Would adding a Live Overwatch system to CS:GO help catch more cheaters?
(Screenshot by Esports Edition.)

Why CS:GO Needs a Live Overwatch System

Sep 6, 2017
(Screenshot by Esports Edition.)

In terms of anti-cheat prevention systems, Valve’s VAC System does an okay job for the most part. There’s also Overwatch, the crowdsourced demo review process designed to catch cheaters, which, while albeit not as instant as VAC, is somewhat effective at banning disruptive players. If the Overwatch system were to be improved however, adding a “Live Overwatch” system is a great place for Valve to start.

The main problem with Overwatch right now is that it’s too slow and many cases likely go unwatched. Most people simply don’t have a good reason to complete an Overwatch case — if you have a limited amount of time to play CS:GO, you’re more likely to spend that time actually playing the game instead of trying to pass judgement on suspected cheaters. In addition, there’s no way to check the outcome of your cases unless a person actually gets banned and even then, the notification is delayed. Overwatch Investigators don’t have a sense of whether or not they’re doing their “job” well, but the addition of a live Overwatch system that allowed Investigators to give on-the-spot verdicts could be a step in the right direction.

How Would a Live Overwatch System Work?

The idea of a live Overwatch system has been thoroughly discussed by shroud, fREAKAZOiD and minikerr and it’s a simple and effective concept. All five players on a team playing against a suspected cheater would have to request a live Overwatch. If this happens, an Investigator would join the game and spectate the suspicious player. After they’ve reached a verdict, the Investigator has three options: if they decide the suspect is blatantly hacking, they can kick him from the game and push him to the front of the Overwatch queue. If the Investigator can’t determine for sure if the Suspect is hacking, they can choose to forward the demo to the regular Overwatch queue for further review. If the Suspect is innocent, the players who asked for a Live Overwatch would get a two hour ban from requesting another. The option to join a Live Overwatch would appear on the Main Menu next to the normal Overwatch Case button.

To prevent Investigators from coming to a premature decision, they would need to spectate the Suspect for a specific amount of time. To give the investigator ample time to decide whether someone is cheating or not, requests for a Live Overwatch system would have to be made before halftime. As for who would be able to be a Live Investigator, I believe that any player worthy of being a regular Overwatch Investigator can do just as well as a Live Investigator.

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Based off of the limited information Valve has given us about the inner workings of Overwatch, the system works by compiling a large number of verdicts from different Investigators before issuing a final decision. To prevent a Live Overwatch system from placing the burden of an accurate verdict on one party and the massive potential for players to be kicked because they’re either good or just got lucky, a Live Overwatch process could require THREE live investigators to review a case simultaneously. If all three Investigators deliver a guilty verdict, the player is kicked — this removes the potential for abuse of power or trolling significantly.

Much like regular Overwatch cases, there’s no way to guarantee that all Live Overwatch requests would be answered, but Valve could easily offer small incentives to Investigators in the form of non-tradeable skins, stickers, cases, or keys. A functional Live Overwatch system would provide a much quick alternative to getting cheaters out of the match and banned from the game. Perhaps more importantly, it would make being an Investigator more interesting. Unlike regular Overwatch cases, Live Investigators would see their verdict have an effect on the spot, instead of waiting for a notification that the player was banned.

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Esports journalist with a passion for writing. Won't stop until I get to the top. Has previously worked with other organizations such as Denial eSports, Echo Fox, GAMURS and GosuGamers.
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