Blizzards’ Toxic Overwatch Environment.
Blizzard needs to get it together.
In Overwatch, Blizzard has created an environment conducive to toxicity. Instead of removing the players that cause the toxic environment, Blizzard have decided to remove the players who inevitably get frustrated with the toxicity, and voice their opinions in an understandably explosive manner.
The real toxic players in this game aren’t the swearing, cussing bunch. Even if they were, there are filters in place to deal with that. It’s not a problem.
No, the real toxic players are those who refuse to play with the team.
It’s a team game. Teamwork is crucial to victory.
But every single game you get stuck with a Healer who thinks they’re a DPS and refuses to heal, a Tank who wants to help the enemy team by feeding, or the DPS who can’t hit the broad side of a barn yet continuously pick Widowmaker or Genji, or sometimes both.
It Is Impossible To Avoid Toxic Players.
There are next to no measures to avoid these toxic players. You can avoid at most 3x players per week, which is so insufficient it beggars belief. Does Blizzard really expect you will only encounter 3x toxic players per week? 3x per match would be a closer estimate, especially in the lower ranks.
And these players are found in every game mode, from Comp, QP and Mystery to the fanmade Creator Maps, there are toxic players everywhere.
ELO HELL, And The People Who Keep You There
Some might say “gitgud”, but there’s no gittin’ gud in the lower ranks my friend. Ohhhh no. Here’s where the crux of the point becomes relevant, because in the lower ranks it only takes one person to bring the whole team down.
Down in the Sub-Plat ranks, a single person ignoring the basic rules of the game will nearly always guarantee failure, unless the opposing team is blessed to have a similar toxic player.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand there are people who are learning the game, or trying out a new hero, or who have no hands and are playing with their feet, etc. I’m not talking about those sorts of players. I’m talking about the unrelenting, obnoxious little throwers. You know the ones I mean, you can tell them by their positioning. It’s generally about 30ft in front of the rest of the team, and dead, encircled by the opposition.
It’s a team game, you have no choice but to rely on your teammates. But there’s always that one person who confuses Overwatch for Doom, and thinks they can take out the entire enemy team on their own, resulting in a quick loss. There’s no carrying when your tanks are feeding, your healers are DPS’ing, and your Widow is trying to 360 no-scope every shot.
The result is always the same. You get a match that was shorter than the queue time, and some little twerp on your team blaming you for their 1v6 attempts not working. If ELO Hell exists, these players are most certainly the many heads of ELO Cerberus.
Blizzard Encourages Toxic Behaviour
Imagine playing a game of Soccer, and having your goalie run down the field, ball in hand, and tries to throw a goal every single time they get it. How long are you supposed to grit your teeth and bear it? How long do you think it would take for you to snap at them? The more it happens, the shorter your fuse becomes.
You would expect the Referee to do something about it. Well, Blizzard is the Overwatch Referee, and what does Blizzard do about these toxic players that throw every match they’re in?
There is no system in place to remove these types of players. There’s not even a category to report them. There’s no penalty for throwing, for feeding, for tilting, or for refusing to play your role. Blizzards inaction and wilful ignorance can be taken as consent for players to behave like this, which only emboldens them. They know they can behave like this and get away with it.
The result is that the game is no fun, and any solution is left entirely in the hands of the players. They’re not in the game to win, or to play, they’re there to annoy you. That’s their joy.
And due to the inadequacies of Blizzard at controlling this toxic player base, the average player is left with limited courses of action. They can babysit the thrower, reason with them, ignore them, or tell them exactly what they think of them.
- Babysitting only works if the team is grouping up, and that never happens because your toxic player isn’t going to wait. In they go, on their own, and the trickling begins.
- Reasoning with them works about as well as trying to reason $50 away from a meth-head. They either start having a go at you, or ignore you, but either way, they’re not going to help the team out. It just doesn’t enter into their minds, that in a team game the team needs to work together.
- Ignoring them comes next, but again, this doesn’t help. Your team are getting frustrated, you are getting frustrated, everyone is wracking their brain trying to figure out how to deal with this deadweight you’re collectively carrying. If you’ve got two problem players on your team, ignoring them is out of the question, simply because it doesn’t work.
The Only True Recourse Of The Player
And so, like any rational person who spent money on a game and was subjected to this manner of infuriating behaviour everyday since launch, you call the problem player out.
You point out to them that their selfish gameplay style is ruining the game, and that they’re behaving like a fool. You don’t do this politely, because they have gone out of their way to exhibit rudeness, and should be dealt with in the same manner. You let them know exactly what you think of them. This is the only recourse of the player, as the ability to kick and permanently avoid these players doesn’t exist.
If the player doesn’t relent, you’ve got only one option available to you.
Once this point is reached, everyone on the team can be forgiven for unleashing as creative an expletive-laden rant as they can conceive. And many of you will understandably choose this option. You’ve paid for the game, you’ve been playing for years trying to squeeze out any fun that you can, and game after game you have to suffer at the whims of toxic players who think ruining your game is fun. What else can you do? Blizzard won’t deal with it, so it’s up to the players. There’s no other recourse provided.
But this is where Blizzard FINALLY decides to step in, and in true Blizzard fashion, blunders everything.
Blizzard just doesn’t get it
Blizzard won’t step in to deal with these problem players, but they will step in and mute, suspend or ban the players who try to do something about it. Even though a mute option exists for players, and a language filter, Blizzard still feels the need to step in and protect people from naughty words.
Instead of dealing with the problem, Blizzard decided to deal with the symptoms, and remove the players who are rightfully upset with these toxic players instead of toxic players themselves.
Blizzards definition of toxicity doesn’t extend past “naughty words”, because they just don’t get it.
The naughty words are the player response to the toxic environment Blizzard has created and failed to deal with, and as much as I swear when I stub my toe, so shall I swear when toxic players ruin my game.
Blizzard has created an environment that breeds toxicity, then protects toxic players and punishes those who are fed up. You can’t beat a dog and then get indignant when it bites.
The Obvious Solution
Resolving a problem as big as Overwatch’s toxicity issue is fairly simple if you’re willing to put in the work.
Blizzard can either deal with the toxic players, or allow the rest of the player base to get away from them.
A simple report category of “not a team player” or “not playing the role”, with a back-end cursory glance at the players gameplay statistics, can show how toxic a player really is.
Does your Ana do more damage than healing, and let teammates die? Does Genji only do damage during a nano-blade? Is your Rein spending more time going over cliffs than protecting the team? Is the player not in voice comms in a competitive match?
Is this gameplay typical across multiple games?
If so, you’ve got yourself a toxic player, and they need to be dealt with. But what to do with them?
COD: Warzone’s method for dealing with cheaters (sending them off to the Cheater-Realm) is an interesting idea, adapting it to Overwatch’s toxic players wouldn’t be difficult. If you’re toxic, spend a week in the Thrower-realm.
Or, the age old solution is to suspend or ban their accounts.
How about the ability to kick the player? Some might say it might not be a great idea in Comp matches, but I say you’ve never seen the feeding a Hamball can do. Sometimes 5v6 is better.
Either way, something needs to be done to deal with these toxic players, or the people who just want to play the game will keep taking matters into their own hands.