Hello heroes! We’re back with news from the Defense Matrix team, covering our latest efforts to bring a positive and fair gameplay experience to Overwatch 2. We've been taking big steps to help discourage and remove disruptive behavior and cheating and wanted to share more details with you.
Hold on, what is Defense Matrix? We’re glad you asked! Defense Matrix is the name for our collection of efforts to quell the cheating, disruptive chat, and griefing issues that negatively impact many multiplayer video games, including Overwatch 2. These efforts are the product of a dedicated task force of developers, researchers, and community experts, all working to improve our existing systems while finding new ways to counter disruptive behaviors.
Guided by two core principles, we strive to keep Overwatch 2 a positive player experience. The first is Fair is Fun, meaning all players should have the same level playing field when it comes to the game. The second is to foster a Safe and Inclusive Social Experience, working to prevent and discourage disruptive and unwanted behaviors from players.
Improving Text Chat
Text chat is one of the most basic ways players communicate with each other in-game. Previously, there were three text chat settings: Unfiltered, which did not have any restrictions, Mature, which allowed for more “adult” common language, and Friendly, which removed any words identified as obscene, vulgar, or offensive. Starting this season, we are removing the Unfiltered text chat option from the social menu, since this allowed harmful language and phrases that have no place in our community.
We recommend you use the Friendly setting if you want to avoid seeing inappropriate and disruptive language that we commonly filter. All new players start with this as their default text chat setting.
The Mature text chat option permits some vulgar words commonly seen in open communication in any team-based online game that, in many cases, are considered acceptable when not used to insult or harass other players. Players who had their text chat filter set to Unfiltered have been moved to Mature.
Regardless of which setting you decide to use, it’s never acceptable for anyone to direct disruptive chat toward other players, no matter what language is used. Our filters are constantly updating, but so is the online culture lexicon. If you see anyone using any offensive language that is not being filtered, or anyone working around our filters using altered or misspelled text, please report them in-game for disruptive communication. For all platforms, you can find the report option in the social menu. If you play on a PC, you can also right-click the username directly in text chat.
Expanding Disruptive Voice Chat Detection and Actioning
We’ve talked previously about our use of machine-learning algorithms to help identify, transcribe, and verify reports of disruptive voice chat. We’re proud to have this running effectively in most regions, and we’ll continue rolling this out worldwide in all in-game supported languages. We've seen this technology correct negative behavior immediately, with many players improving their disruptive behavior after their first warning.
Your reports make a difference! If you encounter disruptive voice chat, please report it as quickly as possible, as this increases the likelihood that the disruptive voice chat is captured, transcribed, confirmed, and appropriately actioned.
Cracking Down on Inappropriate Naming
Names matter. What we choose to call ourselves in-game is an important part of playing the fantasy we want. But sometimes they can be disruptive too. We’re working on quickly identifying and removing inappropriately named custom games and BattleTags.
If you encounter inappropriate custom games, please report them directly via the mode’s information panel. Custom Games deemed inappropriate will be removed and cannot be created the same way again, and actions will be taken on accounts that maliciously post inappropriate Custom Games.
Along the same lines of inappropriate naming, utilizing user-generated content features like Custom Games to advertise services violates our in-game Code of Conduct. In effort to get rid of such cases, we’re increasing the requirement for new accounts to be able to name Custom Games up to 25 unranked or arcade games played.
Combating Cheating at its Source
Cheaters are never fun to play with, and we have a zero-tolerance policy toward cheating and botting in Overwatch 2. Since Overwatch 2’s launch, we’ve detected and banned over 250,000 accounts for cheating.
We’re continuously refining our anti-cheat detection and prevention systems to strengthen the game against cheating and botting. Your reports help us identify new cheat programs as well as cheating players, so please keep reporting!
No More Benefitting from Cheaters
We’ve previously shared that we take action on accounts that conspicuously group with cheaters in an attempt to benefit from the cheating. Already, we’ve suspended and banned thousands of accounts verified as grouping with cheaters. The rollout of this system in regional tests has proven successful, and we’ll be expanding to new regions worldwide.
If you see something suspicious, please continue to report the cheaters and not others on the cheater’s team. Once the cheater is correctly identified, we’ll take action on the players grouped with the cheater separately as necessary.
The Value of Reporting
Okay, but does my reporting really matter? Yes! It’s important to report disruptive behavior as you see it. Along with our continued development of the Defense Matrix, your reports help verify consistently disruptive players, as well as help us to identify emerging trends in disruptive behavior as the culture in online games continues to evolve. And to make sure you know just how important your report is, we’re working to improve timely feedback on your reports, such as providing more consistent log-in notifications when your reports result in successful actions against misconduct. When you see that notification, a player you reported has been actioned for their disruptive behavior so that you can see the positive impact of your reporting. Keep up the good work!
Thank you, heroes, for your continued efforts to help us keep Overwatch 2 a fun and fair game for everyone to play!