No Twitch For Twits
Griefers, quitters, trolls and other aggravating online denizens can make Xbox Live a much more toxic place than it ought to be... but apparently this might be about to change.
As promised, Microsoft are preparing to roll out the Xbox One's revamped reputation system later this week, which is designed to punish serial offenders and scare potential griefers into perfect gentlemen. Whether it works is another matter entirely.
"Last July, I gave you a preview of what to expect with reputation on Xbox One," explained system engineer Micheal [sic] Dunn on Xbox Wire. "Gaming has always been a social activity, and for Xbox One we redesigned the Xbox Live community-powered reputation system from Xbox 360 to help better inform players about their behavior in the community."
To this end, Xbox One's reputation system categorises players into three specific groups - Good, Needs Work and Avoid Me, as explained last year. Reports for abuse, unsportsmanlike behaviour, foul language and other bad behaviour will gradually nudge repeat offenders towards the bottom of the barrel, which eventually results in privileges being withdrawn. Avoid Me players will lose the ability to broadcast on Twitch and will only be able to matchmake with other bottom-feeders. Killer Instinct recently trialled this system to cut down on ragequitters, but it will soon roll out system-wide.
However, there's an interesting stage in between. Players who Need Work will be reminded that their privileges are in jeopardy via "reputation warnings" (automated messages, we assume), intended to
- “Good Players” – The majority of gamers will fall into this level. As we’ve said before, we have plans to introduce rewards for good behavior and look forward to sharing more in the future!
- Warnings for “Needs Work” – Beginning this month, some players will start receiving reputation warnings as their reputations drop due to feedback from the community. The purpose of these communications is to remind players about their effect on the community and encourage them to have more positive interactions. These warnings are based on community feedback collected since Xbox One launched.
- Penalties for “Avoid Me” – If players do not heed warnings and continue to have a negative impact on other players and the Xbox Live community, they will begin to experience penalties. For example, people with an “Avoid Me” rating will have reduced matchmaking pairings and may be unable to use certain privileges such as Twitch broadcasting.
"Remember, we designed the algorithm so it won’t penalize you for bad reports over a few weeks of play," Dunn assures us. "The system also adjusts for false reports from people that might intentionally report someone of greater skill or for other griefing purposes."
It's a neat idea in theory, but only time will tell whether Dunn's magical algorithm is indeed able to successfully separate the wheat from the chaff - and whether it will actually deter the lowest common denominator from spoiling our online experience. Still, it couldn't be any worse than the Xbox 360's system, so we'll keep you posted.
What do you make of it, and how would you deal with detoxifying Xbox Live? We'd like to see system wide auto-muting for Avoid Me players at the very least, meaning that they're banned from voice comms in every game they play.