Skip to main content

Blizzard's Overwatch clean-up crew is here to stamp out griefing

blizzard overwatch bans trolls reinhardt01
Griefers, trolls, toxic players of Overwatch beware, as Blizzard is cracking down on bad behavior in its popular multiplayer shooter. It’s promised to invest “significantly,” in its in-game reporting and penalty system and is looking to issue increased punishments to those caught behaving poorly.

One of the biggest challenges faced by any online gaming company is what to do with problematic players. While the majority of players are nice, well-meaning people just looking to game for fun, there are always a trenchcoat-wearing few who derive joy from ruining others. Coming down on this group too harshly though, risks collateral damage, so finding the balance is difficult.

In the case of Overwatch, Blizzard is erring on the side of caution and will be cracking down harder on those it believes are detrimental to the gaming experience. It’s specifically looking to target those who take part in abusive chat, harassment of other players, spam during the game, go AFK intentionally and often, or simply grief their own or the opposing team.

Anyone found to be taking part in such negative activities will first be silenced, followed by suspensions and, for the most egregious offenders, outright bans will be implemented.

These more rounded punishments are just the first step in Blizzard’s attempt to clear up the game. In the coming months, it plans to implement new features based on player feedback. These include scaling competitive season bans, a new notification system that will alert players when their report has been actioned, as well as analytics to look at abuses of the report system.

Blizzard’s announcement also detailed a new reporting system that was in the works for console players, stating that it and several other anti-griefing tools were currently undergoing internal testing at the publishing giant. Essentially, it’s looking to build parity with the console system with what is currently in place on the PC, making sure that no matter where you game, there’s a way to stop the trolls from taking over.

Overwatch isn’t the only game to have instituted a crackdown on negative gamers as of late. Valve recently banned as many as 40,000 people from Steam, following post-Summer-Sale cheating.

Editors' Recommendations

Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
Counter-Strike 2 could succeed where Overwatch 2 failed
Soldiers in Counter-Strike 2 key art.

In 2023's most surprising news so far, Counter-Strike 2 is coming. The competitive shooter isn't just a follow-up to the massively popular Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but an upgrade to that game using the new Source 2 engine. A beta is already underway, with the full game scheduled to come sometime this summer. With how Valve is handling the project, I can't help but think of how Blizzard rolled out its own recent shooter sequel: Overwatch 2.

Both games are highly popular, competitive, and live-service style games with a heavy emphasis on cosmetics for monetization that have highly dedicated communities. The biggest similarity -- and also criticism in the case of Overwatch 2 -- is the fact that both sequels retroactively replace their predecessors, forcing everyone to upgrade to the sequel whether they want to or not. This is a relatively new concept in gaming, where older versions of online games become entirely inaccessible and Overwatch 2 didn't inspire a lot of confidence in it being a beneficial trend. That said, Counter-Strike 2 is already in a perfect position to succeed in all the ways Overwatch 2 failed.
If it ain't broke
In normal circumstances, a sequel is a developer's opportunity to iterate and make alterations to the core of the game that came before. Obviously, there's a limit to how big these changes should be -- a shooter shouldn't suddenly become a 2D fighting game -- but a combination of new features being added and old ones being removed is expected. That becomes a much trickier proposition in this new age of sequels where the new version is the only option. In the case of Overwatch 2 and Counter-Strike 2, players don't have the luxury of being able to keep playing the old version they loved.

Read more
Overwatch 2 removes Mei for at least 2 weeks due to ice wall exploit
Overwatch movie

Blizzard confirmed that it is temporarily removing Mei from Overwatch 2 until November 15 due to a bug discovered related to her Ice Wall ability.

Read more
Overwatch 2’s item prices are the scariest part of its Halloween event
Overwatch 2's Witch Kiriko posing with a broom.

Like many live-service games, Overwatch 2 is dressing up for the holidays. Special events tied to real holidays are common today, as they can bring some fun, limited-time flair to a game. This month, plenty of games are going orange and black for the season, bringing pumpkin spice and scares into players' favorite experiences. It's a cause for celebration, especially for those who particularly vibe with the whole October spooky season aesthetic.

Overwatch 2 Halloween Terror Seasonal Event Trailer 2022

Read more