According to Kaplan, these player-reporting tools and increased warnings have helped reduce "incidents of abusive chat" in competitive play by 17 percent! Given that the Overwatch League is off to a great start, we're sure the last thing the developer needs is toxic players who ruin the game and community's reputation.
On January 25th, Jeff Kaplan, the lead designer of Overwatch, released a Developer Update regarding toxic players and hero balance. Sometimes, sanctions can be handed out even before a player reports the incident. And that's just the beginning of it. "We're very pleased with those results".
So far Blizzard has mostly relied on players reporting other players for toxic behavior, but now it looks like the company is taking a more proactive approach. "A lot of the initiatives that we're doing here at Blizzard are starting to make a difference". The game's publisher, Blizzard, recently announced that it is taking a stand against toxic players in the community by actively seeking them out on social media sites.
Kaplan stated that Blizzard is considering further nerfs towards Mercy, who has already been the target of several balance tweaks already, and the team is now monitoring the Public Test Realm servers.
To get into specifics, Kaplan brought up the Mercy and Junkrat changes now being tested on the Overwatch PTR.
Mercy, however, is not the only hero on the Overwatch development team's radar. However, Jeff Kaplan assured viewers that if the nerfs seem too extreme, there will be another balance update, so players shouldn't worry about that. "We want her to be viable, we just need to tone down the impact of Resurrect".
It's no secret that despite it's popularity, Overwatch is no stranger to a toxic playing environment. Hanzo is another one, specifically due to his Scatter Arrow skill that may be considered unfair due to its ability to one-shot someone.
There are many more characters that Kaplan expresses aren't quite where the team would like them in terms of balance, and he reassures fans that they are constantly prototyping and playtesting until a suitable direction for each is chosen.
Kaplan does note that Overwatch players have called for Symmetra buffs, but like Mei, he points out that she's a situational character and that adding buffs could be a perilous proposition. "We do believe it's a balanceable ability". "Right now she doesn't have enough usefulness across the board, but that doesn't mean she'll ever be at a place with a way higher pickrate than currently".