Blizzard Cracks Down On Overwatch Players Who Farm XP

Jeff Kaplan sees you, Overwatch XP farmers. He sees you, and he's pissed. Well, maybe not pissed, but unusually angry by "glittering ray of sunlight transformed into an eternally patient man" standards.

Recently, some players have taken to creating XP farming servers in Overwatch's new custom game browser. Basically, you join one, pick a hero, and do nothing. Eventually, the match ends, and you get free XP. You can repeat this process infinitely while, say, browsing Facebook or playing a different game, or practising your daring escape plan for when you get arrested on charges of Game Crimes.

Or at least, you could. Now I really wouldn't recommend it. Starting today, Blizzard is taking action, and they're not messing around. Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan explained in a forum post.

"I've seen some discussion in the community and in the press on this topic and sometimes it gets talked about as if it is a grey area," he said. "Is this wrong or is this OK? Well, let me take a grey area and make it starkly black and white for you. Abusing and exploiting Custom Game or any other game mode to earn experience in Overwatch while inactive is NOT OK."

"The reason I want to be absolutely clear about this is because we are going to start to take disciplinary action against people who partake in these activities," he added. "If you create a Custom Game that in any way encourages players to gain experience while inactive, you risk having your account banned. If you join any game mode — including Custom Games — with the intent of gaining experience while being inactive, you risk having your account banned. Also, do not name your Custom Game that in anyway even implies that gaining experience while inactive is OK — please do not even do this as a joke — because you are putting yourself at risk of having your account banned."

And that's just step one. Kaplan revealed that Blizzard figured something like this might happen, and they created an "internal escalation plan" for dealing with it. First, they're issuing bans. They have also enabled an AFK timer in custom games' skirmish mode so that players get booted if they spend too much time inactive. If, however, those measures prove inadequate, Kaplan and co will remove XP gain from custom games entirely. "To fast forward a bit, the end of the escalation plan will result in experience gain being turned off in Custom Game," he said. "I really don't want to see us getting to that point."

So yeah, don't farm XP in Overwatch! You'll get banned and ruin custom games for everyone else. You'll also disappoint Jeff Kaplan, you monster.

"The feature is so much cooler and better for everyone if we do not have to put draconic restrictions on it," he said. "At this point, I am making a plea to you — the Overwatch Community at large: please decide what you want to happen here and be a part of the solution. If you enjoy Custom Games awarding experience then please help us combat the behaviour we're seeing now. Do not create Custom Games with the intent of gaining experience while inactive. Don't join those games. Don't jokingly put those names in your own Custom Games. And report players who are abusing the system."


    "At this point, I am making a plea to you — the Overwatch Community at large: please decide what you want to happen here and be a part of the solution."

    Never going to happen with the current community of gamers. Nowadays the mentality is more "Let me abuse this as much as possible before it is patched, so that I don't have to put too much efforts into the game..."

      "At this point, I am making a plea to you — the Overwatch Community at large: please stop using legitimate game mechanics to potentially deprive us of loot box income."

        Hardly legit lol, they're intentionally exploiting game mechanics.

          Everyone who plays the game is exploiting game mechanics. Blizzard is telling people they can only play a certain way. People who join XP farming sessions are not hurting anyone else's enjoyment of the game. They are only hurting Blizzard's hip pocket.

          If Blizzard changes the mechanics to prevent XP farming, that would be fine. But to ban people who do something that is permitted within the game itself is disgraceful.

            Yeah also not to ignore the fact that these farms exist only because what they're farming was deliberately designed to be incredibly desirable. Blizzard know what they've created.

            Last edited 09/03/17 12:15 pm

              I love the mentality that its ok to pay Blizzard to skip the crate grind because Blizzard are just giving choices to those who may not have time to play all the time but if you get them in another way its people abusing the system because they are lazy.

                Absolutely. I've always been very frustrated with the idea that you can't cheat that kind of thing in a game because 'that's unfair' but you can sure pay for that very same thing.

                Although I do understand the sentiment of 'supporting the devs' but I don't like microtransactions being the medium for that. Also I acknowledge that a black-market for this stuff would show up even if the devs had no desire to sell it. But at least then I could only blame the players.

    [Copy/pasting my comment from the previous article as it's still in moderation after 17 hours..... =\]

    Yeah, I tried to show a mate of mine the new custom modes on PS4 and gave up after all 5 of the games we got into turned out to be asshats setting up matches like 3v6 where the team of three has movement speed, ability charge, damage dealt, total health, etc. turned up to 500% and the other team has speed, ability charge, damage dealt, total health, etc. turned down to 10%. It essentially means that they start a match as a group of three and then grind XP while people drop in, take a minute to realise they've been duped, then drop out again.

    It looks like this won't be punishable either, as they're not AFKing, they're slaughtering anyone who joins as they can't fight back. They stay in the match the entire time, so they still get full XP.

    Reporting doesn't seem to do anything so it's basically pushed me away from playing any of the custom games any more because I can't get in and play as easily as I can with standard modes. It really annoys me that we're lost the Brawl playlist as at least they were fun, constant and counted towards the 9 wins for 3 loot boxes.

    I'd love to set up my own lobbies, but for some reason Bliz decided that spending 30 mins setting up match features every time you want to play is just as fun as playing the game itself and didn't include a way to save your custom presets.

    What if your being active in game by participating in "sexy roleplaying"?

    Your not playing the game but your still there doing things rather than idling....

      A distinction would have to be made over whether occasionally moving/emoting or being active in the chat constitutes 'being afk.' Of course to do so would court farm servers that utilise scripts/macros for keypresses.

    When they changed the Exp progression from once you hit level 1 again the exp would reset and give a easy 20 levels to now it is a constant set of Exp it was annoying as it ruined the whole Wooo i ranked up to meh nothing speical

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