Overwatch Players Gaining EXP While AFK Will Be Banned
Overwatch Mercy - Banned
(Last Updated On: March 10, 2017)

As if there really needed to be more reasons not to play Overwatch (being boring and repetitive the chief among them), Blizzard has introduced a new rule that will see players getting banhammered if they attempt to gain experience points while inactive or away from the keyboard.

In a post over on Battle.net, [via FreedomCGC] Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan explained that some players are exploiting the custom game mode in order to level up while inactive, and they will resort to banning those users for doing so.

Kaplan writes…

“Abusing and exploiting Custom Game or any other game mode to earn experience in Overwatch while inactive is NOT ok. 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.”

The Custom Games have been used to create a wide variety of different game types in Overwatch, such as the Zombie Horde mode, which you can check out in a video below by AlexACE.

Not everyone makes derivative modes based on Left 4 Dead, though.

Some players have been logging into the custom game, setting themselves up to win a match, then earning the XP and then leveling up.

So what’s the benefit of this? Well, it’s possible to unlock some cosmetics and loot boxes, but leveling up doesn’t improve your play experience nor does it upgrade your character.

Even still, Kaplan and the rest of the team took steps to limit how much experience players will earn from the Custom Games. Skirmish, for instance, will no longer reward XP when playing through a Custom Game mode, and there’s now an AFK timer set into place so users can’t farm experience points while away from the keyboard.

If it continues, Kaplan threatens the community that experience points altogether will be turned off in the Custom Games. He implores users to snitch on others who are creating rooms just to farm XP, stating…

“The feature is so much cooler and better for everyone if we do not have to put draconic restrictions on it. To fast forward a bit, the end of the escalation plan will result in experience gain being turned off in Custom Game. I really don’t want to see us getting to that point. So 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”

So there you have it. You can’t farm XP unless you’re actually grinding just so you can unlock cosmetic items and other useless things like emotes and stickers.

(Main image courtesy of Adran)


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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • LurkerJK

    Yeah, don’t try to address the problem, don’t try to reduce grinding or incentive playing the game proper by making it more fun

    Nope, just threaten and drop the banhammer

    That has work since time immemorial … Says nobody that has ever played an online game

    how does the whole banhammer against cheaters thing work out for Ubisoft games or COD again ? Oh yeah it doesnt

    • Disqusted

      If a game was boring me enough that I felt I had to cheat, and I got banned for it, I would just quit and never come back. I bet most people who cheat feel that way.

      That being said, I don’t like to cheat if it can ruin or mess with other people’s experience. But I don’t see anything wrong with it if you’re just keeping it to yourself and not bothering anyone else.

  • Alistair

    Isnt it rather silly, they made custom games in the first place.

    It really simple to fix. COD Private matches that can to custom a game doesn’t allow gaining experience points.

    Instead of blaming gamers and threaten them. They should fix the exploit in a already troubled cesspit of a Social justice game.

  • Disqusted

    I wonder when game designers will realize the number one reason people idle in their shitty games is because a number of people don’t enjoy wasting so much time grinding something they don’t enjoy, to unlock shit or progress.

  • MONAD

    If there’s no other benefit to gaining XP other than to unlock cosmetic shit and emotes, then why the fuck does Blizzard even care about this? It’s not like these folks are “boosting” like some idiots in CoD like to do for bragging rights. Cheaters / Hackers I get, but this? It’s fucking dumb to ban players for.

    • Alistair

      Ahh boosting with your friends is fun as long your PSN friends doesn’t snitch on you.

      TBH while it is kind of cheating, it not as bad as glitching getting under the map was a challenge in it self.

      I can see why people camp, exploit the game faults it shows a game being broken as hell.

      • Disqusted

        Yeah, I find that a bunch of games get boring super fast if you use cheats/downloaded saves to unlock everything immediately.

        Modern games rely way too much on stupid shit like unlocking.

    • giygas

      They want you to spend money on microtransactions to unlock that shit instead.

    • Chris Bower

      They care because if a person cheats and is showing at level 99 with 5 stars or example, yet they only just got the game recently and use this exploit it messes up the ranking system and therefore the matchmaking system where kiddies with 5 stars etc have the skill of a level 50 player therefore ruining competitive for people who have to have them on their team etc. That took a few seconds to use my brain, instead of screaming about your exploit taken away from you ya just play the game how the rest of us have to, your not special people who can have the rules bended for you!