Overwatch 2 partially rolls back SMS requirement, addresses stability and queues

    
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As we’ve been covering, the Overwatch 2 rollout was a bit of a mess, and it wasn’t just a result of first-day technical burps and apparently malicious DDOS attacks that made devs’ lives much harder; it was also triggered by some unpopular decisions by Blizzard itself. Fortunately, late last night the company took to Twitter, its own forums, and press inboxes to address what it’s doing to make amends.

For starters, players had been deeply upset and suspicious about the requirement to own and link their SMS-capable phone number under the “SMS Protect” tech, which effectively blocked folks without phones (or with prepaid lines). As of tomorrow, “[a]ny Overwatch player with a connected Battle.net account, which includes all players who have played since June 9, 2021, will not have to provide a phone number to play.” The company says this constitutes a “majority of existing” players, though of course if you’re new, you’re still beholden to the policy.

The company further says it’s still working on incorrectly locked heroes and items and complaints about missing player items and data. “Approximately half of reported Missing Item cases are a result of players having not yet completed their account merge,” Blizzard says. “In the other half of reported cases for this issue, things are just taking longer than expected for items from the original Overwatch to transfer and populate in Overwatch 2. […] However, most importantly, in all cases, no player data ha[ve] been wiped or lost.”

And as for the stability and queue issues? Also still in progress.

“Login queues, server crashes, and stability problems are intertwined, so we’ll talk about them together. Players may have been seeing their queue numbers jumping around, going from a small number to a larger number. This is due to there being two queues for players—one through Battle.net, then one through the game itself. This process is usually invisible to players, but was being seen in real time. We have made changes to simplify the queuing process, so players should now only be experiencing the one queue before entering the game.

“There are several areas where we’re working to improve stability. Today we’ve patched a server that is critical to the login experience, and this change has increased login reliability. Beyond queues, we’re in progress with another server update that will reduce the occurrences of players being disconnected once they’re already in game.

“Finally, the player database is being overloaded, which cascades and causes a backup in the login system, which eventually leads to some people being dropped out of queues or being unable to log in at all.

“We’re continuing to add nodes to ease the pressure on the player database. The process of adding nodes requires replication of data, which inherently adds pressure to an already stressed system, so we’re doing it slowly to not cause any further disruption as devs and engineers work through separate issues. We are also currently throttling queues in order to protect the player database as much as we can while we scale—this feels bad in the short-term, but once it’s done, will greatly improve the experience for players across multiple fronts moving forward.”

Source: Press release, official site
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