Not long ago, Overwatch was a hallmark of toxicities that are widely used in competitive multiplayer games. People kept trolling and spitting vitriol, while a barebones reporting system did little to combat the tide. Oh, what a difference a few years (and a smartly implemented recognition system) makes.
Overwatch like most competitive games, still has a certain amount of toxicity – or as Blizzard calls it – "disturbing behavior" – but during a talk at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, she said Blizzard developer Natasha Miller has dropped 40 percent since adding two new social features last year. First, there is the endorsement system, where players can reward each other for effective communication, respectful play, and shots. Then there is the Looking For Group, where players can hunt for certain endorsement ranks, hero roles, or communication styles.
The benefits of Looking For Group are self-explanatory, but there are many more endorsements. Miller stated that they are addressing a central (and often misidentified) problem with online games and the Internet in general: the lack of consistent social norms.
"There is a difference between physical and online communities," Miller said (via ). Diversity ). "If you are always late and only do the bare necessities at work, you will not be promoted. You have to watch someone else doing the work to achieve the increase … In online communities, there are usually no consequences for bad behavior and no reward for star players. We wanted the community to have its own reward system.
One of the main goals of the system, according to Miller, was to give players the chance to get back on their feet even after being punished. If you're an idiot or a bad teammate, people stop supporting you and your level of support goes down. This means that you may miss out on rewards such as loot boxes, and you can not associate with some players in Looking For Group. It is natural for players to want to earn a level – and hopefully behave better to achieve that.
"The system makes people more beautiful," Miller said. Since the introduction of the endorsements, the question has been asked as to whether this is true or false nudity, born of a desire to win and watch the numbers rise. But both options are better than any naked nude swamp people, if you ask me.