An incredibly disappointing Overwatch clip has gone viral and shocked the gaming community over the past 24 hours. In a video captured and shared by @Yes_ItsRose, the unfiltered and unchecked nature of Overwatch’s toxic voice chat has been shown in full force. The clip portrays an incident where the player was ganged up on and bullied by a group of obscenely racist and prejudiced ‘teammates’ during an Overwatch game.
While it’s no secret Overwatch has been filled with toxic players, this situation really brings that issue to a new light. Especially in competitive playlists, some online players seem to find it okay to toss out incredibly inappropriate remarks over simple gameplay mistakes. Based on the example shown in the clip below, it’s clear that some very drastic changes need to be made fast.
WARNING: Clip is extremely NSFW and should be viewed at your own discretion.
— Rose (@Yes_ItsRose) April 10, 2019
What’s saddest about this clip is the fact that it almost isn’t surprising. Ever since its inception in 2015, Overwatch has housed one of the most toxic player bases in online gaming. This is not the first time nor is it the thousandth time that an Overwatch player has gone too far in lashing out at an innocent teammate.
The simple fact of the matter is this is far too common, not only in Overwatch, but in every online multiplayer experience. Anonymity seems to give toxic people a feeling of invincibility, and the protection of being at home and speaking through a microphone enables these people to act on their prejudices and harsh biases.
In this particular clip, player Yes_ItsRose seems to be doing her best at playing Mercy. She is healing her teammates effectively and staying out of the line of fire. However, the rest of her squad doesn’t seem to feel the same way, to say the very least. We won’t quote any of the insults for the sake of decency, but as evidenced in the clip above, extreme racial and sexual slurs were used.
Her teammates honed in on her race, blaming it as the reason for “mediocre” play. They then proceeded to launch a relentless barrage of stereotypical insults and racist comments.
The one redeeming quality of the disgusting video was that at least one member of the victim’s team stood up for her. This player clearly exclaimed their disbelief and called the others out for being “disrespectful” toward the female gamer. Unfortunately, this only resulted in riling up the perpetrators further, who tripled down on their harassment of the defenseless Mercy.
These types of remarks are vile and have no place in gaming or the world in general. They serve absolutely no purpose except to degrade another person. Though the clip is filled to the brim with nasty comments, there is a bright spot. Yes_ItsRose stood her ground like a champion and did not allow the harassers to draw her in.
This type of clip was no doubt going to be seen by someone at Blizzard. Fortunately, a social media employee for Overwatch responded to @Slasher on Twitter.
We're on it.
— Josh Engen (@JoshEngen) April 10, 2019
While not a full-fledged response, it’s nice to see that they are looking into it. There is no doubt that the bullies in the video will be appropriately disciplined. But that’s not enough anymore.
Blizzard needs to address the community’s underlying issues through an announcement of some kind. Players need to know that this kind of behavior will no longer go unchecked. The Overwatch developer also needs to work towards a much stronger anti-toxicity initiative.
This has gone on for far too long. Something needs to change.
Joey Carr is a University of North Georgia Journalism graduate. He has 4+ years experience covering Esports and traditional sporting events, including Dreamhack Atlanta, Call of Duty Championships 2017, and Super Bowl 53.