Anyone farming Overwatch XP through somewhat sneaky methods may want to change their ways, as developer Blizzard is coming down hard on cheats from now on. In a forum post, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan outlined the company's plans to stop players exploiting the recently introduced custom games. Until now these matches did not kick you for becoming inactive, and in periods of low playercount they would revert into a Team Deathmatch-style mode called Skirmish.
"It's very disappointing to us that players abused the system to gain experience while inactive," Kaplan wrote. "As some of you have noticed, Skirmish in Custom Game no longer rewards experience. Also, the AFK timer is now in place in Skirmish mode (in Custom Game only).
"Abusing and exploiting Custom Game or any other game mode to earn experience in Overwatch while inactive is NOT okay. The reason I want to be absolutely clear about this is because we are going to start to take disciplinary action against people who partake in these activities. If you create a Custom Game that in any way encourages players to gain experience while inactive, you risk having your account banned. If you join any game mode--including Custom Games--with the intent of gaining experience while being inactive, you risk having your account banned. Also, do not name your Custom Game that in anyway even implies that gaining experience while inactive is okay--please do not even do this as a joke--because you are putting yourself at risk of having your account banned."
That's might not be the end of the sanctions either, warns Kaplan. Players continuing to abuse the system could face further punishment.
"When we put this feature live, we had an internal escalation plan for how to combat this behavior," the director explains. "Today marks the first steps on that path.
"To fast forward a bit, the end of the escalation plan will result in experience gain being turned off in Custom Game."
Kaplan says he would rather not get to that point though, and so pleads with the Overwatch community to not cheat and to report anyone who does: "I am going to ask for some help from the vast majority of you who are simply playing the game and having fun and not abusing it: please report those who are creating Custom Games with the intention of gaining experience while remaining inactive."