Blizzard is disappointed in Overwatch players who create and join custom games to farm XP while inactive, and is taking a stance.
Blizzard has issued a statement regarding some of the exploitation and XP farming going on in some Overwatch custom game servers.
The ability to create custom games was first deployed with patch 2.05, alongside a custom game browser. Unfortunately, while some of the community’s creations were amazing and fun, others exploited the fact that you earn XP while playing to design modes specifically to allow players to go AFK and continue earning XP.
Game director Jeff Kaplan wrote a few harsh words to those who participate in these activities, and cleared up how the developer view of what some in the community consider to be a grey area.
“Well, let me take a grey area and make it starkly black and white for you,” wrote Kaplan. “Abusing and exploiting Custom Game or any other game mode to earn experience in Overwatch while inactive is NOT ok.”
As a result, playing Skirmish in custom game will no longer award XP. Skirmish now also has an AFK timer in place to combat this. Furthermore, Blizzard will start banning players who create custom games that encourage this sort of AFK farming.
“At this point, I am making a plea to you – the Overwatch community at large: please decide what you want to happen here and be a part of the solution.”
Those who join these servers will also see disciplinary action taken against them. “Also, do not name your Custom Game that in anyway even implies that gaining experience while inactive is OK – please do not even do this as a joke – because you are putting yourself at risk of having your account banned,” Kaplan warned.
The game director said that although Blizzard knew this would be a potential outcome when it allowed XP gain in custom games, the studio wanted to give players the benefit of the doubt. Today’s response is part of an escalation plan Blizzard put in place for such situations.
However, if this trend continues, Blizzard may be forced to disable XP gain altogether in custom games. “The feature is so much cooler and better for everyone if we do not have to put draconic restrictions on it,” he pointed out, adding that he was saddened it had come to this.
“I really don’t want to see us getting to that point,” added Kaplan, before asking for the community’s help in combating this by reporting farming servers.
“At this point, I am making a plea to you – the Overwatch community at large: please decide what you want to happen here and be a part of the solution. If you enjoy Custom Games awarding experience then please help us combat the behaviour we’re seeing now,” Kaplan said.
“Do not create Custom Games with the intent of gaining experience while inactive. Don’t join those games. Don’t jokingly put those names in your own Custom Games. And report players who are abusing the system.”
The above changes should already be live in all regions, across all platforms.