Blizzard Entertainment is instituting widespread policy changes to combat Overwatch’s hacking problem. In a post on the Korean Battle.net forum, a representative for the developer explains the measures it plans to take to make it harder for cheaters to get away with unfair play.
“‘Play nice; play fair; is one of the core values that Blizzard will continue to emphasize,” the post says in translation. “In an effort to keep those values, we are always doing our best in order to keep a fair gaming environment and have been taking the necessary measures against “nuking” and cheating players from inhibiting your perfect gaming experience.
Those measures include investigating legal action against those who create or share cheating programs, which have become prevalent among the Korean internet cafe (or PC bang) scene. These programs allow players to circumvent the rules and perform such actions as “nuking,” which is akin to launching a DDoS attack against an opponent to keep them from victory.
Blizzard is specifically going after another popular cheat used by PC bang visitors, however. Beginning Feb. 17, all versions of Overwatch installed at the public locations will require players with non-Korean accounts to own a personal copy of the game in order to play.
That should curtail much of the hacking that’s become endemic to the Korean Overwatch scene. That’s because numerous players intent on gaming the system use foreign accounts when playing at PC bangs. Unlike North American or European Battle.net accounts, Korean ones are tied to Social Security numbers, so players are limited in how many they can create. To circumvent that, as a Redditor explained, many hackers make infinite numbers of foreign accounts and play Overwatch using the already-installed, constantly-refreshed PC bang copies.
This is the most sweeping gesture Blizzard has made in South Korea to keep players from hacking. Earlier this month, the company banned thousands of players whom were caught hacking their way through Overwatch. That was only a temporary salve, however; changing things from the account level may see widespread positive ramifications for the country’s competitive scene.
The PC bang update hasn’t gone live yet, so local players will have to wait until Feb. 17 to see if the policy changes really fix the problem. For now, though, the news should come as a relief to Overwatch players in Korea who just want to play fair and square.