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Overwatch implements 'Avoid as Teammate' to combat toxicity, may increase queue times

Published: 16:03, 26 March 2018
Overwatch League team of heroes
Overwatch League

Blizzard's Overwatch will soon be getting a new tool for tackling toxicity of its players and although it's just marking the players with the 'Avoid as Teammate' tag, it will affect matchmaking so you can mark users you'd prefer to avoid.

So, tagging players with "Avoid as Teammate" will grant you seven days of peace from their endless rabble, breathing into the mic and other delightful Overwatch habits. After the week of your safe space has passed, you can choose to extend their stay further.

Blizzard Junkrat lighting a fuse with a satisfied look on his face Overwatch - Junkertown

Note however that the "Avoid as Teammate" list can only contain two members, so as to make sure the new Overwatch anti-toxic system isn't abused. Blizzard say that they'll be monitoring the system closely and may increase the number if it turns out to be a sensible thing to do. 

Overwatch's matchmaking will act accordingly as well, with the algorithm ensuring you're not grouped with the undersirables. Naturally, depending on the number of people you choose to avoid, your queue times may increase accordingly.

The devs said that longer queue times are highly unlikely in middle skill tiers. However, they conceded that it may happen in smaller regions and low population hours, again subject to how many Overwatch players chose to pull the AaT hammer.

Blizzard Overwatch - Epic McCree skin Overwatch - Epic McCree skin

Blizzard says that the Overwatch feature will be coming as soon as possible, although many seem to think it couldn't come soon enough. With the game being often used as an example of perpetuating toxicity, it's high time someone did something.

We must admit though, the method may be simple in application but it has all the makings of a really clever move. Provided it's applied properly on the technical side, Blizzard may actually have a solid database on the behaviour of many of Overwatch players, which again paves way for other, ahem, creative opportunities.

Blizzard have recently joined up with Epic, Riot Games, Intel and numerous other bigwigs into what they call the , even though their quest for ridding Overwatch of toxicity has started much earlier. Well, maybe if they get it right, we forgive them , right?


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A man with an axe running through a forest in SCUM
Overwatch - Oasis

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