Blizzard has been fighting against toxic players for a while now, but how is that fight going? Pretty great actually. The company’s Natasha Miller has revealed that the number of matches with “negative behavior” has dropped by a whole 40 percent since the addition of endorsements, the “looking for group” feature and penalties for prematurely quitting matches.
Players were encouraged to play as a team and stick through the entirety of matches, but also could find teammates who were more likely to complement their skills and gameplay styles. It turns out that this was just the right recipe for success for Overwatch.
The company went so far as to set up a server that helped it find out if players saw the endorsement system as responsible for the drop in hostile behavior, and the perception was “close” to reality, Miller said. So mission accomplished.
Of course, Blizzard’s achievement is not perfect. We don’t know how many instances of toxic behavior there are, and a 40 percent dip still leaves a lot of players causing problems. But it’s a start and it might show other game developers how it’s done. It’s about a lot more than just banning offenders and hoping for the best.
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