Like all online game developers with a competitive element or an economy in their games, Blizzard Entertainment is not immune to the problem of botters and scripters. In Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, botting has been a huge problem with some people quitting the game in disgust, before Blizzard finally banned the lot of them, in World of Warcraft, the raw materials market has been dominated by botters at various time in the game’s long history. Overwatch is no exception, however, due to the nature of the game, it’s been getting ruined not by bots, but by scripts, which could do various things, like giving you an aimbot just like Soldier: 76’s Tactical Visor, only permanently.
Obviously, with the plans to make Overwatch into the Premier eSport in the world, Blizzard has to be strict about policing the community. While the scripting problem was noticeable in NA, Europe and other regions, it’s been especially bad in South Korea and China. It seems like Blizzard Entertainment has had enough and is taking steps to reign in the situation. In the end of 2016 and the beginning of 2017, three ban waves hit the South Korean region, permabanning any accounts found guilty of scripting in the region. In fact, it’s been announced that more than 10,000 South Korean Overwatch accounts have been banned in a post on the official Overwatch forums in Korea, dotesports.com reports.
The most recent wave of malicious programs to hit the Korean Overwatch scene was also more malicious than the usual aimhacks. Called “nuking”, this hack essentially allowed the bastard who used it to spam the enemy’s IP address, making the game practically unplayable or making many other things happen, all in the effort to win the game. While it might look to be no different from scripting, that is not the case. When you script, you install a program on your computer which helps you play better by having the software read “game data” and adjust your cursor to track the enemy perfectly while shooting or twitch shoot people perfectly by locking in on their heads. All of this is done without touching other people. Nuking, however, actually affects someone else’s machine, which is much worse.
Any kind of cheating is one of the biggest threats to the integrity of an eSport, just as the anabolic steroid problem is essential to the integrity of traditional sports. It should be taken just as seriously. While banning cheaters can’t be done in a case-by-case basis and assembling a list of repeat offenders takes time, it has to be done in as swift a manner as possible, before the honest players get disenchanted and quit the game. The faster and more often it’s done, the better. Blizzard Entertainment even has a financial reason to ban cheaters quickly—a copy of Overwatch is expensive; if a cheater wants to keep cheating, he will have to buy a new copy, giving Blizzard more money. Rinse and repeat. The game is clear of cheaters, Blizzard is rich; everyone’s happy. Nice, right?