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One of the key components of making a game like Overwatch fun is keeping the matchmaking light and intuitive. If a player seems like they're cheating or acting up, you can request to "Avoid This Player". Well... the feature isn't working as intended so Blizzard is axing it.

According to Game Informer the "Avoid This Player" feature was added to Overwatch as a way for players to steer clear of a player that could be deemed "toxic". In theory, it would be a great way to minimize playing against trolls, anti-team players or those who are generally just a nuisance. But the feature was also being used to disrupt matchmaking.

Over on the Battle.net forums the community manager posted up the patch notes for Overwatch, which also contained a note directly from the developers regarding their decision to remove the "Avoid This Player" feature, where they state,

While the "Prefer This Player" option is more or less working as intended (and is thus still enabled), the "Avoid This Player" option has impacted the matchmaker in negative way and led to some very poor player experiences. Although we like the idea of being able to say "hey, I'd prefer not to play with this player," the implementation of this mechanic is not where it needs to be, so we've disabled it and will be removing the UI option in a future patch.

The feature has been disabled but you can still see the text for it in the corner of the screen. Blizzard plans on having that removed in the next big patch.

Now they don't mention it in the post but one of the ways that the "Avoid This Player" feature was being abused was by lower level players using it as a way to get back at higher performing players. Getting hit enough times with the "Avoid This Player" tag caused higher performing players in Overwatch to lose out on matchmaking opportunities.

This was exemplified recently in the news where over in Korea two players thought another player in Overwatch was too good at the game and accused them of cheating. They were so adamant that the player was a cheat that they said they would quit if it turned out that the person was not a cheater. Well, it turns out that they were not a cheater. So the two pro-players had to quit, as reported by Tech Times.

Being accused of hacks and cheats is usually a badge of honor, but in Overwatch the "Avoid This Player" feature also made it difficult for top-performing players to find matches.

This was one of the reasons why so many of the hardcore fans of Overwatch were requesting modes dedicated to competitive play, and Blizzard has most certainly obliged those fans. The competitive modes will get underway soon enough and this should alleviated some of the tensions between high-level players and low-level players.

Also, even if you aren't into the competitive side of Overwatch, it's at least a good thing they removed the "Avoid This Player" feature so people who don't deserve to get hit with the label won't have to worry about losing out on matchmaking opportunities. The "Prefer This Player" is a much better alternative and should help the community grow in satisfactory ways.

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