Back in 2013, when Linda “Brasse” Carlson still fronted SOE’s community branch, she made headlines for making SOE’s anti-toxicity policies very clear. “If we know who you are and you’re abusing somebody on Twitter, we will ban your game account and we will not accept you as a customer ever again,” she told trolls. “It’s not always possible to identify people [in that way], but we take that seriously.” At the time, MMORPG players were divided on whether that was an overall plus for online game communities or a creepy invasion of privacy.
But it’s 2018 now. Times and sentiments have changed, and Blizzard is trying a similar approach now in Overwatch, where toxicity has taken root and blossomed in spite of Blizzard’s apparent efforts to prune it.
In Overwatch’s latest developer update, Jeff Kaplan says fighting toxicity is still a “major initiative” for the studio and that recent additions – like console reporting and suspension warnings – have cut chat toxicity by 17%. Another effective tactic? They’re watching toxic players on social media, particularly in video.
“We now proactively seek out social media sites like YouTube, for example, and look for incidents of very toxic behavior and track down the accounts that are participating in those and action them, often times before anybody’s even reported them or they’ve shown up in any other place. So that’s just one example of us being proactive that I think is going to make a big difference over time.”
In other, far sillier Overwatch news, last week OWL announced a partnership with both T-Mobile and Sour Patch Kids candy.
“As a part of its sponsorship with the Overwatch League, SOUR PATCH KIDS brand—the country’s #1-selling sour candy—will bring fans content that will air during the Overwatch League season-one livestream. Fans on-site at Blizzard Arena Los Angeles also will be able to enjoy a branded experience, digital-board messaging, branded thundersticks to cheer on their favorite teams, and of course free SOUR PATCH KIDS candy at select matches.”
So there you go.