It’s been more than a month since Blizzard launched the Endorsement system for Overwatch, which allows players to honor each other for demonstrating good athleticism, leadership, or teamwork. on the battlefield. The Endorsement system was originally designed to deal with a major problem that plagues Overwatch matches: extremely “unethical” players, which director Jeff Kaplan had to fix after more than 480,000 accounts were penalized. for inappropriate behavior.
While Kaplan has long emphasized that there is no magic bullet that can make a player better, Endorsement can be a good place to start. In-game chat abuse dropped 26.4 percent across US servers in just two weeks after the feature was introduced, and the number of unhealthy players dropped 28.8 percent in the US. Call it “sportsmanship” or “pretend to be nice” whatever you want, but Overwatch culture is definitely changing.
This change is definitely a good thing. Kotaku senior reporter Cecilia D’Anastasio believes that hostile behavior from teammates only weakens the team’s performance, distracting them from this extremely demanding game. In her case, she stopped playing Overwatch entirely after facing so much gender discrimination by men.
“Personally, I played worse after someone made a bad comment about my gender,” D’Anastasio said. “This happens quite often, because I’m the main tank, contrary to the ‘Oh women only play support’ stereotype. It distracted me and I started thinking about what they were saying instead of focusing on the game. And for competitive multiplayer games like Overwatch, pushing the push-to-talk button feels like a failure in the first place. And as it turns out, many other female players feel the same way.”
And then the Endorsement system appeared, and it changed the game in the eyes of D’Anastasio and many other players. The system is designed as an engine for players to not only behave rationally, but also acknowledge them in other players. Suddenly, you get the titles of “Good Teammate” for playing well and “Sportmanship” for cheering on teammates and enemies, and even “Shot Caller” (Yes. leadership) as you try to command the team and repel Moira or Brigitte.
When Endorsement launches, getting those trophies makes you feel like a useful teammate and be more proud of yourself. Players also began to treat each other better, and help each other through the mic. Bad cases become the exception instead of the obvious. If your teammates think they’re good and give them the title for making the game more interesting, why not turn on the mic?
D’Anastasio also later returned to Overwatch, claiming that the Endorsement system was “decreasing the importance of skill and instead behavior.”
Find the mistakes
While some players are enjoying a more positive experience with Endorsement, others are of the opinion that making the Overwatch community better is a long process. Sabriel Mastin, content creator for Overbuff, thinks Endorsement helps in some way, but she still regularly reports other players for racist comments.
“A system is only as good as the user who feels it is working,” says Mastin. “There aren’t many rewards for being a good player right now other than a high number right next to your name. In short, it’s only been a month, which sounds like enough for a lot of people, but in the long run who knows if they still care about a recurring bonus.”
Some other players don’t even see a benefit at all. Lenore Sterner plays Overwatch on PS4 and is Mercy main, and sexual harassment comments are so common that she compares playing the game in solo mode to being “at a bar.” And it’s not just adults who behave badly. In an interview she said that she hasn’t seen the Endorsement system fix anything, partly because many Overwatch players are still in school.
“We’re talking about a bunch of 10- to 13-year-olds calling people ‘fag’ and ‘cock sucker’ and calling me (usually the only girl in the game) ‘bitch’.” Sterner said. “Calling people ‘fag’ or ‘gay’ or telling them to die is a whole new level, especially when it comes out of CHILDREN’s mouths.”
Sterner also emphasized that these players are not only immature and immature, but also very vulnerable because they are just vulnerable children.
“I don’t know how Blizzard enforces their policies, but the number of players under the age of 13 is quite staggering in an environment that is more conducive to perverts influencing kids than anywhere else. different,” she said. “I think it’s a cultural issue, but I’m not sure how to avoid that when there are millions of players on a bunch of servers.”
After all, D’Anastasio, Mastin, and Sterner all have different views on OVerwatch’s Endorsement system, ranging from 100% approval to complete indifference. But they each agree on one main point: the hostility in the game, especially on the part of women, is not Blizzard’s fault. It’s a bigger problem in the gaming community as a whole.
“I don’t think the design of Overwatch has anything special that makes it more toxic than other competitive online games,” said D’Anastasio. “I do believe that Overwatch has done nothing in the past to limit unhealthy behavior, like many other competitive online games. The player reporting system is not enough. The player doesn’t know when the action took place and can’t specifically tell why someone’s behavior is bad. But now, I feel like that has completely changed, especially with Overwatch’s most recent update. The toxicity of this game genre has dropped a lot, a lot.”
A bigger problem
Overwatch also has some of the bad points of many other FPS shooters, and Blizzard can only fix a major cultural problem to an extent. But even if Endorsement isn’t a solution to many maladaptive behavior problems, it’s certainly still a step in the right direction. Many people have realized that the Overwatch community has become friendlier, or at least less prejudiced against women.
“Ever since Endorsement came out, I haven’t heard anyone ask sexual questions anymore, or constantly scream asking ‘ARE YOU A GIRL?’ (‘YOU ARE FEMALE?’) or asked me if I was a 13 year old kid,” Mastin said.
However, there are still ways to make a lot of improvement. Mastin recommends a guild system, and says her positive experience in GirlGamers and Death Blossoms Discords for girls and other marginalized genders is great at “creating positivity.” They also help players learn more about the game, including tips from Grandmaster Pharah main Fareeha and Mercy streamer EeveeA_. Sterner, on the other hand, just wants Blizzard to admit that the console version of Overwatch has its own problems, too.
Endorsement can’t solve everything. But it does represent an enduring, devotion to confronting hostility in Overwatch. At the end of the day, no one can turn Overwatch into a perfect world where no one loses their temper or says something bad. But Blizzard is trying their best to think about this in a completely creative way. Flaws aside, it’s still working very well, and is clearly encouraging a new way of playing.
“Kaplan has spoken in the past about having a positive mental attitude, and although many members of this community laugh about that comment, unfortunately including many pros and cons, he is right. ,” said Mastin.
According to DotEsports
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