It's only been a few weeks since the "looking for group" feature and endorsements were rolled out to Overwatch, but they're already having a positive effect. Game director Jeff Kaplan shared some early stats in a brief forum post indicating that abusive behavior has gone down dramatically in the Americas and Korea since the features went live.
Competitive matches containing abusive chat were down 26.4 percent in the Americas and 16.4 percent in Korea, Kaplan said, while the percent of daily players being abusive has shrunk by 28.8 percent in the Americas and 21.6 percent in Korea. Other stats aren't available yet, as Kaplan said he's "just sharing what progress we had" so far.
"Looking for group" gives players the ability to set specific parameters for matchmaking, such as restricting roles or requiring voice chat, while endorsements recognize "commendable behavior" in the game, like sportsmanship, "being a good teammate," or getting on the payload. It's kind of a preemptive moderation system: Instead of punishing bad behavior, it rewards positive play and attitudes, although the specifics of the promised "periodic rewards" haven't been announced yet.
"We’re really pleased with the community’s efforts to make OW a better place! Thank you all!" Kaplan wrote. "And we’ll keep working on iterating on these features to make them better as well as exploring other systems to improve the gameplay environment."
I don't think anyone believes that toxicity in online gaming can ever be fully eliminated, but it's really pleasing to see efforts like this (and Ubisoft's, which comes at Rainbow Six Siege from a completely opposite but also effective direction) come to fruition. Competition is great, but abusive behavior is something entirely different.