Overwatch's new tool for fighting toxicity is Avoid as Teammate

Mei cause longer queue times.

A new Avoid as Teammate option is coming to Overwatch "as soon as possible", finally giving us some immediate power to prevent other people ruining our fun.

Maybe you're grouped with a tyrant, maybe you're grouped with someone deliberately working against the team and throwing the match, or maybe you're simply partnered with a pratt. Previously all you could do was report them, if you felt it was a reportable offence, and hope the game didn't group you with them again. But soon you will be able to directly affect the matchmaking process.

To begin with, you will be able to set up to two players as 'Avoid as Teammate'. You'll be able to select this by clicking on their name in chat or finding them in social menus on console. When you've avoided them, they'll be avoided for seven days. After that period you can re-avoid them if you wish.

The reason it's only two players is because mixing Avoid as Teammate into the matchmaking algorithm for everyone has "the potential" to increase queue times.

"There's the potential that this will cause longer queue times for finding a match," said 'Jeff from the Overwatch team' in a developer diary.

"It's highly unlikely at the middle skill tiers ... but it is possible, especially at levels like Grandmaster in smaller regions and off-hours that using the Avoid as Teammate function is going to cause longer queue times for everybody.

"This is something we're going to keep a very close eye on," he added, "and that is why everybody is limited to only [avoiding] such a few number of players. We have systems in place to monitor this. If we feel like we can open it up to more players, we certainly will."

Blizzard will also be keeping "a really close eye" on match fairness via the matchmaker when Avoid as Teammate comes into play.

If you are someone being avoided by a lot of players, you'll get a message when you log in telling you so. Jeff Kaplan said you need to be aware you're going to run into longer queue times if you're in this position because the game "doesn't have a hard time finding you a match, it has a hard time finding you a team".

If you build and queue with your own team while in this position, you should suffer no delays; it's when the game finds you a team delays will come into play. Kaplan thinks this will serve as an added incentive for people to adjust their behaviour. "We think this one will fix itself very quickly," he said.

Elsewhere, stage two of the inaugural Overwatch League season came to a head last night, with New York Excelsior finishing top of the pile in an apparently nail-biting night of action.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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