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New ‘Overwatch’ Social Features Lead to Major Drop in Toxicity, Blizzard Says

Overwatch’s” new Looking For Group and Endorsement systems are already making the online hero shooter a friendlier place, according to developer Blizzard Entertainment.

Abusive chat is down 26% in competitive matches in the Americas and 16% in South Korea, game director Jeff Kaplan said in a forum post on Thursday titled “Our Progress So Far.” The percentage of daily abusive players was also down 29% in the Americas and 22% in South Korea. Statistics for other regions weren’t mentioned.

“We’re really pleased with the community’s efforts to make OW a better place!” Kaplan wrote. “Thank you all! And we’ll keep working on iterating on these features to make them better as well as exploring other systems to improve the gameplay environment.”

Endorsements and the LFG feature were introduced last month. Endorsements give players a way to acknowledge teammates who have a positive impact during matches, while LFG lets them find like-minded individuals to group with before queueing. They can specify what game mode they want to play, whether or not they prefer voice chat, or what role they want to play on the team.

Developers often talk about ways to punish players who are behaving poorly, but Kaplan believes the community is behaving “awesomely” more often than not in “Overwatch,” and he wants to recognize those people more.

“We think it’s going to have a big impact on showing the ‘Overwatch’ community just how many awesome ‘Overwatch’ players there are and how many positive moments are actually happening in the game,” he said in a recent developer update video.

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