Overwatch’s toxic community is one of the worst aspects of the whole game. Many fans and genuine players are turned off by the number of trolls and toxic players that can be found clogging up the lobbies. Of course, this problem isn’t unique to Overwatch as many games suffer from this type of issue, but what sets Overwatch apart here is that Blizzard is actually trying to do something.
Oftentimes game developers shrug the problem off or write a half hearted message to gamers asking them to be nicer – Blizzard took a more hands-on approach. The recently implemented endorsement system lets players endorse others that were nice, polite, or fun to play with.
Initially, players were skeptical. Complaints of people faking nice for XP were everywhere, but it seems like those people were wrong after all. According to game director Jeff Kaplan, the stats that show the amount of abusive behaviour have gone down dramatically since the features went live in Korea and the Americas.
Looking at competitive matches, the counts of abusive chats went down a staggering 26.4 % in the Americas. While that may not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, it actually does make a huge difference – very few measures like this endorsement program have worked as well as this has. In Korea, the reduction was somewhat lower but still a respectable 16.4%.
The percentage of daily players being abusive has shrunk significantly as well: 28.8% in the Americas and 21.6% in Korea. This is a particularly great development as it is these daily players that made up the biggest part of the issue – infrequent players that behaved abusively simply did not have as much impact.
Stats for other parts of the world aren’t available yet, as, according to Kaplan, he ‘just wanted to share what progress we had’ so far. That’s pretty impressive either way!
Another big change was the ‘Looking for group’ function. It allows users to set specific parameters for their matchmaking! Useful for restricting roles or requiring voice chat, the tool made it easier to find suitable teams and thus made for more enjoyable matches. Bad team selections and lack of team-play were, along with toxicity, two of the bigger issues the Overwatch community suffered from. It’s great to see that the situation here has improved significantly.
Though the new tool could still do with some refining, it is a marked improvement over previous matchmaking options that more often than not saw selfish, unbalanced teams that cost skilled players their victories.
The combination of the two new features has really changed gameplay a lot, and it’s starting to draw back lapsed players – at least if Reddit is anything to go by. Many players quit Overwatch because of the terrible community issues, and some of them are considering coming back – that’s pretty great and more success than most other games have when it comes to correcting toxicity issues. Well done, Blizzard!