As long as there are competitive games, there will be those who cheat at them, and Blizzard’s Overwatch has been no different. Blizzard, however, has been especially committed to identifying cheaters and permanently banning them.
Following the game’s latest update, the developer issued a new flurry of bans Tuesday that cheaters were none-too-happy to receive, and voiced their displeasure on a cheaters’ forum. Many of the cheaters were shocked at being caught and punished for their foul play, thinking the hacks they were using were untraceable by Blizzard.
The main hacks cheaters seem to have been banned for this week are called Overjoint and Highnoon. Overjoint is a public aimbot, while Highnoon has an aimbot as well as the ability to disable recoil and enable bunnyhopping all around the map. Some users of the hacks claim to have been banned less than a day after their first usage.
“I only used it in the Practice Range and literally just one Quick Play game before I slept. The very next morning I [received] an email stating that my account had been closed by Blizzard due to ‘hacks.’ It really looks like Overjoint was detected,” wrote one cheater.
Another posted that he was “banned after using OverJoint for a day. Running on super low settings, but I guess it was detected?”
The forum thread is filled with similar reports from other Overwatch cheaters. But while there is consensus on what they’re being banned for, there is some debate about why it’s happening. Some of the cheaters believe that Blizzard is identifying users running Highnoon and Overjoint files and auto-banning them. Others posit that they’ve been punished via manual bans due to reports of accounts performing suspiciously well in the game comparative to their in-game levels.
“Just received my ban. I only used once a few days ago,” wrote one banned Overwatch player. “I tried out in practice range and played 3-4 games in Quick Play. It is unlikely I was reported as I was still getting the hang of things and didn’t do anything spectacular.”
But a forum moderator hypothesized that “Due to the sheer low amount of ban reports, it can be assumed this ban wave was just Blizzard releasing their bans on people that had been reported a lot.”
For its part, Blizzard broke down its view of the situation to Kotaku. “We take cheating very seriously. ‘Play nice; play fair’ is one of our core values, and cheating undermines the spirit of fair play that all of our games are based on. Though we can’t get into the specifics on these bans, we are constantly working to improve our anti-cheating and anti-hacking measures to make sure Overwatch continues to provide a fun and fair multiplayer experience for our players.
“We continually monitor Overwatch for exploitative behavior, as well as take action as needed to preserve the integrity of game, and [Tuesday]’s bans were a part of that ongoing process.”
Of course, not all cheaters are so easily deterred. One poster who claimed to have been banned seven times said he had a method for getting back into the game after being banned. He claimed that banned users could run a PC cleaner program, restart their PC and modem, and make a new account under a different email with different personal info. Finally, cheaters then have to buy a new game and new hacks before getting right back to their cheating ways.