Why the Overwatch Bans Are Completely Unfair
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Recently, Game Director Jeff Kaplan decided to take action on a particular glitch in Overwatch. This glitch occurs during three versus three matches on the Ecopoint: Antarctica map when a player uses Mei’s Ice Wall ability. When the player heads to a particular corner of the map, crouches down, and places the Ice Wall underneath the character, it sends the player to the upper level of the room, normally not at all accessible. The player can then roam about above the map and access off-limits areas. Once the player is positioned in this area, they are then able to continue fighting enemies – or just stand there and do nothing – without taking any hits themselves.

Pretty cool, right? Well, according to Kaplan you're not allowed to use exploits anymore. “This bug is clearly an exploit and we consider this cheating. Do not attempt to reproduce this bug. If you see someone abusing this mechanic, please report them.” In addition, Kaplan says that, “we will be taking action against those who abused this exploit. Overwatch is a PvP experience so that means exploiting game mechanics like this comes at a cost to those you are competing against. We take aggressive action against people who abuse game mechanics, hack or cheat. This case is no different.” Oh, I think it's very different.

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Okay, I get that Blizzard has been cracking down hard on cheaters in Overwatch and that's great, but this is going too far. In this case, it's an exploit of a glitch that is not in any way the player's fault. This is a simple case of pure fact. I really don't understand why Blizzard wants to punish exploiters as severely as cheaters. It's one thing to go out and buy or download yourself a cheat for unlimited health or automatic targeting, it is quite another to discover a glitch and use it to your advantage. Like Roadhog being able to sometimes hook through walls or around corners. Blizzard will remove that glitch in its latest patch, but it doesn't seem to be punishing people for it. Why not? It's a glitch that can be exploited too, perhaps even more prolifically.

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A glitch is something in the game's code; it's on the developer's end that it exists at all. This isn't a case of the player using a tool to alter the code somehow, this is an error. There is no inherent intent to cheat here. It's not any different than finding the very convenient stairs in the Darkroot Garden in Dark Souls. Just because the enemies are glitched to climb the stairs after the player and not the ledge, doesn't make it the player's fault if they take advantage. Why was this never removed from the game? Probably because Dark Souls is a game based on player discovery. And if that means finding a good sniper spot and killing a dragon one arrow at a time or letting enemies fall over you, so be it. From Software is happy to allow it.

Overwatch, it seems, is not so friendly. To punish someone using an exploit rather than outright cheating is going too far. I truly believe Blizzard should rethink this decision and allow exploiters to continue what they do and in a way, help find errors. An exploit is a glitch or error in a game by the developers, and by no means caused by a player running a cheat.

Christine Pugatschew
Christine Pugatschew

Contributing Writer
Date: 01/10/2017

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