There’s an old saying (extremely old) that says “one bad egg can spoil the bunch”. If you’re over the age of 35, your grandparents probably used this term. Essentially, it means that one bad person can spoil something for everyone. You might remember your school days where one of your classmates wouldn’t admit to their wrongdoing, and the entire class got in trouble. Well, that is kind of what is happening at Blizzard. They have been dealing with toxic behaviour, which is slowing development on Overwatch.
In the latest Overwatch developer update video, called Play Nice, Play Fair, Jeff Kaplan addresses an issue which has been plaguing the Overwatch community for some time. Which is a lot of toxic behaviour. So Kaplan wants to know what the company should be doing about it, and what the community can do about it collectively. It’s no secret that Blizzard has been fighting a battle with toxic Overwatch players and, as a result, is toughening its stance on bad behaviour. Last month, in an Overwatch forum thread, Kaplan laid out a roadmap for tackling unsavoury behaviour during the game. Blizzard also introduced a much-needed “report” feature to its consoles.
Kaplan says “The bad behaviour is not just ruining the experience for one another but the bad behaviour is actually making the game progress at a much slower rate”. Despite this, it seems that Blizzard has a lot of work left to do when it comes to combating toxic behaviour. Kaplan admitted the reporting feature on consoles is not perfect, but he’s promised that there will be a lot of improvements coming. Kaplan also wants people to know that they take the reporting feature seriously. He states:
“Today in Overwatch we have taken disciplinary action against over 480,000 accounts, and 340,000 of those were a direct result of players using the reporting system. There’s not going to be a moment where we have a magic patch in Overwatch that makes bad behaviour go away, but it is a continual process that we are very dedicated to fixing and improving.”
This is coming at an interesting time, in my opinion. I don’t know exactly what bad or toxic behaviour that Kaplan is referring to, but I can only imagine. The reason I think this is interesting is because of the amount of hate we are experiencing in the world these days. Some of which is taking place during games, but some of it is happening on our streets and in our political arenas. So is this idea of “bad behaviour” something “new”? Or has it always been around? Obviously, the answer is that it’s always been around, but there are fewer people that are tolerating it. The other theory that I have is that people are just more vocal about what they do or don’t like.
My other big question is who should be taking responsibility for this? I guess this would be similar to someone posting something inappropriate on social media. That particular social media outlet is responsible to remove it in accordance with their codes of conduct. But I guess I just wonder if there’s something more that can be done to help curb some of this bad behaviour? Unfortunately, I’m not sure that there is. Or at least I don’t have an answer, but I do look forward to any kind of development in this area.