Overwatch will be removing the option to avoid certain players.

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In theory the feature was created to prevent players from being harassed by trolls. But in the words of game director Jeff Kaplan, "the results were pretty disastrous."

The problem with the "avoid this player" option was that people were abusing it so they wouldn't have to face off against highly skilled opponents. This ended up crippling the matchmaking system Blizzard worked so hard to implement.

"We recently realized that 'Avoid this player' was wreaking havoc on matchmaking," Kaplan stated in a recent forum post. "One of the best Widowmaker players in the world complained to us about long queue times. We looked into it and found that hundreds of other players had avoided him (he's a nice guy - they avoided him because they did not want to play against him, not because of misbehaviour). The end result was that it took him an extremely long time to find a match. The worst part was, by the time he finally got a match, he had been waiting so long that the system had 'opened up' to lower skill players. Now one of the best Widowmaker players was facing off against players at a lower skill level."

"As a result, we've disabled the Avoid system (the UI will go away in an upcoming patch). The system was designed with the best intent. But the results were pretty disastrous."

The removal of the Avoid system should balance things out a bit more, though it will mean you'll occasionally face off against the best of the best. My advice: pretend you're being mentored by one of those grizzled gurus from every hero training montage. (An Overwatch hero has no name.)

"I want to put it out there that there is a lot of room for improvement but also suggest that there are forces in play that cause some fair matches to sway lopsided due to forces out of our control," Kaplan continued. "The game is as much (if not more) art than it is science. We'll keep working to make it better!"

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Jeffrey Matulef

Jeffrey Matulef

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Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984. Based in Portland, OR he operates as Eurogamer's US news editor.

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