Blizzard’s competitive first-person shooter Overwatch has lost a key matchmaking feature following complaints from one of the game’s top players.
According to Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan, Overwatch‘s “Avoid this player” option has been disabled due to rampant misuse, which had prevented professional-grade players from finding multiplayer matches.
“We recently realized that ‘Avoid this player’ was wreaking havoc on matchmaking,” Kaplan explains. “One of the best Widowmaker players in the world complained to us about long queue times. We looked into it and found that hundreds of other players had avoided him.”
Overwatch‘s “Avoid this player” option is normally available as a last resort, allowing players to minimize the chances of being matched with abusive or otherwise disruptive teammates. Kaplan notes, however, that the affected pro-Widowmaker player was avoided by a significant percentage of the game’s userbase “because [players] did not want to play against him, not because of misbehavior.”
Kaplan continues: “The end result was that it took him an extremely long time to find a match. The worst part was, by the time he finally got a match, he had been waiting so long that the system had ‘opened up’ to lower skill players. Now one of the best Widowmaker players was facing off against players at a lower skill level.”
Overwatch‘s Widowmaker effectively serves as a sniper class, allowing skilled players to pick off opponents from afar with little opposition. In response to feedback from the Overwatch community, Widowmaker’s stats were rebalanced in a recent patch, reducing her Scoped Shot damage significantly.
“In the right hands, Widowmaker can often feel unstoppable — even when just landing body shots instead of critical heads shots,” Blizzard acknowledged in its patch notes.
While the “Avoid this player” option is still present within Overwatch‘s UI, the feature is currently disabled. Blizzard notes that the “Prefer this player” feature is “working as intended,” and will remain active.