An Overwatch player has seemingly uncovered a pretty major issue with the game’s report and ban system – having their account closed despite very little investigation.
Like plenty of other online games, Overwatch has a number of features that players can use to weed out toxic players – be it by reporting them for bad behavior or simply ignoring them so they don’t end up in their matches again.
However, it appears that if you push hard enough, and get enough players to mass report an account for one reason or another, Blizzard will shut it down without all that much background research.
The pretty major issue was pointed out by Overwatch player Carter, who had been running their experiment during their March 28 Twitch stream.
During the experiment, Carter got a number of players to mass report an account for cheating – though he wasn’t running any sort of hack or exploit – while playing customs. After a little while, the Overwatch player received an email that noted that the account was being shut down.
“You can be wrongfully banned in Overwatch for being mass reported for ‘Cheating,’ he tweeted after the fact, showing off the email reporting the suspension in question.
I shouldn't need to say this.
This is not a shot @Kephrii - Players have the right to report someone when they think something is up. Any wrongful bans are not to be placed at the feet of those who reported, but at Blizzard's.
— Third Impact Fusion Reactor Engineer (@Carter_OW) March 28, 2020
The email claimed that "recent activity shows the use of an unauthorized cheat program, also known as a hack," despite Carter actually playing fair the whole time.
The Third Impact player followed that up by noting that, obviously, players have the right to report someone who they believe is harming the game – in one way or another.
However, he further added that “any wrongful bans” shouldn’t be placed at the feet at the people who reported the player, but, it should be Blizzard making that call.
With Carter showing that players could be wrongfully banned just for being mass reported, it might give trolls the chance to take down some of the biggest streamers and players if they decided to organize a mass wave of reports.
As of writing, Blizzard hasn’t yet responded to the findings but it might just prompt them to have a rethink about their report and banning system at some point.