Overwatch heroes stand in a big group

Overwatch is a massively successful online multiplayer game so, of course, there are folks out there trying to cheat the system in order to gain an edge on the competition. Blizzard has a pretty simple message to share with folks who aren't playing their game as intended and, in short, it's, "Knock that crap off...or else."

Over on the Overwatch official blog, Game Director Jeff Kaplan has posted a message concerning folks who are using custom games in order to farm experience while away from the keyboard. Oddly enough, a similar thing has been going on in For Honor, with Ubisoft threatening to ban players who were caught farming in that particular war game. It's no surprise, then, that Blizzard is taking a similar measure when it comes to cheating cheaters that cheat.

As Kaplan points out, the team at Blizzard introduced the Overwatch Game Browser and Custom Games in order to let players enjoy the game in new and interesting ways while still earning experience and progressing their heroes. However, they quickly learned exactly why we just can't have nice things.

To be fair, Kaplan said he and his team went in knowing that there would be the potential of exploiting the system, they just made the mistake of giving gamers the benefit of the doubt that they wouldn't abuse the system. It has been abused enough, though, that Blizzard has decided to take action. As of this writing, the team is rolling out a couple of changes in Overwatch, including the fact that the Skirmish mode in custom games no longer awards experience and that said mode will also have an AFK timer to kick folks out of the lineup when they're just standing around. Folks in For Honor figured out that an AFK timer could be avoided by rigging their controller to keep their character running around, but we imagine Blizzard, and rightfully pissed off teammates, will be on the lookout for such behavior.

According to the update (and we totally agree), there is no gray area when it comes to these kinds of exploits. Kaplan said he's making the issue so black and white out of necessity, as the next step in the process will be "disciplinary action" against folks who are trying to cheat the system. Folks who join a room or build a room specifically to gain experience while inactive face having their accounts banned. Kaplan even strongly cautions against naming rooms in such a manner as a "joke," as they will be treated as legitimate attempts at cheating.

Kaplan says that he and the team are sad that it had to come to this, with an end result being that, if the behavior continues, experience in custom matches will be totally eliminated. As a result, he calls on the Overwatch community to report any such abuse so the toxic players can be removed from the community. Hopefully that'll be enough to nip this problem in the bud.

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