Overwatch Data Shows New Social Features Are Reducing Toxicity

Overwatch's new Endorsement and Looking for Group social features that were recently released have already had an impact on preventing toxicity, Blizzard says.

Back in June when the features were released, we said that the two new Overwatch systems would make games friendlier, particularly when it comes to the Endorsements. That theory appears to be true with Overwatch's Jeff Kaplan saying that there's been at least a 25 percent reduction in two different metrics pertaining to abusive behavior.

Saying that Blizzard's Global Insights group had just finished looking at the starts that deal with the two new features, Kaplan said in a post on the Overwatch forums that abusive chat in competitive matches has taken a dip by occurring in 26.4 percent fewer games in the Americas, 16.4 percent less in Korea. Likewise, the number of daily players being abusive is also down, according to Kaplan, with 28.8 percent fewer players being abusive in their games in the Americas with that number being 21.6 percent in Korea.

The two features serve different purposes, though they share the common goal of bringing the community just a bit closer together. The Endorsements feature is one that players have likely seen in other games in some shape or form, a way for players to show appreciation for others and commend them for providing a pleasant experience. Whether it was for carrying the team, being a fun person to play with, or some other reason, Overwatch players can let their teammates how they feel in a more positive way.

The Looking for Group feature sounds like the typical "find people to play with" system, but it's a bit more involved than that. It allows your game to be tailored to your specifications so you can get the role, team, and experience that you're after.

"You can control your gameplay experience before stepping into a match by using specific parameters to create your dream team," the Overwatch patch notes that added the feature said. "Join a team of other like-minded players or lead a group of your own by creating a group with your personal preferences such as game mode, role enforcement, and more. Those who want to queue up for Quick Play, Play vs AI, or any competitive mode can set the types of roles others can play. These specifications will then be activated in-game (e.g. players who chose a support role will be restricted to only using heroes in that category).

More is to be done on the social features though as Blizzard looks to improve them and further reduce the levels of toxicity in Overwatch.

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"We're really pleased with the community's efforts to make OW a better place! Thank you all!" Kaplan said in closing. "And we'll keep working on iterating on these features to make them better as well as exploring other systems to improve the gameplay environment."