Dealing with toxic behaviour is slowing Overwatch development, Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan has said.
In the latest Overwatch developer update video, called Play Nice, Play Fair, Kaplan addressed an issue which has been plaguing the Overwatch community for some time - "the rising tide of toxicity or bad behaviour in the game versus what are we Blizzard going to do about it and what are we as a community together going to do about it".
It is no secret Blizzard has been fighting a battle with toxic Overwatch players and, as a result, is toughening its stance on bad behaviour. Last month, in an Overwatch forum thread, Kaplan laid out a roadmap for tackling unsavoury behaviour in-game. Blizzard also introduced a much-needed report feature to consoles in the game's latest patch.
After explaining the effort Blizzard is putting in to tackle poor in-game behaviour, Kaplan once again appealed to the community to "take a deep look inward". He went on to explain the team is spending "a tremendous amount of time and resources punishing people" rather than working on new game content such as maps, heroes and animated shorts.
"The bad behaviour is not just ruining the experience for one another but the bad behaviour is actually making the game progress at a much slower rate," Kaplan said.
Despite this, it seems Blizzard has much work left to do when it comes to combating toxic behaviour. Kaplan admitted the reporting feature on consoles is "not perfect", but promised there will be "a lot of improvements coming". Blizzard plans to give players more feedback when they report something by increasing the frequency of emails. Currently, players only receive emails about a report they have made if it results in disciplinary action.
Kaplan also wanted to address those who think the reporting feature does nothing, saying this accusation "couldn't be further from the truth". He went on to say the Overwatch team is constantly tuning and adjusting the game's punishment threshold and gravity.
"Today in Overwatch we have taken disciplinary action against over 480,000 accounts, and 340,000 of those were a direct result of players using the reporting system," said Kaplan.
"There's not going to be a moment where we have a magic patch in Overwatch that makes bad behaviour go away, but it is a continual process that we are very dedicated to fixing and improving."