It’s always a struggle to both establish and maintain a healthy, positive community online. It’s something that many companies have attempted to grapple with for years. It is certainly something Blizzard has tried to figure out numerous times now. However, its newest attempt may be its most ambitious yet. Any user who wants to take part in the Twitch chat for upcoming Overwatch competitive events must link their Battle.net and Twitch accounts. The move goes into effect on December 28, 2018.
Battle.net accounts must be linked in order to take part in these chats. Those who attempt to take part in any chat with an unlinked account will be given an automatic reply. They will then be prompted to link their accounts in order to continue.
The new system is designed to “improve the viewer experience.” It will be tested out during the Overwatch Contenders Quarterfinals that last until January 12, 2019. This is described as a trial period, so there is still the potential for changes to be made. We could also see Blizzard walk back on this decision, but that’s something we’ll have to wait and see for. The Overwatch Path to Pro team shall “evaluate the program’s overall effect” following the end of the event. It remains to be seen whether this will expand to other Blizzard streams.
Battle.net is Blizzard’s online game launcher and social network. It not only houses Blizzard’s iconic franchises like Diablo and Overwatch, but also Destiny 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 from corporate sibling Activision. It’s definitely no secret that online chats can be full of negative and hateful rhetoric. Any move to lessen toxicity online seems like a welcome effort, but we shall see the true effectiveness of it.
In the meantime, Overwatch’s Winter Wonderland event is currently in full effect. So, while the holidays may be over for some, Overwatch will still have holiday cheer.