Overwatch endorsement system has reduced toxic behavior by 40 percent

Overwatch’s endorsement system has reportedly reduced disruptive behavior by 40 percent.

The endorsement social feature simply rewards good behavior, allowing players to recognize teammates for good sportsmanship, supportive teamwork, and communication. The level system not only rewards players with loot boxes, but ensures that other players can see one's score as well.

At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Blizzard research developer Natasha Miller said that Overwatch’s in-game positive reinforcement encourages consistent and positive play. She explained that it’s been Blizzard’s mission to highlight good teammates.

“If you’re not consistently getting endorsements, if you slip up, you’re not going to get endorsements and your level is going to slip,” Miller explained.

The endorsement level system offers a “path of redemption” for players.

Loot boxes are another incentive. This was an addition that Blizzard was hesitant to implement at first, and loot boxes are rewarded under a less predictable schedule. Additionally, players who slip up during any “randomized checks” won’t receive these awards, Miller said..

Continuing the theme of positive reinforcement, Blizzard started sending "thank you" messages to players who sent in-game reports that resulted in penalties. On the other hand, warning messages were sent out to players who received multiple verified penalties.

“We wanted to give them a chance to change their behavior after we penalized them,” Miller said.

Blizzard spoke to having done plentiful research in the form of focus groups and surveys to try to figure out how to prevent bad behaviors, rather than just waiting to punish those behaviors after the offenses have already taken place and other players have been affected. What Miller found was that many online communities don’t have effective consequences and lack general society’s standard expectations for good behavior.

“The system makes people nicer,” Miller said.

Anti-toxicity AI Minerva fights bad behavior on FaceIT

Nick Johnson

25/Oct/19 22:00

FACEIT, a third-party server provider for several popular multiplayer games, is no stranger to toxicity. Online gamers are notorious for their poor behavior, and third-party clients aren’t exempt...

Romania withdraws from Overwatch World Cup, cites lack of funding

Marta Juras

08/Aug/19 20:30

Team Romania has decided to drop out of the 2019 Overwatch World Cup due to lack of funding and, the team claims, the lack of Blizzard’s support. The coach of Romania’s Overwatch team, Raureanu...

Twitch streamer Cupcake highlights sexist behaviors in Overwatch

Milo Webb

17/Jul/19 18:30

Chassidy “Cupcake” Kaye is a Twitch streamer, the captain of the Central Michigan Overwatch team, a rank 111 peak player, and a recent victim of online sexist abuse. Chassidy uploaded a clip from a...

Racist and misogynist Overwatch game goes viral and Blizzard responds

Jessica Scharnagle

11/Apr/19 22:55

Twitter user @Yes_ItsRose posted a disturbing video highlighting both sexism and racism in a recent Overwatch match. The two-minute video depicts Rose playing Mercy in her match. While trying to...

Former Blizzard Arena employee opens up after company layoffs

Olivia Richman

15/Feb/19 19:03

Activision-Blizzard’s massive employee layoffs quickly became a topic of discussion within the esports community. An anonymous former employee took to Reddit to open up about their experience...