Blizzard has issued its first publicly confirmed ban wave for Overwatch 2, but there is a catch. Cheating is an ever-present problem in online multiplayer games and Overwatch 2 are not immune to it. Even the most sophisticated anti-cheat tools can only do so much against the ingenuity of cheaters. Although hacks have not been as productive in Overwatch 2 as in some other online shooters, there has been awareness of the problem. Blizzard’s work will seemingly be endless.
Overwatch 2 contains expansive anti-cheat efforts, which Blizzard has labeled its Defense Matrix. The defense matrix has been largely undetailed, and Blizzard prefers to keep its anti-cheat systems secret. What Blizzard has said includes that Overwatch 2 has “multiple systems”, of which in-game reporting is just one, to enforce anti-cheat efforts. Other consumer-facing anti-cheating measures include Overwatch 2The SMS requirements for free-to-play players and what it calls the First Time User Experience, which curbs cheaters’ ability to directly affect the community experience.
But Blizzard is also taking tougher, direct action against cheaters. A Blizzard post made on Overwatch 2South Korean community forums state that the company has issued a ban wave that removes 3,486 player accounts. The prohibition wave was particularly aimed at Overwatch 2 players using hacks and cheats to affect gameplay. This is the first official confirmation from Blizzard that it has banned Overwatch 2 accounts, although it is everything, but certainly not the last.
The one catch is that this ban wavers too Overwatch 2 is specific to the game’s South Korean servers. Blizzard teams from other regions have yet to publicly confirm any ban waves, at least for now. Still, it proves that Blizzard is cracking down on hackers and that anti-cheat efforts are ongoing. It is likely only a matter of time before other regions make similar statements regarding bans.
To Blizzard’s credit, Overwatch has never been a series associated with widespread cheating problems. That’s not to say they don’t exist, of course, but Blizzard’s anti-cheat measures are clearly effective. When a game’s community starts having to talk about cheating issues, it has already reached an unacceptable point.
Aggressive response to cheaters, however, allows other criticisms to come into focus. Overwatch 2 is not a perfect game, just as no online multiplayer game can be. Players have issues with toxicity among the fanbase as well as Blizzard’s monetization. But at least society is able to have that conversation because cheating isn’t that important. Hopefully Blizzard manages to maintain that going forward.
Overwatch 2 is now available on PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S.
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