Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan discussed popular community topics in the latest Developer Update for the massively popular multiplayer shooter, which is fresh off the launch of the new map Blizzard World and the addition of a truckload of cosmetic items.
Among the topics that were covered is the toxicity of the Overwatch community, the controversial Mercy nerfs, and the ongoing balancing issues for some of the game's more popular heroes.
Overwatch Toxic Community
Kaplan opened the video by talking about toxicity, which is one of the most disparaging issues in the Overwatch community. According to the Overwatch director, scaling down the toxicity that is plaguing Overwatch games is one of the development team's major focuses.
Recent updates to the reporting process, such as letting players know if their report translated into a sanction, has resulted into a 20 percent increase in reporting and a 17 percent decrease in cases of abusive behavior during competitive matches.
Kaplan added that Blizzard is also actively seeking cases of toxic behavior in Overwatch through social media. Sometimes, sanctions can be handed out even before a player reports the incident.
The toxicity of Overwatch is back in the spotlight after Felix Lengyel, better known as xQc and a player for the Dallas Fuel in the Overwatch League, received a suspension for launching a homophobic slur against an opponent.
Kaplan admitted that the Overwatch toxicity problem is far from being solved. However, he added that things are getting better as the initiatives that Blizzard have done start to make a difference.
Overwatch Hero Balance Issues For Mercy And Others
Kaplan also discussed the balancing issues for certain Overwatch heroes, with healer Mercy serving as the poster child for the problem. A Mercy revamp was rolled out in September last year for balancing purposes, but further Mercy nerfs are now being tested.
According to Kaplan, Mercy remains an important core hero in the game, so the development team wants her to remain a viable pick for players. However, while adjustments are still being made for Mercy's new set of skills, Kaplan promised that changes will be rolled back if they would tone down Mercy too much.
Mercy, however, is not the only hero on the Overwatch development team's radar. Hanzo is another one, specifically due to his Scatter Arrow skill that may be considered unfair due to its ability to one-shot someone. Kaplan said that the development team may adjust the ability to make it fairer, though there is also the possibility that it will be replaced entirely.
Symmetra and Mei are also being considered for balancing adjustments to make them more relevant in the current metagame. Kaplan noted, though, that there will likely be no major changes to the two heroes.