With the open beta having come to a close a couple days ago, and with the release coming in twelve short days, Blizzard has taken the time to address cheating in Overwatch.
In short: don’t cheat. As if it weren’t obvious, Blizzard will not be treating you kindly. Anyone found to be cheating in Overwatch will be permanently banned. This no-nonsense policy is great. Both World of Warcraft and Hearthstone have given players temporary bans, at least on their first offense, but knowing that Blizzard won’t be giving cheaters in Overwatch a second chance may prevent them from even trying in the first place, especially considering the $40 (or $60) entrance fee.
Of course the game will undoubtedly have people who don’t care and will cheat anyway, and they’ll be banned. It’s also interesting to see that Blizzard had already removed cheaters from the open beta. So they already have tools in place to detect them prior to launch, which means those tools will only improve. The game did desperately need a report function; you could report, but only through chat. So someone who you found to be acting suspiciously would need to have said something in chat in order for you to report them.
In my time during the open beta (and boy did I play a lot) I never saw anyone overtly cheating in Overwatch. You know those guys, the ones who snap between the heads of all players, and through walls, and are in no way subtle about the fact they’re cheating. I saw none of that, but the best cheaters are the ones who are indistinguishable from skilled players. They hack, but they don’t draw attention to the fact. There were a few people I would’ve reported if I could, but they might’ve just been really good at the game.
There was even some controversy at a tournament hosted during the open beta. Some people thought one of the players on one of the teams was cheating, but looking at some of the gifs and replays, and knowing that the kill-cams and spectator cams aren’t be a perfect reproduction of what happened, that player could’ve also been just really good, and considering the buzz around Overwatch, it’s quite likely that really good players are going to flock to it.
We’ll just have to hope that Blizzard’s successful in their methods of detecting the skillful players from the cheaters. They’re definitely got the resources.