Cheaters and other in-game exploiters, beware! Valve is introducing a new feature into their popular FPS Counter Strike: Global Offensive that is designed to make sure any reports of disruptive or abusive behavior are properly dealt with. The new system, called Overwatch, allows Valve to enlist the CS:GO community in helping self-regulate any potential misbehavior.
According to the official FAQ, Overwatch is designed so that “investigators” (active community members chosen based on such factors as account age, hours played, Skill Group, and good standing within the community) can be easily presented with a dedicated Overwatch button which displays any active cases pending review. These cases contain archived replay footage, about ten minutes in length, of a specified player flagged for misconduct. After the investigator has finished reviewing the replay, they can select from three potential options to decide an outcome: “Majorly Disruptive (cheating), Minorly Disruptive (griefing),” or simply cite “Insufficient Evidence” if they remain undecided.
For those worried about the potential abuse of such power, Valve has a well-crafted system in place to ensure folks don’t take advantage of the ability to ban fellow players. For one thing, players will only be reviewed through the Overwatch system if they have a noticeably high rate of being reported; whether it be a series of reports in rapid succession or a large number of reports over time. Secondly, those under review will remain anonymous. Investigators viewing replay footage will notice that the subject-in-question’s name will be replaced with “The Suspect,” and all other secondary player names will be changed. Additionally, all voice and text chat will be omitted, so investigators will only have the action on-screen to judge the validity of a case without any outside bias. What’s more, a single vote is not enough to ban the alleged offender; if the system finds that multiple investigators have reached “an overwhelming verdict,” a final judgment will be reached accordingly.
Finally, to ensure that investigators take the job seriously, only those with higher investigator scores (which are increased by successful case evaluations via selecting the most popular verdict) will be asked to frequently review new cases. This means that only those who carefully review and understand the CS:GO community rules and guidelines will have the most influence.
Having gamers police each other is often a tricky system to implement, but Valve seems confident this will be an effective way to deter cheating and other forms of exploitation. If the system works as smoothly as they intend, it should serve as a fair and democratic approach to peer regulation. I’ll be interested to see how well the Overwatch feature holds up a year from now.
What do you guys and gals think about Overwatch? Do you trust the most active members of your gaming communities to help police the rest of the players? Or would you rather all the decision-making be left up to developers like Valve? Share your thoughts below, and don’t forget to like IGXPro on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or give us the ‘ol +1 on Google+.