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What is Overwatch?

Overwatch is an in-game replay review system that lets the CS:GO community regulate itself by allowing qualified and experienced members of the community, called ‘Investigators‘, to review reports of disruptive behavior, determine whether those reports are valid, and apply temporary bans if appropriate.

How does Overwatch work?

Prospective Overwatch Investigators are presented with an active Overwatch button in the main menu, which indicates that there is a pending case for them to evaluate. The Investigators can then choose to participate by watching a replay (eight rounds’ worth, or roughly 10 minutes) and selecting a verdict.

If the Investigators collectively agree that an offense has occurred, an Overwatch ban will be issued. The ban duration will depend on the severity of the offense and the suspect’s history of convictions, if any.

How does a player end up getting reviewed by Overwatch?

The system contains replays of players whose pattern of being reported exceeds or otherwise stands out from those of their peers. They may have a sudden spike in reports, or they may have built up many reports over a long period of time.

A player may appear in a test case replay that previously received a 'not-guilty' verdict. These replays are randomly inserted into an Investigator's case load and are used exclusively to help the system score Investigators.

Note: the verdict in test cases will not result in any action against the suspect.

What are the charges and possible verdicts?

There are four distinct charges to be evaluated that cover the major forms of disruption. Each charge has two possible verdicts, ‘Insufficient Evidence,’ and ‘Evident Beyond a Reasonable Doubt.’ An Investigator may choose to ‘Postpone’ a review and restart it at a later time without a resolution.

What happens at the end of a case?

For each charge, if the system determines that the Investigators’ collective judgment agrees on an overwhelming verdict, then the case will be closed and all decisions rendered on the case will determine the final verdict. If the verdicts are overwhelmingly “Insufficient Evidence” or are inconclusive, the case will be thrown out.

I've been found guilty by Overwatch, what does this mean?

If you have been found guilty by Overwatch you will receive one of two messages:

  • Convicted by Overwatch - Minorly Disruptive: players receiving this message have been found guilty of in-game griefing and receive a ban of at least 30 days in CS:GO.
    Note: Players who receive a second Overwatch conviction for griefing will be permanently banned from CS:GO.
  • Convicted by Overwatch - Majorly Disruptive: players receiving this message have been found guilty of cheating and are permanently banned in CS:GO. These players will not be able to trade or use the market in CS:GO and must create a new account and re-purchase CS:GO if they wish to continue playing.

Overwatch bans are non-negotiable and cannot be removed or reduced by Steam Support.

 

Can I earn XP for participating in Overwatch?

Yes, you can earn XP by submitting accurate verdicts in your cases. After several of your cases have been resolved, you will receive an XP reward based on the overall accuracy of your recent verdicts, scaled by your Overwatch Investigator score.

You can collect your reward by completing matches and earning XP in any official game mode.

How do I become an Investigator?

Currently, the best way to become an Investigator is to play lots of matches in our official Competitive Matchmaking. We are slowly adding players to the pool of Investigators, and randomly pick them with consideration to their playtime and skill level. The goal is to invite as many skilled reviewers as possible.

Note: Steam Support cannot add players to the Investigator pool.

 

How are Investigators selected?

New Overwatch Investigators are selected based on their CS:GO activity and account standing. Some factors include:

  • Competitive wins
  • Account age
  • Hours played
  • Skill group
  • Low report count

If applicable, prior Overwatch participation level and score (a function of an Investigator's accuracy) will be taken into account. Community members who maintain both a high level of activity and high Overwatch scores will receive more cases to participate in.

Note: You must maintain an active skill group in order to remain an Overwatch Investigator

What evidence is available to Investigators?

Investigators are shown a replay of a randomly selected eight-round segment from an accused player’s match. Their task is to determine whether or not that player has committed any offenses during that replay. Suspected players are referred to as “The Suspect”, and the other players’ names and in-game text and voice chat have been omitted. The Investigator is expected to make a determination solely based on the actions of the suspect.

How are Investigators scored?

An Overwatch score represents an Investigator’s ability to consistently and accurately judge the evidence they review, per charge, in both real and test cases.

Investigators score positively for agreeing with the majority of other Investigators’ verdicts for the same replay, and score negatively for being in the minority. The resulting change in score is larger when most Investigators are in agreement, and smaller when they disagree. Because of the occasional test case inserted into the case load, the only way to improve an Overwatch score is to carefully watch the entire replay and make an informed and accurate judgment of the evidence provided.

Can one Investigator have more weight applied to their decision than another?

Yes. A higher-scoring Investigator’s verdict will carry more weight than a lower-scoring Investigator.

If I’m not an Investigator, how can I help?

All players can help by reporting disruptive behavior. Reports feed the pool of cases that get reviewed, and good reports result in efficient case reviews.

To file a report, open the scoreboard, use the arrow keys to navigate to a player, and press enter to open their player panel.

Aren’t mediocre players going to falsely convict good players?

It isn't necessary for a player to be exceptionally skilled to be a good Overwatch Investigator. For example, we would expect casters to be good Investigators regardless of their skill level given their experience in observing highly skilled play.

Every new Investigator will enter the pool with a low score, which only increases based on the accuracy of their verdicts. This process gives everyone a chance to participate while ensuring that only the best Investigators drive case outcomes.

Since the beginning of Overwatch, we have been extensively reviewing Investigators’ Overwatch Scores. There is no systematic difference in Overwatch Scores between Investigators who play in low, medium, and high skill groups.

The suspect is griefing a griefer in retribution. Is the suspect still guilty of griefing?

Unequivocally, yes!

Griefing in revenge either escalates an innocent mistake or generates the reaction that the griefer was intending. Additionally, it puts the griefed player in danger of being convicted for the retribution. There is no excuse for poor sportsmanship and your duty as an Investigator is to enforce the highest standards.

Do griefers and cheaters receive the same penalty when they are convicted?

No. The penalty assigned to a suspect is proportional to their behavior. Suspects who are convicted of griefing are given a moderate cooldown, whereas cheaters are removed from the game entirely.

As always, the best way to improve player behavior is to report griefers and cheaters whenever you encounter them.

Why is the evidence replay sometimes jittery?

Previously, interpolation, which is used to smooth the transition between the known positions of players, resulted in some situations where the suspect would appear to get a kill while aiming slightly off-target, even though their aim was actually correct. While we investigate potential smooth and accurate solutions, the interpolation of the suspect’s aim was removed from the overwatch demos in order to more accurately represent the suspect’s POV during kills. This may results in a more jittery view in some cases.

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