Toxic players in Overwatch have drastically slowed the development of content updates, according to director Jeff Kaplan in the latest Developer Update video.

The new update vlog discusses the measures Blizzard are taking to improve Overwatch’s reporting and punishment system, and includes some statistics about how many people have fallen to the banhammer so far.

According to Kaplan, 480,000 Overwatch accounts (not necessarily players, as many may simply repurchase the game on a new account at a later date), with 340,000 of those having been a direct consequence of player reports. These numbers challenge the common belief that using the report function is a waste of time. However, Kaplan also concedes that more can be done within the game to show the impact of reporting, such as by providing in-game notifications on whether action has been taken based on a report you filed.

However, the development time put in to reworking reports and punishments has notably slowed down the pace of content updates and other essential game improvements. Talking about this, Kaplan says,

“The bad behaviour is not just ruining the experience for one another, the bad behaviour is actually making the game progress, in terms of development, at a much slower rate.”

“We need the community to own up to their part of the accountability they have for really creating a great game space.”

Personally, I fell off of Overwatch due to the mass of toxicity it became. People demanding I pick characters they could’ve just as easily have chosen, people telling me to kill myself for minor mistakes, and being called every name under the sun for not following one individual’s tactics to the letter… Overwatch isn’t good enough to have to put up with that. No game is.

That it’s gotten so bad it’s actively harming the development of the game, and requires the director to make a vlog telling people to cool their jets, is just sad. While content updates are always great, nobody is going to care if they quit the game due to all the screaming dickweeds. Here’s hoping Blizzard’s tweaking of the punishment systems helps make things a bit more positive in the future.

Joe is LPVG’s resident hardware nerd. If it’s overpriced and has gaudy RGB lighting, he’s probably drooling over it. He loves platformers, MMOs, RPGs, hack ‘n slashers and FPS, with his favourite games being Mirror’s Edge, Left 4 Dead, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Oblivion and Dead Space. Don’t ask him about his unhealthily large Monsters Inc memorabilia collection. Seriously, just don’t ask…

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