Fans have recently discovered and reported a new bug in Overwatch which has some pretty devastating consequences.
For a while Blizzard was unaware of the cause, but not long ago game director Jeff Kaplan announced that efforts to fix the issue were underway. While the bug causes serious damage, it is not irreversible and has only affected fewer than 200 accounts worldwide.
You might be asking yourself why a bug with so few confirmed cases in a game with an active player base of several million is newsworthy. What makes this worth sharing with the world are the effects of the bug. Players affected will get hit with competitive bans, preventing them from participating in ranked matches. Others hit by the bug weren’t banned, but rather suffered sudden, unexplained massive reductions in their Skill Rating.
Naturally, this is a serious issue in one of the world’s top competitive games.
Players can get really invested, both emotionally and with their personal time, in the ranked mode of Overwatch. It has become one of the most popular competitive titles in the industry and the players take their SR extremely seriously – in many cases you might say too seriously, but when a bug destroys hours upon hours of progress, getting angry is perfectly justified.
We recently identified a bug that, in extremely rare cases, can cause players to lose their skill rating progress and receive a seasonal ban from Competitive Play without any prior penalties for leaving early or being kicked for inactivity. This bug is a high priority for our team, and we’re working on a fix to prevent further instances of it occurring as we speak
Though the bug has affected only a tiny fraction of players, many victims took to the social pages associated with the game to report it (with varying amounts of swearing) to their fellow players and to Blizzard Entertainment in the hopes of getting it fixed as soon as possible. The storm this kicked up was quite large as droves of hardcore competitive players became worried that soon their progress might go up in smoke or get hit with an undue ban, so Blizzard took note swiftly.
While the cause of the bug has yet to be found and an ETA given on a hotfix, Blizzard has already revoked the bans the bug dealt out and restored any mistakenly removed SR, so the victims of the bug have been reimbursed, and anyone else who might encounter this issue between now and it being patched will get the same treatment.
However, it still means lost time in a finite season. Hopefully Blizzard can get on top of the situation quickly before the bug spreads and begins affecting a lot more players.