Overwatch, a team-based shooter about working together, isn’t always the friendliest of places. From random quitters to that one guy who won’t stop calling me a cuck, players often find ways to be toxic. To combat the issue, Blizzard is now banning players misbehaving on social media.
In a developer update video yesterday, the game’s lead designer, Jeff Kaplan, outlined Blizzard’s effort to combat toxic players who can ruin the game with poor conduct and general douchebaggery. In the game’s earlier days, a confusing system for reporting players made it hard for players to call out bad behaviour. The tone of multiplayer matches varies, but turned more positive last year as Blizzard revised how they handled reported players. In yesterday’s video, Kaplan revealed another trick for policing the game: Checking out YouTube.
“We now proactively seek out social media sites like YouTube, for example and look for incidents of very toxic behaviour and track down the accounts that are participating and action them often times before anyone’s even reported them,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan did not specify which social media sites that Blizzard is patrolling to catch bad actors, nor did he give numbers for how many toxic players the studio found from searching YouTube. Kotaku reached out to Blizzard for details about the program, but had not heard back at time of writing.
Even without the program, things might be improving. According to Kaplan, incidents of abusive chat in competitive matches dropped 17 per cent while players’ reporting of poor behaviour increased 20 per cent. These changes came after the implementation the ability for console players to report unruly players.
While it’s unclear how much of a difference the program will make, it’s definitely a little odd knowing that Big Brother Blizzard might be watching your YouTube uploads. In theory, there’s nothing to worry about so long as you’re not adding another video to your teabagging playlist, but you might want to think again before shouting at Lucio to get on the damn point.