Blizzard once again takes the fight to Overwatch cheaters by tying copies of the online game to their geographical region, as well as suing hack developers.
Well and truly sick of Overwatch hackers, Blizzard will later this week open yet another front in their offensive against the cheaters that are ruining online play in one of its biggest hits to date. Besides combating the hacks directly, the company will now be going after the developers of such cheats as well. On top of that, Blizzard will also be tying copies of Overwatch to their Battle.net home region, in a bid to combat banned players logging in via a foreign account.
Cheating in online games is nothing new, of course, but the levels it has risen to in Overwatch is rather spectacular, with thousands of hacks detected in a day and some servers practically unplayable thanks to all the cheaters ruining the game for others. A little over a month ago, Blizzard banned 10,000 accounts in one fell swoop, all of them in South Korea, and it seems that the new rules tying down Battle.net accounts – the official gamers’ website for Blizzard – is specifically aimed at the East Asian country.
The hypercompetitive gaming culture in South Korea centers around PC bangs, which are cyber cafes where hundreds of players will spend hours at a time trying to improve their skills. That some use cheats as a form of electronic steroids seems to be accepted to a degree, which may be the reason why the epicenter for Blizzard’s cheating epidemic lies there.
Though Blizzard is quick to ban cheaters in Overwatch, many will simply circumvent the ban by creating an account in a foreign region and then gleefully log in again. By tying copies of the game to their region, this should be prevented as South Korean gamers need to use their country’s equivalent of a Social Security number to create an account.
As well as dealing with the cheaters directly, Blizzard will now step up their campaign against the developers of hacks. The company has taken legal action against them before, but apparently plans to do another round. Whether this will be as effective as the other planned measures remains to be seen, as it seems difficult to sue a freelance hacker that could be operating from virtually anywhere.
At the same time, it should be noted that up to now there is no measure by Blizzard that the kids in the PC bangs haven’t gotten around, as they likely see the ability to best Blizzard as just another part of the Overwatch sport. In one case, some even went so far as to sue Blizzard for banning them, which was an odd turning of tables, to say the least. So, what will happen when the new rules go into effect later this week will likely baffle the imagination just as much.
Overwatch is now available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.