty much stopped playing as the game has the most insanely awful community I've ever encountered.

      It's the first Blizzard game I've really played though so maybe that shit is more normal for their titles.

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        September 14, 2017 9:53 AM

        Same. Which super sucks because I love the game and it didn't even start out that terrible.

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        September 14, 2017 9:54 AM

        Has been a while since I've played Overwatch, but my guess is you have not played LoL in ranked, and to an unfortunate degree, normals. Some people are straight evil in there.

        In WoW I haven't really encountered awful people, I've just seen that people don't try hard enough in raids. As in, I'll see people give a team one shot on one boss and just leave. Whereas in Destiny no team I've ever played with had anyone give up after one failed attempt.

        Perhaps people playing Blizz games are whinier than usual.

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          September 14, 2017 10:09 AM

          A lot of them are sadly, because there is no punishment for not doing it. In WoW there are lots of bad actors who shouldn't be playing the game at all but Blizzard let that cat out of the bag.

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          September 14, 2017 10:32 AM

          Doesn't Dota 2 have a similarly godawful community?

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            September 14, 2017 10:59 AM

            Somewhat, but Valve's design is that problematic users play with other problem users in a separate queue. That makes games better for normal people.

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          September 14, 2017 11:09 AM

          Wow has plenty of assholes. Wife and I resubscribed when Legion came out and were just trying to get through the story of the expansion. This requires heading into dungeons for Suramar, so we did. As soon as we do, our WoW experience goes to shit. We had a group try to kick me after a single wipe (wasn't my fault) and when that failed they just continued to /spit and act like assholes in group chat. Never would tell me what it was about, though. We were both DPS, I was doing plenty of damage and we finished the instance after they got over whatever bullshit they were flipping out over.

          Another couple days of doing instances with randos just set me off playing the game entirely.

          Life's too short to deal with that.

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        September 14, 2017 10:00 AM

        I had a really fun time once I played with chandler and muted everyone else.

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        September 14, 2017 10:33 AM

        The larger the pool of players the more shitheads float to the top, so it may seem more disproportionately full of assholes than it really is compared to other titles.

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        September 14, 2017 10:34 AM

        It wouldn't be so bad if they actually got rid of the douchebags instead of just giving them slaps on the wrist every so often.

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        September 14, 2017 10:48 AM

        there's no way it's as bad as the LoL community

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          September 14, 2017 11:08 AM

          I was about to say the same thing. Ranked LoL is the worst group of people on earth.

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        September 14, 2017 11:05 AM

        I don't think it's unique to Blizzard or anything else, just something that happens in any team based game with randoms where you are extremely reliant on your teammates to win.

        Even something lighter like Rocket League has a huge population of gigantic cunts spouting garbage. It's inescapable in online games when you don't have your own group of regulars.

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        September 14, 2017 11:06 AM

        That's weird, I actually run into very few assholes in my experience

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        September 14, 2017 4:03 PM

        I dont understand...do you guys have voice chat on? If so you are doing it wrong. Silence is golden

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          September 14, 2017 4:38 PM

          ......

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          September 14, 2017 4:43 PM

          people want to chat in a team based competition???

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            September 14, 2017 5:04 PM

            I never talk to anyone. I have a great time.

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              September 14, 2017 5:09 PM

              I'm sure you do. Other people play team games to enjoy the nature of playing with a team.

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                September 14, 2017 5:13 PM

                You folks like to assume a lot of shit. 2 out my 3 most played are healers. I play them because i like to support my team and keep them alive. I dont need to listen to some fuckface 10 year old Genji on the other side of the map screaming for heals when im on the point keeping the people that matter alive.

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                  September 14, 2017 5:21 PM

                  As long as you don't play comp I got no problems with muting all voice chat. I don't say much in QP either.

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              September 14, 2017 6:10 PM

              Uhg . You're honestly worse than the toxic players

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        September 15, 2017 12:06 AM

        It's funny I mean I played multiplayer games 95% of the time all through most of my 20's and 30's but for the last 5 years I've just pretty much just noped out of them. Almost exclusively single player games now. No regrets.

    • Zek
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      September 14, 2017 10:34 AM

      All online communities require constant moderation in order to not succumb to entropy. Blizzard can do a lot better with banning these people faster, and it's disappointing to not hear any reassurances about that.

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      September 14, 2017 10:53 AM

      They need to make a game or server just for all the shitheels/trolls and cheaters so they can all play together and insult each other and no one will give a shit.

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        September 14, 2017 10:53 AM

        that way, you can still collect money from them.

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        September 14, 2017 11:44 AM

        That might result in the rise of an ultra-toxic player. One powerful enough to lead an army of toxicity back into the main game and utterly destroy it.

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      September 14, 2017 10:53 AM

      I had to uninstall the game. I was part of the problem, the game made me rage like few others have and I was a toxic asshole when I played it. Please understand, I am not blaming the game for my behavior I just realized I can't handle playing it so I stopped.

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        September 14, 2017 11:05 AM

        Even I, a seasoned DotA player (and you will never find a calmer and more tolerant player in general) have found recently that Overwatch is making me angry to the point where I have to step back and take a deep breath and remind myself that it's just a game and I'm better than that shit.

        There's just something about it that makes it infuriating at times.

      • Zek
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        September 14, 2017 11:12 AM

        I have this issue with MOBAs. I don't lash out at people but just silently rage when we're losing. Overwatch I find to be better but I don't play competitive for the same reason.

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      September 14, 2017 11:15 AM

      I really liked the vid. Made me look inward and see that I've been guilty of some of that toxicity too. Going to try to avoid saying negative things in game there.

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      September 14, 2017 11:17 AM

      such a great game too, hope they figure it out. its sort of like TF2 in that it attracts a wide demographic of gamers (lots of anime girls)

      personally I think making koth best of 3 was a good step, make each game less important by shortening the game time -> less tilt. now fix 2CP's 25 min games and we're golden

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      September 14, 2017 2:04 PM

      Great games are generally those that create investment in a situation. Investment often leads to emotion, which means that when things don't go as planned, emotion can turn sour. All the introspection and psychological tools in the world can't stop a good person tilting. The real barrier between rage and abuse is how well someone can filter themselves during a flash of their worst; most people aren't great at it. I don't know that you can solve the issue and still maintain the same investment in the experience.

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      September 14, 2017 2:17 PM

      It got worse the higher I climbed. The highest I got was Diamond and it was incredibly abusive chat. You HAVE to keep voice chat on though and listen for callouts even when the person throws the occasional fit.

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        September 14, 2017 2:25 PM

        Haha yeah, it goes from no convo to more abusive convo as you climb. A buddy was in low silver and almost every game when folks talked, they would win, but the majority were absolutely silent.