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Blizzard testing Avoid as Teammate feature for Overwatch

A new feature is currently in testing on the Overwatch PTR.

Overwatch players will soon have the option to avoid certain players as teammates thanks to a new feature.

Blizzard announced a new optional feature "Avoid as Teammate" in its latest developer update.

In it, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan explained the feature allows a player to avoid up to two others who are annoying or frustrating, but not enough to warrant hitting the report button.

A similar system called "Avoid this Player" was pulled a couple of years ago, because Overwatch players were abusing the feature to block others who were too good at the game.

"When you select someone to be avoided, they will be avoided for seven days in terms of putting them on your team," Kaplan explained. "Sometimes you will still see that person on the other team, but they shouldn't be set to be your teammate.

"At the end of seven days, they will drop off the Avoid as Teammate list. You can add them to the list again, but you will only have two slots. You will have to be a little mindful of how you manage the list."

Kaplan said the feature will come in handy for those who feel frustrated by other players during a match. The example he used was a teammate harping in chat for someone to use another hero. This could cause an annoyance, but it's not offensive enough for a report.

Avoid as Teammate can also be used as an option after reporting another player for a worthy offense.

There are "side effects" to the system everyone needs to be aware of, said Kaplan, and one is longer queue times.

"There's the potential this will cause longer queue times when finding a match," he said. "It's highly unlikely at the middle skill tiers, but it is possible at levels like Grand Master in smaller regions during off hours.

"This is something we will be keeping an close eye on, and why everyone is limited to such a few number of players [to avoid]."

Kaplan went on to say there are systems in place to monitor the feature. If the Overwatch team feels it can open up the system to include more than just two slots, it "certainly will."

Blizzard will also be keeping an eye on match fairness to ensure the matchmaking system is working as intended. It doesn't want the Avoid as Teammate system to cause any issues with creating a good match.

In extreme cases, if a player is being avoided by a large number of Overwatch players, a warning will be displayed upon logging in.

The purpose of the warning is to inform the player of the situation, giving them an opportunity to modify their behavior during the seven day period. This will also cause longer queuing times for the much-avoided player.

Kaplan said the best thing to do in this situation is to form a team and then try to find a match to avoid long queue times.

The developer video posted above goes into more detail.

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Stephany Nunneley

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Half-blind/half-dyslexic, bad typist, wine enthusiast, humanitarian, intellectual savant, idiot savior, lover of all things nonsensical, animal hoarder and highly sarcastic.

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