informa
News

Overwatch losing 'Avoid this player' feature after top players can't find games

Blizzard removes a feature meant to help Overwatch players avoid toxic competitors after it backfires against high-skill players.

Blizzard's "Avoid this player" feature was created with best intentions, but will soon be no more. 

The feature, which players could use by right-clicking on a player's name, was created to help players avoid being matched with toxic or abusive opponents and teammates. It adjusted the matchmaking queue so that the system would know not to pair players with opponents they'd marked with "avoid."

But according to Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan, this soon met with disaster.

In a post on the Battle.net forums, Kaplan writes that "One of the best Widowmaker players in the world complained to us about long queue times. We looked into it and found that hundreds of other players had avoided him."

But they hadn't avoided that Widowmaker player because of his toxicity, they'd clicked "Avoid this player" because he was too good.

Things only got worse. Per Kaplan, "The end result was that it took him an extremely long time to find a match. The worst part was, by the time he finally got a match, he had been waiting so long that the system had 'opened up' to lower skill players. Now one of the best Widowmaker players was facing off against players at a lower skill level."

As a result, Kaplan says Blizzard will be disabling the "Avoid this player" feature. Though the story is somewhat amusing, it's a frustrating example of how tools meant to help players deal with toxic users can be undermined for unintentional purposes. 

You can read Kaplan's full post for an extensive breakdown of how Overwatch's matchmaking system works, and how Kaplan considers its function more of an art then a science. 

Latest Jobs

Sucker Punch Productions

Bellevue, Washington
08.27.21
Combat Designer

Xbox Graphics

Redmond, Washington
08.27.21
Senior Software Engineer: GPU Compilers

Insomniac Games

Burbank, California
08.27.21
Systems Designer

Deep Silver Volition

Champaign, Illinois
08.27.21
Senior Environment Artist
More Jobs   

CONNECT WITH US

Register for a
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Account

Game Developer Newsletter

@gamedevdotcom

Register for a

Game Developer Account

Gain full access to resources (events, white paper, webinars, reports, etc)
Single sign-on to all Informa products

Register
Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Subscribe
Follow us

@gamedevdotcom

Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more