At the time of publication, Blizzard had not responded to a request for comment about player accounts being wiped.
Blizzard President Mike Ybarra acknowledged the issues facing players trying to load the game Tuesday, and said the company’s servers were getting hit with DDoS attacks, in which bad actors bombard servers with phony traffic from different sources to prevent users from accessing an online service.
Some players tried to circumvent the DDoS attacks by changing their regional location to Asia or Europe with mixed results. Players fortunate enough to get into “Overwatch 2” matches were still beset with problems. Many were abruptly booted from matches, which was especially frustrating for the players in the game’s ranked competitive mode, who struggled to win rounds as they lost teammates to connection errors.
“Overwatch 2” Director Aaron Keller stated Wednesday that Blizzard has been “steadily making progress” on “Overwatch 2’s” server issues as it contended with a second DDoS attack.
In recent years, blockbuster titles such as “Overwatch 2” have become popular targets for DDoS attacks, carried out by people who may have a grievance against a game company or are simply entertained by the ensuing chaos when a popular online service is disrupted. In September, players were unable to access Call of Duty titles, “World of Warcraft” and “Overwatch” after a massive DDoS attack took Activision Blizzard’s PC servers offline. “World of Warcraft Classic” players were cut off from the game in 2019 when Blizzard’s servers were slammed with DDoS attacks. In 2018, Ubisoft’s servers were flooded with DDoS attacks during its launch of “Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey,” which is not a multiplayer title but required an online connection to access.
DDoS attacks also go beyond gaming. Occupy Central, the campaign promoting democracy in Hong Kong, had its websites knocked offline by DDoS attacks in 2014.
Blizzard’s Team 4, the group tasked with developing “Overwatch 2,” has endured numerous issues while making the Overwatch franchise, including some tumultuous changes. Former “Overwatch” creative director Chris Metzen, the rock star developer who was the face and voice of Blizzard for over two decades, left the company in 2016, shortly after shipping the original “Overwatch.” He later revealed he was suffering panic attacks during the game’s development because of the overwhelming pressure to deliver a huge hit. In April 2021, Blizzard announced that Jeff Kaplan, “Overwatch’s” soft-spoken and beloved game director, had left the company after 19 years. Kaplan hasn’t been heard from since. Former Blizzard designer Jesse McCree, who was the namesake of “Overwatch’s” cowboy gunslinger hero (now known as Cole Cassidy), was removed from the company in August 2021 along with several other Blizzard employees when Activision Blizzard was hit with a sexual harassment suit.