Overwatch is a game all about competition, to the point where a large part of the game’s marketing is that anyone can pick it up and pursue the Path to Pro, perhaps even eventually playing as one of the elite Overwatch League starters. It’s not the core of the game, but that aspect is very present, with players constantly trying to improve their own play, learn, grow, and get better by any means necessary. The problem is that doing so on your own can be tough, especially with Overwatch’s in game stat system. Some players have taken to hiring coaches, others check out online guides, and a few have started looking into external third-party programs.
Visor and Pursuit both offer an in-game coach; the programs run in the background and provide the player with information and tools. Blizzard has stepped in to make it clear that this goes beyond a helping hand and crosses the line into being rule breaking. In a statement on the forums, community manager Tom Powers wrote:
Recently, we’ve investigated third-party applications designed for use while playing Overwatch and we’d like to reiterate which of these applications are not permitted in Overwatch. To provide more clarity, any third-party application that impedes on the competitive integrity in Overwatch is not allowed. For example, a third-party application that offers users information such as enemy position, enemy health, enemy ability usage, or Ultimate readiness creates an uneven playing field for every other player in the map.
Our stance has always been that users found to be cheating—or using hacks, bots, or third-party software that provides any sort of unfair advantage—those users will be permanently banned from the game. In this case, we’ll be reaching out to users that we’ve detected to be using this unauthorized software; to notify those users that those specific third-party applications are not permitted and do not align with the Blizzard EULA. Furthermore, we will be requesting those users to immediately remove the unauthorized software to avoid account suspension.
We take competition very seriously in Overwatch. The foundation of good competition is every player being equally-equipped to compete against one another, but many third-party applications erode the level playing field in Overwatch we strive for.
Thank you, Heroes.
Pursuit’s site writes that they are “trusted by the top teams”, including the Philadelphia Fusion and a bevy of World Cup teams. The team responded:
We are aware of the emails from Blizzard warning players of using third party software like Pursuit. We are looking into this and taking this very seriously. We will keep you posted as we have more information.— pursuitapp (@pursuitgg) September 19, 2018
Visor has made a similar reply, noting:
We're already looking into this and taking this very seriously - stay tuned.— Visor (@VisorGG) September 19, 2018
UPDATE 09/24/2018 - Visor has made an official reply to Blizzard’s ruling and their future steps. CEO Ivan Zhou writes:
Blizzard states in their examples that a third-party application which offers information such as “enemy position, enemy health, enemy ability usage, or ultimate readiness” impedes the competitive integrity of Overwatch. As gamers, we agree completely with the importance of competitive integrity and would never do anything to undermine it. To clear up any confusion about what Visor does — and does not do — we address each of these points below. We are doing this not because of Blizzard specifically, but because we feel it is necessary to clearly explain how Visor works across the board. Before going into detail, we would like to emphasize that this is our own interpretation of Blizzard’s perspective based on their postings, and we would be happy to discuss this with them directly at any point.
We will continue to update this story as information on third party programs becomes available.