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The curious case of Overwatch’s controversial Torbjorn ban

“Overwatch is more fun when everyone is playing nice.” 

Blizzard Entertainment

Can you get banned for being a one-hero player in Overwatch? The recent case of Xul and Torbjorn has started a community debate and now Blizzard has officially weighed in.

The whole story started when Reddit user posted about being banned from Overwatch for being a Torbjorn one-trick, the post has since been deleted. The community responded with outrage, initially, but quickly learned that things weren’t quite what they seemed with Xul, the player who had been banned. As it turned out, there was a lot more to Xul’s behavior than just sticking to Torbjorn.

As more facts emerged, and Xul’s case quickly began to close, the discussion shifted away from him and towards the idea of one-tricking in Overwatch and whether or not it’s bannable.

So, here’s everything you need to know about Xul, and one-tricking in Overwatch.

What is “One-Tricking”

The term comes from the phrase one trick pony, and describes a player who only plays one hero. This is different from the concept of “maining” which means that someone prefers to play a certain hero, but is open to playing other things should it be more beneficial for their team. Overwatch is built around the idea that players should switch heroes throughout the match to counter the enemy team and aid their allies.

Is that what got Xul banned?

Not exactly. Initially, the community thought that was the case, but it turns out Xul had been refusing to cooperate with his team, and even throwing games when another player could pick Torbjorn before he did. If someone else chose the diminutive engineer before him, Xul would respond by refusing to pick a hero and simply sitting in spawn. According to Blizzard, this type of behavior is unacceptable.

Xul said, in a now deleted comment, “this was the only time i have done this, I regret doing it, have no longer done it, and have already served a ban sentence for this.” However, Xul himself, in that same comment, said that he is currently banned by the auto-ban system thanks to his high volume of reports for not cooperating with his team.

So you can’t get banned for One-Tricking?

Not specifically, no. But Blizzard, in their second post on the issue, was very clear that Overwatch, especially the competitive mode, is about cooperating with your team to try to achieve victory. Players who refuse to do that, whether it be by obstinately sticking to their one-trick hero, in spite of their team’s wishes, or sitting in spawn when their hero got picked, appear fully subject to bans in Blizzard’s eyes.

It’s worth noting that Blizzard says, just playing an unpopular character that your teammates may not like, isn’t enough to get you banned. This is something that has had to be addressed in other online games, such as certain champions in League of Legends being considered so bad that playing them would instantly earn you a report.

So, if you wanna stay on Blizzard (and your team’s) good side, stick to maining heroes, but always be open to suggestions and willing to swap to someone new if things go south.