Everyone knows that toxic players can go a long way toward ruining a specific one overwatch match with trollish play or abusive chat language. But if overwatch Director Jeff Kaplan points out in his latest developer update video that overseeing that kind of bad behavior also impacts the game as a whole by taking developer resources away from creating actual new content.
While the overwatch team is passionate about creating new maps, heroes and animated shorts for the game, says Kaplan: “we spend a huge amount of time and resources punishing people and trying to make people behave better… the experience for each other, but it actually makes the game develop much more slowly.”
As an example of this problem, Kaplan pointed out that the overwatch team members who recently implemented a player reporting system on consoles had to postpone work on creating a match history and replay system for the game. However, it seems necessary to add these tools for console players; so far on PC, more than 70 percent of the 480,000 disciplinary actions taken against player accounts have been “a direct result of players using the reporting system,” Kaplan said.
The new video comes weeks after Kaplan announced that the overwatch team would implement tougher and faster penalties for problem players and notify players when their reports lead to disciplinary action. So far, 20,000 such reports have been sent as part of a pilot test, Kaplan said, to encourage players that their reports are having an effect.
Kaplan reiterated in yesterday’s video that the overwatch team is committed to fighting “the rising tide of toxicity or bad behavior in the game” with continued development. “There won’t be a moment when we have a magic patch” overwatch that makes bad behavior go away, but it’s an ongoing process that we’re very committed to solving and improving.”
But Kaplan also begged the player base themselves to work to bring more positivity into the game and for the “community to take their share of the responsibility they have to create a truly great gaming space.” While he said he doesn’t want to impose “guilt” on players who occasionally let their anger and anonymity get the better of them, players themselves can “play a very important role” in making the game a more welcoming place.
While some other titles separate problem players into their own trolls-only zone, Kaplan was adamant that overwatch would have no room for ‘just the bad people’. The game should be “an inclusive gamespace in an inclusive, ambitious universe,” he said. “If you are a bad person who does bad things in overwatchwe don’t want you in overwatch.”