- Reports of thrower bots infiltrating ranked lobbies in Overwatch 2 are causing concern among players, potentially affecting the multiplayer shooter’s future.
- The presence of these bots, which are linked to newly created accounts, fuels the gray market for smurf accounts and disrupts matchmaking systems.
- Blizzard has yet to address the issue and implement measures to combat the influx of bots, putting players at risk of unfair and unbalanced games. However, they have tackled Overwatch 2’s cheating problem with a massive ban wave.
With reports emerging online regarding full squads of bots showing up in ranked lobbies, Overwatch 2 faces yet another public hurdle as Season 7 kicks off. Although some Overwatch 2 players may welcome this influx of markedly easier matches, these incidents spell potential trouble for the multiplayer shooter down the line.
Despite how recent developments such as the launch of the Overwatch 2 Invasion Update are giving the title some much-needed positive momentum, the game’s core player base is continuing to run into problems with its matchmaking system. Aside from its opaque progression system, the incidence of cheaters, and the ever-present threat of toxic teammates, there is now a surge of what the community is calling “thrower bots” in their competitive and casual lobbies.
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Reports detailing the incidence of bots in competitive Overwatch 2 matches go back as early as January 2023. In a thread detailing their experience, Reddit user MalinbuCola wrote that they queued into a game against an entire enemy team that did not leave their spawn area, only moving right before the game would kick them for inactivity. Incidents like these only exacerbate the perceived decline of the Overwatch 2 matchmaking experience, with recent reports indicating that this problem isn’t going away any time soon. Recently, Reddit user Bhu124 reported getting paired up with bot teammates and opponents for six games in a row over a two-hour timespan, with multiple users echoing their sentiments across the past few days.
A prevailing theory in the community suggests that these bots, which tend to be tied to newly created accounts, fuel the growing gray market for Overwatch 2 smurf accounts. As these bots accrue hours of bot-fragging AFK gameplay and end up placed in Bronze, higher-ranking players can then purchase these accounts to wreak havoc in lower-ranked lobbies. Practices such as this plague high player-volume multiplayer titles, Overwatch 2 included, which are notorious for hosting bad actors that exploit matchmaking systems for profit or, worse, simply to ruin the experience of others.
However, Blizzard has yet to release a statement regarding the incidence of bot 5-stacks appearing in competitive lobbies. With no measures set in stone to combat this wave of bots announced so far, players remain at risk of loading up into bot-ridden games stripped of competitive parity. Thankfully, Blizzard has cracked down on Overwatch 2‘s cheating problem, which carried over from the title’s previous installment. Upon release, a massive ban wave saw thousands of Overwatch 2 cheaters culled from the game’s servers.
Overwatch 2 is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.
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