Blizzard Seeking to Stop 'Overwatch' Cheating Before It Starts
Blizzard Seeking to Stop 'Overwatch' Cheating Before It Starts published by Evanvinh
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Posted on 2016-05-15
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Overwatch, Blizzard Entertainment's multiplayer arena shooter that's due out in ten days, is apparently aptly named. In a forum post from Friday, the studio detailed how it was indeed watching over its players to ensure they don't engage in any cheating shenanigans, and it warned that any players engaging in grand arena shooter traditions like wall hacking and auto lock-ons would be banned for life. "Full stop," the post says. And that, it would seem, is that.
Harsh, perhaps, but it's a worthy move in an age when cheating still dogs many eSports competitions where players compete for money, as we've recently seen in theRainbow Six Siege and Team Fortress 2 communities. The Team Fortress 2 problem was particularly egregious in that a paid mod allowed unscrupulous players to essentially god mode through the game for years as developer Valve's built-in anticheating measures were powerless to stop it. When the fix came at last, it was only because a player kindly passed along the source code he'd found in a forum post.
That particular issue raises the question of whether Blizzard can entirely stop cheating at all. But even with (or especially with) such uncertainties, Blizzard's approach is likely the best way to tackle the problem. Overwatch already enjoyed a wildly popular open beta earlier this month that saw more than 9.7 million people play the game (a Blizzard record for an open beta), and many of them—including myself—are itching to drop back in when the game officially launches on May 24. The fear of losing that experience forever may be enough to dissuade players with less than noble intentions. And personally, considering how many ridiculous hours of my life are wrapped up in my Battle.net account through Blizzard's other games likeWorld of Warcraft, Diablo III, and Heathstone, the thought of having to buy Overwatchagain on another, separate account is sobering.
Such bans would also be in character for Blizzard, which has long maintained World of Warcraft's overall integrity with sweeping bans affecting hundreds of thousands of account, with one of the big sweeps happening just last summer.
For its part, Blizzard cautions players to avoid being overly giddy in calling out fellow battle companions as cheaters. There may simply be some bugs it isn't patched, for instance, and the studio acknowledges its own in-game camera doesn't always capture footage with the same fidelity as real-time gameplay. And then, of course, there's the old bugbear of cheating reports:
"Lastly, some players are just really good at first-person shooters," Overwatchcommunity manager Stephanie "Lylirra" Johnson says in the forum post. "Through practice and years of experience, these players’ movements and reaction times can occasionally appear unnatural (if not physically impossible) to those who may not have been exposed to that particular level of play before."
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