The latest developer update from Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan is all about Overwatch’s toxic community. Despite adding a crucial feature to the console version of the game that gives players a way to report bad behavior, Blizzard is fighting a growing tide of cheaters, griefers, and generally terrible people in their game. The problem is bad enough that Kaplan admits that the team is spending a “tremendous” amount of resources chasing bad actors instead of working on adding content to the game. Blizzard is working on solutions, and warns that it will be an ongoing process that will require the community’s cooperation.
Online toxicity is a problem for any online game, especially if the game is competitive and popular. Overwatch easily qualifies as a magnet for unpleasantness and adds a few more wrinkles by leaning hard into its community’s fascination with the character lore. Take the normally aggressive and immature online multiplayer behavior and amp it up a few notches with a dose of social media politicizing, and the results can be breathtaking. But now you know why it takes Blizzard so long to release new heroes and maps.