Launching a major update of any game is risky. Not only is there a chance that it will break the game and possibly cause loss of service, no, it also carries the risk of alienating the existing player-base. Nevertheless, updates are important, and occasional changes to the way the game is played keeps things fresh. That’s the idea anyway.
Sadly Blizzard haven’t really impressed with their introduction of a new endorsement system, which was rolled out to players on the 26th June. Within just 24 hours fans everywhere were already complaining. While it seemed like a good idea on paper, players have reported that it has lead to people faking nice in the chats. Some feel that this cheapens genuinely nice behaviour, while others may be using it to improve their standing in the community without actually having to change their behaviour long-term.
How does it work?
The idea is simple. Players can reward teammates they’ve enjoyed playing with, awarding a small chunk of XP and raising their overall “endorsement level”.
As with any competitive level-system, such as Overwatch’s ranking system, there has always been a race to the top. This has of course contributed to some competitive smack talk, but there are now claims players are faking pleasantries in order to boost themselves further up the rankings.
But is all bad? While there are definitely lots of complaints, there are also those that have pointed out that this new system really has made the game’s community better and a more pleasant place. Fans can’t decide which it is. Generally speaking, any attempt to make a game’s community less toxic should be applauded. That is not an easy feat to accomplish, and it seems like Overwatch tried its best here.
Despite this, some players have complained that they have been accused of faking nice when they were genuinely just being nice, which of course creates an unpleasant experience for actual nice people. The new system’s highest level is 5, and if you don’t continue to receive praises and endorsements, that level does go back down, so the likelihood of players trying to boost it up at least briefly is very high.
Whether this will continue or not remains to be seen, but there is a very real possibility of this being a short-term problem. Soon enough, toxic players will likely stop caring about this new system and revert to their old ways.
For the time being, the Overwatch community is nicer than it ever has been – how much of that is fake is impossible to tell, so enjoy it while it lasts. Combined with Blizzard’s other attempts to make Overwatch a less toxic environment, this new system may actually change things. Just over 24 hours after its roll-out one thing is certain: Fake or not, this system has had more of an impact than many of Blizzard’s other attempts at fixing the game’s toxicity problem.