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Blizzard Working on Tools to Lower Toxicity

Apparently the Overwatch population can get pretty toxic at times. That's why Blizzard is working to improve the experience for players. It reminds me of my MOBA days. Actually, it reminds me of most times I play online games.

In fact, I hate to say it, but toxic communities tend to creep up and form around any game where players are competitively playing against each other and rely on others to determine how well they perform.


If you're playing a game as a team, you pretty much win or lose as a team. Your weakest link, if pretty darn weak, is often the limit of your team's capabilities.

Sadly, any game relying on those mechanics will struggle with players creating a negative gaming experience.

This isn't just an Overwatch or DOTA thing, though. It's not just limited to shooters. Even last night in a raid finder people were screaming at each other and telling each other to die in a fire and all sorts of wonderful things they would never say without internet anonymity. 

Social features are fine, and I'm sure they might help -- a tiny bit. You can treat those symptoms, but you'll never get close to curing the real problem which is rooted deeply within human nature.

But good for Blizzard for forming strike teams to answer reports and tickets about abusive players. I'm sure it's infinitely more than any other company has done to try and make a better experience for the players. Just don't expect it to work.

  • “Team vs. Team PvP” + “Teams formed at random from solo queue” + “Ranking system” is a perfect petri dish for breeding toxic bacteria.

  • My one comment on this Keen is that even with competitive games, they can still be non toxic if you have a community. If you play on one server back in the old CS days you would get to know the regulars. Then you have Mobas and new fps. No community, resulting in toxic community.

    • Yup, absolutely this. Whether people realize this consciously or subconsciously, protecting your reputation as a nice person in order that people will in turn be nice to you is the best incentive to bite your tongue and not criticize or insult others.

  • I think it really comes down to that weird, transitional period between the game being niche and being popular. When the game is niche, the community generally outweighs the toxic side and is small enough to snuff it out before it becomes something to be worried about. Once a game is popular (i.e. the floodgates open to too many players at once) then the toxic community has a foothold that is a lot harder to eradicate. Whereas before there may have only been a small few (without a real voice) to stomp out, there are now thousands of said people that multiple as soon as you try to extinguish one. It sort of creates a snowball effect that wouldn’t have existed had the player community stayed small.

    My best example of this is Rainbow Six: Siege before it got a resurgence in players. People were [generally] kind to each other and willing to help out new players with strategies and tips. Now that the “floodgates” have opened and the game is popular, Rainbow: Six Siege is one of the most toxic games I’ve experienced lately. It simply came down to the ratio of passionate players vs. the average toxic/immature person becoming a little too skewed.

  • I play a lot of Overwatch and the community is extremely toxic. I appreciate the “punishment” aspects and the upcoming social features that reward “playing nice.” However, in their latest interview (announcing these changes) I think there is too much focus on the toxic community and not enough on how can we change the game and make game design choices that lead to less toxicity. Blizzard needs to look into their own design as well and realize that it is some of their design choices that promote toxicity. Many people have blogged and talked about ways to reduce toxicity but Blizzard needs to step up and focus on that aspect as well.