The newest Overwatch patch has come out and, according to the patch notes, makes some rather large changes to the way communication in the game works, at least on Xbox One.
The Xbox One has a reputation system for profiles where players can be reported for poor behavior on a system level, independent of Overwatch’s own reporting systems, which are coming to consoles soon. Get reported for bad behavior enough and your reputation drops to “Avoid Me,” outright saying that other players should not engage with this account. Blizzard is now using this designation to cordon off players from communication.
While accounts with “Avoid Me” status can still play with everyone else, their voice chat in the game has been disabled. From the patch notes:
- [XB1] Players whose Xbox Live reputation has been downgraded to “Avoid Me”
will remain in the same matchmaking pool as other Overwatch players. Howevers, they will no longer be able to use the in-game voice communication
This seems to be the first major step in curbing online toxicity since Blizzard announced that as a focus last week. It remains to be seen if they plan to do anything similar on other platforms.
As far as additions go, this patch brings the new map Junkertown out of the PTR and makes it publicly available for everyone. The map is home to Roadhog and Junkrat and possibly teases some other new characters in its posters, though that obviously remains to be seen. A full list of patch notes can be found here for people who want to dive deep.
While combating toxicity is, at this point, seemingly very necessary for Overwatch’s long term growth, the Xbox reputation system is easily gamed. There really is nothing stopping people from bombing a winning player’s reputation except for the honor system.