We’re back with another update to Defense Matrix, our ongoing initiative to bring a fair and friendly experience to Overwatch 2. This season, we’d like to share our current initiatives, our future goals, and how we can use your help to combat cheating and disruptive behavior in-game.
Since our last update, we've been taking time to better define our goals to deliver on our promise to provide the most fun and fair experience in Overwatch 2 as possible. Part of this goal is to establish guiding principles that help us make those decisions, and we also want to encourage you to adopt those principles when you play Overwatch 2!
Fair is Fun
Our first guiding principle, “Fair is fun,” comes from our belief that cheating is never okay in Overwatch 2. Playing with cheaters is frustrating, robbing everyone of a fun and fair match. Our team will never stop working to identify and protect against cheats, and we’d like to share how you can help!
Reporting is one of the most effective ways of helping us find players who cheat. When you submit a report, you’re shining a spotlight on an issue that could otherwise go undetected. We’re constantly working to find and block new hacks and cheats from Overwatch 2, and reporting helps us to faster track down and action players who cheat.
Stopping the hacks
It’s our responsibility to address players that use unauthorized hacks or hardware that provide an unfair advantage in-game. Since the launch of Overwatch 2, we've penalized over 100,000 accounts worldwide that were found to be using a variety of cheats, including “aimbots” and “wallhacks”—in most cases, these accounts have been permanently banned.
These efforts to stop hacks also include regularly issued ban waves against cheaters, often banning up to 5,000 accounts every week. We also recently issued a significant ban wave targeting popular and widely used hacks. We’ve also taken steps to directly confront unauthorized hacks and prevent them from ever being used in Overwatch 2.
Although these are the recent steps we’ve taken to tackle cheating, our efforts to stop cheating are ongoing and evolving.
Teaming up fairly and honestly
Playing in a group is one of the best ways to play Overwatch, and we want to make sure players do so fairly, but stop those who would take advantage of grouping up with those who cheat. In a previous update, we shared that we would start issuing account actions to players we found to be cheating by grouping up or queueing for games with players who are using hacks or other cheat techniques.
Since we implemented this policy, there have been substantial account actions every week. We hope this encourages players to play fair and not take advantage of cheating, even if they aren’t using hacks directly. We’ll continue to expand this initiative and issue more actions as warranted.
Encouraging skill development
It feels great to win games and develop your skills on different heroes, and soon, we’ll be introducing new ways for you to perfect your skills with your favorite heroes and reward your progress! In the short term, we’re doing this by trying out new Competitive modes each season. As we look to the future, we’re looking for new ways to teach players to develop skills with their favorite heroes.
By providing you with ways to develop your skill, we hope we can empower each of you to rely on your own abilities and feel good about your progress as you climb the ladder in Competitive Play.
Making Overwatch 2 inclusive
While combating cheaters is an important piece of Defense Matrix, another key pillar of this initiative includes our efforts to discourage disruptive behavior in Overwatch 2.
To this end, we’ve made our second commitment and guiding principle, “Foster Overwatch 2 to be a safe and inclusive social experience.” This includes implementing systems that detect, discourage, and prevent disruptive behavior, while also encouraging players to be friendly and positive with their teammates and opponents in every match.
Voice chat update
Shortly after launch, we began using machine-learning algorithms to transcribe and identify disruptive voice chat in-game. These efforts continue to be successful not only in identifying disruptive chat, but encouraging players who are actioned to change their behavior for the better. In many cases, players don’t realize how they communicate to their teammates can be disruptive and immediately correct their behavior after receiving a warning. Overall, we’re happy with the results of this new tech, and we’ll be deploying to more regions and languages in the months ahead.
Preventing disruptive behavior
While responding to and correcting disruptive behavior is important, we also want to work to prevent players from finding new ways to be disruptive. With Lifeweaver entering Competitive Play next week, we’d like to remind you that using abilities to intentionally disrupt your teammates is never okay. We’ve already taken key steps to prevent Lifeweaver’s Life Grip from effectively pulling allies into pitfalls, and we’ll be keeping a close eye to make sure any of his abilities are not used to grief allies. If you encounter anyone using any heroes' abilities to deliberately disrupt your game, you should report them as soon as possible.
However, Lifeweaver is the latest hero to join the Overwatch 2 roster, and many players are still learning his kit—especially in a competitive environment. Making a mistake isn’t the same as intentionally sabotaging a teammate, and we hope that everyone can be patient and kind while Lifeweaver continues to grow among our community.
There are also future steps in the works to help prevent disruptive behavior. In our last update, we introduced client-side streamer protection features to make it difficult for players to use a content creator’s livestream and attempt to sabotage their games. This was a good first step, but we acknowledge there’s more to be done. We’re exploring ways to give players the option to hide their BattleTags from other players in the same lobby.
Positive Play for the Win
Finally, while we can’t control how each of you communicates with each other, we can tell you that it matters when it comes to performing well in your games. Our data shows that players rarely win when they start to attack their teammates.
We can understand the frustration when a teammate may not perform well or play a hero that isn’t effectively contributing to the match. While it’s always a good idea to encourage ideas and strategies with your teammates, it’s not effective to put them down. The one consistent factor in every match you play will always be yourself, so always remember to think about how you can positively contribute to the match, discovering ways to turn disadvantages into game-winning strategies. It may not necessarily work every match, but you’ll always have something to gain when you do.
Your Reporting Matters
We want to close this update with another reminder to encourage you to report.
We also want to acknowledge there was a bug that impacted a portion of our community from receiving notifications when a report they filed led to a corrective action for a disruptive player. We’ve since fixed this bug, and you should receive a notification when your reports result in disciplinary actions. Even if you haven’t seen a notification for players you reported, your report may have contributed to an action and helps us better understand when new disruptive behaviors emerge in Overwatch 2.
It’s now easier than ever to file a report: just identify from the four major categories, then choose the specific reasons for that report. You can still provide additional information which helps us identify the problems from the disruptive player, as well.
We’ll have more to share as we continue to push for more positive player experiences in Overwatch 2. This is a never-ending goal, and we’ll continue to work to develop our systems, rules, and gameplay to foster a safe, fair, and fun experience.
Thanks to all of you who help us make Overwatch 2 a welcoming place for everyone to play together!