Ever since Blizzard’s Overwatch was released in May 2016, the studio has been diligent in banning any players who use hacks and cheats while playing its massively popular online multiplayer shooter. In just the first few weeks of the game’s release, Blizzard stuck to its word and brought the ban hammer down in a serious way, permanently locking out over 1,500 players in China. However, that pales in comparison to the latest wave of bans that have just occurred over in South Korea.
In a new post over at the Korean Blizzard Forums, the company revealed that it has caught and banned more than 10,000 South Korean Overwatch players who have been using aimbots and “nuking.” For those who are unaware, nuking is a new form of hacking in which players send large amounts of packets to the opposing team’s IP, resulting effects similar to a DDoS attack and causing the victim’s game to dramatically slow down or even disconnecting from the server. What makes nuking more worrying for players is that once it takes place, it is very difficult to report because of the game slowing down.
Despite the initial difficulties in reporting instances of nuking, this massive swath of bans certainly indicates that Blizzard has been working hard to ensure that Overwatch remains a positive gaming experience for everyone. Having said that, it certainly appears that cheaters are finding new and increasingly difficult-to-detect ways of playing the online shooter as nuking isn’t the only tricky exploit Blizzard has had to look into. Just recently, a number of players have been reported abusing the Mei ice wall glitch in order to gain an unsporting advantage, something that the studio has acknowledged as being “surprisingly tricky” to address.
Banning 10,000 cheaters in one swipe is quite significant, but given that Overwatch currently has a player base of over 20 million (and counting), this won’t affect the game’s community dramatically. While cheaters are inevitable for a popular game with such a large fan base, not all player-created hacks are negative. Last week saw a number of South Korean students make Overwatch VR reality thanks to some sensors, a Samsung Gear VR headset, and a lot of ingenuity, showing that there are plenty of good things that come out of the Overwatch community.
Given that Blizzard is planning big things for Overwatch in 2017, the studio’s adherence to its strict banning policy bodes well for the future of the game, so much so that the development team can certainly expect some more cookies from its loyal fanbase at some point.
Overwatch is now available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.