It’s no secret that all competitive and online games have an issue with toxicity, and Overwatch is no stranger to that. In fact, having both an in-game chat and voice communication can be argued that it has two avenues for players to display toxicity.
Although Blizzard has said they’ve worked on this issue, there still are a handful of things that they could do at any moment, things that would take under 10 minutes to be implemented and yield positive results in diminishing Overwatch’s toxicity.
To better understand how toxicity can be dealt with in Overwatch, let’s first address both avenues of displaying it, namely through voice coms or in-game chat.
Voice Communications Toxicity
In this regard, there isn’t much that Blizzard can do, apart from implementing a feature that could perhaps also send them a short audio recording of the player that is reported for toxicity, if he does so through voice coms.
Regardless, if players are toxic in the voice communication, you can always just mute them or leave voice chat altogether, so there’s that.
In-Game Chat Toxicity
Now this is the place where something more can be done, specifically by disabling certain words from being typed.
If you’re an Overwatch player, I’m sure you’ve seen random sentences such as “I could really use a hug right now.” or “C’mon, Mom! One more game before you tuck me in.”.
There are not random and no, that player is not a bot. These sentences automatically replace the words “gg ez” from being typed, which is what Blizzard deemed as unsportsmanlike behavior and decided to resolve it in a friendly and quite funny matter. No issues with that!
However, there are a ton of other actual vile words that are typed in Overwatch on a daily basis, words that should never be said in the first place and that actually do hurt and cause others grief, be it regarding race, gender or even actual threats.
Now the issue with this is that for some reason, these words can be typed with no filters (apart from the Mature language filter, which we’ll address below), and can be seen by others. Of course, you can and should report players who say such things, but unfortunately that’s not always enough and it doesn’t necessarily lead to a suspension or a ban.
Regarding the mature language filter, that’s virtually the only option to ensure you won’t get to read some of these vile things, albeit that doesn’t censor all of them, specifically those pertaining to threats. Furthermore, the mature language filter censors a lot of things that aren’t really offensive or upsetting for anyone, such as the word “sh*t”.
TL;DR – Conclusion
Basically, the best thing that Overwatch can do to help diminishing the toxicity displayed in their game is to start building a list of words (even from past reports that resulted in suspensions or bans), words that should never be said in the first place, be it about race, gender and so forth, and add them to the filtering mechanism, the same way they did with the “gg ez” thing.
I really think this will be a feature that would help the community, as this way, you can have the mature language filter disabled and yet be protected from seeing any of these vile slurs.