Overwatch’s New Social Features Succeed in Cutting Down Toxic Behavior
A few days ago, Overwatch’s Game Director, Jeff Kaplan, has happily announced a successful decrease in inappropriate behavior within its community.
A few weeks ago, June 26th, Overwatch announced a new social feature with the game named the “Endorsement” system. This new function allowed players to send an endorsement to teammates that they believed have performed well, worked nicely and has shown an overall positive attitude towards playing. This works in parallel to the “report player” system which is designed to let players report disruptive and inappropriate behavior from other players. Jeremy Craig, Principle Game Designer says, “Endorsement give players a chance to acknowledge other players for giving them a positive gaming experience”.
Also included in the patch was an LFG function which allowed players to find others with similar interests or pertain to their certain play-styles. This allowed more organise match-ups that let players form their own team to their liking without risk of attracting those that are likely to cause conflicted interests.
The effect of these new functions has a had a strong impact within the Overwatch community. It has been felt all over the world, with substantial decreases in inappropriate behavior in all major locations. Competitive matches have had abusive behavior brought down by a total of 26.4 percent in America and 16.4 percent in South Korea. The percentages of players that have been abused during the game has also seen satisfying reduction, with 28.8 percent in America and 26.1 percent in South Korea.
These differences were all accounted for after the release of the patch. Jeff Kaplan says “We’re really pleased with the community’s efforts to make OW a better place!”. He continues with saying, “we’ll keep working on iterating on these features to make them better as well as exploring other systems to improve the gameplay environment”.
Overwatch, for some time now, has been the center of much controversy surrounding the debate on its community being “toxic” and “elitist”. With some competitive Overwatch players being banned from tournaments for inappropriate conduct and signs of misogyny shown towards female players. As of now, it’s nice to finally have a proven effective method on establishing a more wholesome and kinder gaming experience.