Overwatch's Endorsement System "Makes People Nicer" According To Blizzard Research

Blizzard research developer, Natasha Miller, has said that Overwatch's "Endorsement" social feature has been very effective against disruptive behavior and is making players nicer.

The game developers implemented the system in order to foster positive behavior, and one of Blizzard's first steps was the sending of thank you messages to players making reports. Adversely, they began sending out warnings to players who were racking up verified penalties.

Speaking at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, Miller explained the course taken, claiming that the studio initially focused on prevention.

“We wanted to give them a chance to change their behavior after we penalized them,” she said. "How do we go about preventing these behaviors? We did research in the form of focus groups and surveys."

via express.co.uk

Miller went on to note that the lack of a social consequence or reward in online forums is one of the main things encouraging disruptive behavior among players.

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"By performing well within society’s expectations, you're rewarded," she continued. "In online communities, there aren’t effective consequences. If you’re not consistently getting endorsements, if you slip up, you’re not going to get endorsements and your level is going to slip. This often causes players to want to get that level back and keep going, which offers a path to redemption."

One can't really argue with such reasoning, and it's clearly working as Blizzard claims to have reduced negative behavior among Overwatch players by a whopping 40 percent through a system that has been helping the gaming audience increase their levels simply as a result of good behavior.

The decision to add loot boxes as a reward for having increased endorsement levels, though, was one Blizzard hesitated over, settling on having reward loot boxes function at a randomized level.

via YouTube

“It was a really big discussion for us," Miller continued. "We didn’t want to encourage the wrong behavior either. We wanted most of the push to be good to come intrinsically. Even if you slipped, you could come back. If players slipped during any randomized checks, they wouldn’t receive rewards."

Players also agree that “the system makes people nicer.” And 50-70 percent have given endorsements since the avenue emerged.

Blizzard is said to be pretty happy with their progress on that front, and they have plans to improve and possibly add to the system in future.

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