Former Team Envy CS:GO player Taylor ‘Drone’ Johnson has received an Overwatch ban for apparently griefing - not hacking or cheating - in a matchmaking game. Unfortunately, this could rule him out of participating in the ongoing StarLadder Major 2019 qualification stages.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive’s Overwatch tool allows players to watch back footage of reported games to determine if another player has broken the game’s rules by cheating, 'griefing' or taking part in other malicious or rule breaking behaviour.
Griefing is intentionally disrupting a match by annoying annoying other players through team killing, constantly flashing your own teammates, intentionally blocking them on more than one occasion and various other disruptive practices, and it appears that Drone has been punished for breaking one or more rules that fall under the 'griefing' banner.
Drone revealed on June 1 that he had received a 40 day Overwatch ban, tweeting at the official CS:GO account for assistance with the issue.
Issues then arose regarding his main account, which is currently unable to connect to any VAC servers, meaning he could possibly miss the NA Closed Qualifiers for the StarLadder Major 2019.
“I got entirely falsely reported and convicted by an abusable Overwatch system,” wrote the former Team Envy player on Twitter. “[I am] unable to play or connect to any VAC servers, thus making me unable to literally work for over a month.
Peeker’s Advantage, the pickup team that the American currently plays with, were originally told that they would have to play the online portion of the qualifier with a substitute, or play it 4v5 if this was not possible.
Drone was eventually allowed to compete in the online portion of the qualifier using an alternate account following an intervention from StarLadder themselves, but questions still remain as to whether he will be allowed to play in the next portion.
The pro player confirmed that his main account still remains banned, and that “appealing it is a must” ahead of the closed stage of the Americas Minor qualification.
After a lot more debating with officials, @cssltv intervened and is allowing me to play the match with an alternate account. I appreciate them coming forward to resolve the situation, thought my mains are still banned and appealing that is a must. @csgo_dev https://t.co/Uij5AzueeZ— Taylor Johnson (@Dronecsgo) June 1, 2019
Drone continues to dispute his ban for griefing, claiming that the ban is “unjust” and he has been falsely accused.
The pro player states that he was playing with his friends and, in a clip taken from one of his gameplays and posted on Reddit, can be seen running after and throwing a grenade at a friend who had shot him. Unfortunately for him, Valve will likely need to step in if the temporary ban is to be reversed.
Valve have since responded to the Overwatch ban placed on Drone's account, following efforts from the pro player to get in contact with the developers to get the ban removed.
The Americas Minor North America Closed Qualifier kicks off on June 12, with teams hoping to secure their spot in the Americas Minor, and move one step closer to Major qualification.