It's a complete bloodbath for Overwatch cheaters right now

June 2, 2016 by Kris Ligman

True to its word, Blizzard has wasted no time swinging the banhammer on cheaters in its new team-based shooter.

Following a successful beta, Blizzard promised that it would be going hard on Overwatch cheaters. Turns out those were no empty words: just a week out from launch, the publisher has already meted out thousands of bans, with some upset players turning to forums to protest or beg for their accounts back.

"Our support staff will not overturn these closures and may not respond to appeals," reads at least one ban notice sent from Overwatch's moderation team, as reported by PCGamer.

In China, punishments for cheaters seem especially harsh, with Blizzard's local partner NetEase recently announcing a wave of more than 1,500 bans -- and it publicized the names of everyone who had been caught. That degree of naming-and-shaming would be harder to imagine on Western servers, but bans are still so pervasive that a leading Overwatch cheating client has shut off its authentication servers while it figures out what to do.

Naturally, there are players who feel their bans are unfair, and some are going to pretty extreme lengths to circumvent Blizzard to get back into a game. At least one player (and there are surely others) tried buying multiple retail copies -- you know, of a $60 game -- to get around their ban, to no avail:

Thought I got detected for using RPM tools, because the game was crashing for it at that time.

Bought the game again... didn't hack on it at all, just wanted to enjoy the game a bit. Two days later -- banned again.

Bought the game... again. But before doing that, I deleted Overwatch and launcher completely. Enjoyed it again without cheating only for a day.

On the player's fourth attempt, they wiped their hard drives, changed their computer's MAC address and tried going through a VPN... and Blizzard moderators still caught and banned them. Suppose we accept as true that this player didn't cheat after their initial ban notice, you might say this is excessive -- but it sure goes some distance in illustrating Overwatch's zero tolerance policy.

As a former game moderator myself, I can't help basking in a bit of this schadenfreude. In my experience, players who complained they were banned "FOR NO REASON" were almost always banned for an extremely obvious reason, and repeated efforts to get around a game's moderation team certainly won't endear them. While I have to imagine that Overwatch's restrictions may ease with time, it's great to see the game is taking such a firm stance against cheating from release day.

(h/t Kotaku.)