Overwatch’s New Anti-Abuse System Is, Well, Open to Abuse

A screenshot of Winston in the middle of his Ult, showing the rage of abuse crazy gamers

Overwatch’s anti-abuse system has required a rework for a little while now, and according to a post on the Overwatch subreddit, we’ll be seeing a new and improved system sometime in the near future.

The new system will allow gamers to report abuse for the following:

  • Spam
  • Abusive Chat
  • Cheating
  • Griefing
  • Inactivity
  • Bad Battletag
  • Poor Teamwork

There are specifications and guidelines for these behaviours, however, and the in-game text specifies that players should not recognise “poor teamwork” as “playing a hero that is not considered optimal by the community or staying silent in voice chat.”

I for one am glad that Blizzard is overhauling their anti-abuse system, especially considering the recent release of Orisa, who will take some time to find her footing in Competitive play, once she is released there. However, I can’t help but wonder if the new system will be abused and misused by players once it’s released.

For example, it’s really quite hard to quantify some of these abusive habits, despite Blizzard’s attempts to help guide you with in-game text. Things like inactivity seem obvious enough to spot, but what if someone is waiting around a corner, or takes a few seconds to adjust their settings in spawn? Do these things count as inactivity if someone reports them, or will they be considered to be beneficial to the team? What if you don’t pick a second healer or tank, because you know you won’t perform well as the characters everyone wants you to play? Does that fall under the exclusion of “not being considered optimal by the community”, or will Blizzard think you’re nothing but a filthy Hanzo Main who needs to be banned to the farthest, darkest reaches of The Void? What if you don’t respond to a teammate’s query because you’re focused on capping a point? And what counts as a “bad” battletag? I know Blizzard doesn’t want you to swear or give away any personal information, but I’ve seen plenty of players with words like “cancer” in their tags. Would they be banned or otherwise punished for these?

It’s all very difficult to actually pinpoint and quantify what counts as abuse and what doesn’t, and I’m worried that those loud, obnoxious people who always tell everyone how to play the game (whilst being pretty bad and entirely unhelpful themselves) will benefit from the new system. I do appreciate Blizzard taking a larger stance against in-game abuse though, and I hope that with some tweaking (and some further explanation into what constitutes abusive, toxic behaviour and what doesn’t) that this new system will help Overwatch to become a better gaming experience for everyone.

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