Overwatch's Super Bans Are Great News For (Non-Cheating) Gamers

Nothing takes the fun out of an online game like cheaters. It's one thing to take on opponents that are simply much better than you at the game. That gives you incentive to work hard, practice, and get better. But if you run into players that don't take damage, seem to headshot from across the map, and can see through walls, you aren't going to have any fun. Blizzard knows this, and that's why they're making sure that cheaters don't ruin Overwatch.

Blizzard is taking a heavy-handed approach on a number of levels. First off, they're not just banning people and leaving it at that. Instead, they have taken to shaming those who have been caught. Just check out this list of more than 1500 players in China who have been permanently banned from the game.

When a player gets banned from most games, this means that the account itself is banned. Nothing prevents you from buying a new copy of the game, and making a new account to begin the process once again. At least that's been the case with nearly every other online game. However, Blizzard seems to be taking things much further.

There are seedier parts of the internet where hackers go to discuss their methods for hacking. I won't link to them here, but they can be found if you look hard enough. But on some of these forums, lots of users are getting upset because despite buying a fresh copy of the game, they are still getting banned.

Some users have gone above and beyond to try and fool Blizzard into letting them play the game again. Among the things tried include changing the MAC address, changing CPU ID in the registry, changing BiosDate in the registry, and using a VPN. Despite doing all of these things, users are still getting their new accounts banned. Here's a screenshot provided by PC Gamer, from one such person:

This is the first time I've heard of a company taking such drastic measures to ban cheaters and hackers. Many of the people complaining have stated that they stopped cheating/hacking after the first ban. And it's easy to feel sorry for people that have paid for new copies of the game and pinkie-sworn to not cheat anymore. However, I think Blizzard's new Super Bans are completely justified.

There are other games out there where people enjoy trying to create new hacks, and will burn through account after account, just to see how long they can get away with the next new thing. In these cases, the bans are only good, so long as the person behind them doesn't have the cash to shell out for another copy of the game. Once they do, they might be good to hack and cheat for days, weeks, or even months, depending on how good the next hack they find or create is.

With the fear of a Super Ban, many users who might consider installing a hack probably won't. After all, if you have to choose between getting to having god-like powers for a while and possibly never playing again, or just playing the game like everyone else, they'll choose the latter. So the Super Ban works as a good method of deterring the average player.

But the Super Bans also may serve another purpose. There are plenty of people out there that will spend their time and effort trying to create hacks that they can distribute, and sometimes even sell to other players. If their machines are compromised after just one test, they won't be able to continue developing their programs that help players cheat. Until a method is discovered to clean a computer that has been Super Banned, cheat creators will be out of business.

Blizzard may be taking a heavy-handed approach to protecting Overwatch players. However, what they're doing is in the best interest of the players at large, and that's good business. Games that get overran with cheaters often stop being fun for the community, and drift into obscurity. Overwatch has been fun so far, and I'd like to see it continue to grow in the absence of hackers and cheaters.