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Blizzard Korea takes big step in combating cheaters

Posted by Robbert "Broeder" Troost at 14 February 2017 18:07

While Korea is arguably the strongest Overwatch region, it's also the region plagued with the most hackers in public play. Finally, Blizzard Korea is taking steps to completely stop this problem.

While hackers are a factor in all games, in Overwatch the problem has remained small. Of course we do not count the blatant cheating that Soldier: 76's and Widowmakers are up to every single game. But one specific region has had to deal with a substantial hacking issue: Korea.

Due to the PC Bang culture of Korea, where gaming is a lot more social and people go to special internet cafes to play together, a lot of the players do not actually depend on having their own Overwatch license to use and progress in. Instead, visitors of PC Bangs use the same public accounts, or create new ones every time without actually having to purchase the game, using the general license of the PC Bang. Due to the business model of Overwatch, people do not have to work their way towards getting all heroes, but are given all functional content right at the start.

Well, this has had the effect of nullifying the risk of cheating in Overwatch, and thus has enabled an ever increasing popularity of macros. Since the players do not feel strongly about their current account, and they can just get a new one when their old ones get banned, the Korean ladders are full of all kinds of hackers that greatly reduce the enjoyment of the game for legit players.

Now, however, Blizzard Korea has made a policy change. They have closed the loophole that allowed Korean players to register new, free accounts time after time. Before, players were able to spoof their identity when signing up to play, often creating NA accounts to be used in Korea. This way, they could circumvent Korea's laws restricting underage gaming, and there was no way to trace hacking back to personal info.

But starting the 17th of February, Blizzard will now only accept Korean accounts in combination with said PC Bang licenses, meaning you have a choice: purchase the game in any region and play, or play for free but register a Korean account (through a stricter process).

You can read the original announcement in Korean here, and also direct you to some fan-made translations on Reddit here.

We hope that this change will prove watertight, increasing the risk of getting caught and thus reducing the popularity of all kinds of hacking.

For more competitive Overwatch and other news, follow us @GosuOverwatch.

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