The team over at Blizzard is incredibly involved within the gaming community and Overwatch is no different. It's not odd to see if the game's director talking amongst players in the forums on any given day with updates, news, and just everyday conversation. That being said, that also means they can see the uglier side of gaming up close and personal. Jeff Kaplan, the director for the hit FPS from the creators of World of Warcraft has had enough and he goes right into the issue of toxicity with his latest Developer Update video.
Many gamers will say, "that's just a part of it, get over it - and move on," but what if it doesn't have to be that way? Kaplan himself says in the most recent update video that they have a responsibility to the community to be involved and work constantly to make it better. And if a more positive gaming environment isn't enough of a sale, he also presents his take in a more pragmatic sense: game development:
"The reason we got into the thing that we do is because we love creating these cool features for you. We want to make new maps, new heroes, new animated shorts – that's where our passion is. But we've been put into this weird position where we're spending a tremendous amount of time and resources into punishing people, trying to make people behave better. I wish we could have put that time into a match history system, or a replay system instead. It was the exact same people who worked on both, that had to be rerouted. The bad behavior is making the game progress, in terms of development, at a much slower pace."
More resources towards a more fruitful experience verses wasting them on bad behaviour management; seems like paradise. Kaplan also talked about his own personal experience and drive towards a more positive gaming community, not just as director to community, but player to player:
"The community needs to take a deep look inwards, and consider: I'm playing this game because I want to have fun, and the other people, the other team, they want to have fun as well." Kaplan also calls for a more positive outreach, so the world what a great community we are as gamers, ""Think of all the times someone said something negative to you in the game, and imagine if they said something positive instead. There's a way to spread positivity that I don't think is really prevalent right now. Sure, we can try to build game systems to encourage that more, and we will, but we need the community to own up to their part in the accountability they have for really creating a great game space."
Though there are reporting measures players can take within the game, it's not always enough. That's not to say its ineffective, however. Kaplan was very quick to share statistics in the video to show the more mechanical side of management. According to the Overwatch director, there have been over 480,000 players that have received some sort of disciplinary action, and a whopping 340,000 of those came from the in-game player report system. But as mentioned earlier, disciplinary action recquires resources that could be better spent making Overwatch better and better with new updates, new content, and surprises for its players.
To hear more about Kaplan's thoughts on the negative side of the gaming community and his call-to-action from the players that enjoy the game, check out the latest Developer Update video below:
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