Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan has apologized to an angry player he shut down in a forum post, calling his comments “unprofessional” and offering the player a free year’s subscription to World of Warcraft.
Kaplan’s response to a Battle.net forum post made by “SharkyMarky” was widely shared in the game’s community, with it becoming the top post on the Overwatch subreddit. His response to SharkyMarky’s post, which asked “Does blizzard even play their own game?????”, reads: “We play the game a lot. Looking at your profile, I’ve won approximately 800 more games than you have. That’s not counting the daily internal playtests I am in, the time I spent in Alpha and Beta.
“Did you have a specific question or are you just here trolling?”
Though many commended Kaplan for his response to a player who many perceived as just another troll lurking the game’s message boards, the troll in question later posted an update to Overwatch Reddit, revealing that Kaplan had not only apologized to him but had also given him a one-year subscription to another Blizzard game, World of Warcraft.
The forum poster became annoyed after struggling with Widowmaker.
SharkyMarky explained that he felt guilty after receiving Kaplan’s response, so he contacted Blizzard’s live support and asked if he could send a message to the director. After being afforded the opportunity to pass his apology through to Kaplan (along with some suggestions for Widowmaker, the reason why he was annoyed with the game in the first place), he received the following response:
“So first, I’m sorry for calling you out publicly on our forums. It was unprofessional and lacked good judgement on my part. To explain (and not excuse) what I did, I was simply feeling worn down at the moment. My team and my company care so much about feedback. So much so that one of the company values – which is bronzed around our Orc Statue in the center of campus – is “Every Voice Matters”. We’re constantly taking critical feedback – as we should be. On a personal level, I get frustrated and annoyed when people take “shots” at us without actually stating what their issue is. How are we supposed to act on feedback if the feedback is nothing but an insult? We get tons of feedback each day that we both agree and disagree with, and we love hearing it. But it’s super demoralizing to us to simply get insulted. To imply that we don’t play our game or that we don’t love our game is just straight up false.
Our team cares so deeply for what we’ve created and equally – if not more so – for our players.
I’m really sorry I replied the way I did and I hope it hasn’t brought any unwarranted attention from other players to you. If anyone is harassing you, please let me know.
Secondly, thanks for providing such detailed feedback on Widowmaker. I know people hate when I say this, but we really are keeping a very close eye on her. Widowmaker is one of those heroes whose usefulness greatly ebbs and flows depending on the current “accepted” meta as well as the map pool. Lately, we’re seeing a rise in Widow play. We’re starting to see Widow’s in the Top 1000 and she’s getting more and more use in pro play. The resurgence of Pharah has also led to a rise in the prevalence of Widow play. Your hook suggestions are interesting and not difficult for us to implement. We do want to be careful though. Widow should have some counters. I know as much as Widow players hate Winston and D.Va diving them, that’s kind of their job. We’ve had states of the meta in both live and in beta where Widow was too dominant and the resultant gameplay was not very fun. Because of the ability to 1 shot kill heroes, we have to be extremely careful with her so there is some counterplay in the mix.
Regarding Venom Mine, when we first implemented it it did significant damage. So much so that we had to tone it down. We eventually settled on its role being more about “detection and awareness” and less about lethality. Maybe it could use a little bump on damage? It’s quite possible.
Geoff, our Hero Designer, plays a ton of Widowmaker and is very good with her. So we do have some expertise with her directly on the team. We wrestle with that collective feedback from the forums which is “why are you guys always changing stuff” vs. “Blizzard takes too long to balance”. Obviously, those two statements are in direct conflict but our forums are riddled with both statements.
Anyway, SharkyMarky, I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have used a dedicated and loyal player like you to make a point. You didn’t deserve that.
I hope you forgive me and realize that my actions are a reflection of my own personal flaws and don’t speak directly for the awesome folks I work with here at Blizzard.
All the best to you,
p.s. I’m not sure if you’re a World of Warcraft player, but please enjoy a year Subscription on me: (not putting it here lol)
If you don’t play WoW, have fun making a WoW player’s day!”
SharkyMarky said that after receiving the apology, he has now “learned from his mistakes” and that Kaplan “is a force to be reckoned with.” “So moral of the story, appreciates the devs,” he continued. “Don’t be rude like I was because they truly care about their players.”
This email exchange has inspired Overwatch Reddit to now discuss their gratitude to Kaplan and the rest of the Overwatch team, setting up a post in which they each commented thanking Blizzard for their hard work since the game’s launch. Kaplan personally responded to this post, writing: “You guys are so awesome. Thanks for this post. I am just one tiny part of an amazing team of Artists, Producers, Programmers, Designers and Audio experts (not to mention all of the support teams that help us).
“They’re the ones doing all of the hard work and making all the cool stuff you love. I just get sent across the street to film the dev updates because they are too busy and important to do it… haha! But on behalf of Team 4 (aka The Overwatch Team), thank you guys for being the best community a game could ask for.”