Blizzard continues to take steps to combat Overwatch's ongoing toxicity this week by implementing a new player feedback system: endorsements. The system is intended to encourage positive play and communication, though early community responses indicate it isn't being taken well by everyone.
Endorsements allow players to reward teammates and opponents at the end of a match for exhibiting good teamwork, leadership, or sportsmanship. The feature comes at no cost to the player giving the endorsement, and gives the receiving player an EXP boost, putting them that much closer to a level up and a loot box. Blizzard hopes it will help reverse the oft-reported toxicity of Overwatch's community, a problem that was addressed last year by game director Jeff Kaplan in the wake of news that investigations and bans for toxic behavior were taking up so much time that development progress had slowed.
Though it's respectable overture, IGN reports that some players across the Overwatch subreddit have voiced concerns that the system encourages people to be "fake nice" for rewards, alongside mentions that once the novelty wears off it may just be used to commend Plays of the Game or generally skilled play, rather than encourage actual positive player behaviors.
Speaking of Play of the Game, Blizzard was also in the news today for filing a patent on that very system with the US Patent and Trademark Office. Specifically, the patent is for the method of selecting a Play of the Game during a match, from the way the server records the events to the way those events are "scored" to determine which was the main highlight.
The patent has not yet been approved, and though game mechanics in general cannot be patented (nor does a developer have exclusive rights to a game genre), there is plenty of precedent for the technology itself to be patented. For example, Activision was granted a controversial patent last year that encouraged microtransaction spending.