In the most recent developer update, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan addressed the rising toxicity in the community and how combating it has slowed game development. According to Kaplan, the fight to curb Overwatch toxicity has taken time away from other projects, some of them being a match history system and a replay system. Yet, it was his call to the community to recognize their own accountability that stood out.
Overwatch toxicity: Community accountability
Kaplan made pains to point out that there was only so much Blizzard could do.
“There’s not going to be a moment where we have a magic patch in Overwatch that makes bad behavior go away,” Kaplan said.
There is only so much that Blizzard and the Overwatch team are able to do in regards to behavior. Later, Kaplan asked the community to “take a deep look inward” and recognize our accountability in creating and feeding this toxicity. This is a hard thing to do, for all of us.
No one likes looking in the mirror and seeing that they are responsible-partially or fully-for a problem. Especially when it is easier, and more convenient, to shift the blame onto others. Yet, to not recognize our roles in creating this toxicity would be dishonest and only serves to exacerbate it.
Once we have recognized our roles in creating this environment, we can start to curb it.
Overwatch toxicity: what we can do
The most important thing is to remind ourselves that the people we play with are just that: people. They are human beings from all walks of life that play Overwatch because they enjoy it. Yet, we forget this fact because of the anonymity of the internet. It is hard to recognize the humanity that lies behind the ones and zeroes of a screen name. Which is why it’s easy to talk shit and say horrible things online because there’s no immediate repercussions.
There have been games where I’ve called my teammates idiots or have been told I was an idiot, as well as one game where one of my teammates told the other that they should go kill themselves. None of these instances are okay, especially telling someone they should inflict harm on themselves in real life.
So before lashing out at another player ask yourself, “Would I say this to another person face to face?” If the answer is no then you probably shouldn’t say it. Though in all honesty, there are still going to be players who talk shit and say horrible things. That’s just a fact of the internet.
The only thing that we can control is our own actions and reporting the players who say horrible things.
Featured Image Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment/Youtube
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