Overwatch

Jeff Kaplan talks Pharah changes, smurfing, and the next Overwatch Developer Update

by Joe O'Brien

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Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan recently took to Blizzard’s official forums to answer some fan questions, touching on topics from smurfing to the current state of Pharah.

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Though Kaplan couldn’t give detailed answers on every topic, he did in some cases reveal that new information would be coming soon.

On the topic of Pharah’s current place in the game, Kaplan announced that Blizzard have been working on some changes that might be on their way to the PTR soon. He also revealed that they are working on ways to transfer cosmetic items between console and PC editions of Overwatch if both are linked to the same account, after confirming that players redeeming the Demon Hunter Sombra skin could get it on both systems.

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When asked about how players should go about reporting smurfs, Kaplan responded that smurfing isn’t explicitly against the game’s rules. Throwing matches or boosting are both punishable offenses, but players are allowed to make new accounts. So long as they are playing as they normally would and not committing either of the aforementioned offences, they’re not actually breaking the rules and the game’s ranking system should naturally move them towards their “real” rank.

Regarding throwing and boosting, Kaplan also revealed that Blizzard isn’t relying on reports to tackle those issues, with a whole team working on analysis to identify such players.

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Smurfing is when a higher-skilled player creates a secondary account for the purpose of playing against lower-ranked opponents. Boosting, on the other hand, is the practice of ranking up another player’s account, usually for profit, which is often done by having the higher-skilled booster log into the account of the player being boosted to play and quickly progress due to the disparity in skill between the rank of the account and the player then using it.

Fortunately for fans hoping to hear more from Kaplan, he also revealed that the latest Developer Update has been recorded and is scheduled to be released next week.