They’re called bots, and they are everywhere: Blizzard neglected to place some form of Captcha in front of their MVP vote for the third season of the Overwatch League, and it has fundamentally been twisted by bots running rampant for the past few days.
Last night alone, Philadelphia Fusion’s Kyung-bo ‘Alarm’ Kim gained a whopping 80,000 votes in the span of roughly eight hours, shifting his placement from fifth to third in a bizarre event that has some pointing to the Philadelphia Fusion team for twisting the vote, and others pointing at Alarm’s fanbase as ‘attempting to give him the recognition he deserves’.
Whichever it is, and whoever is responsible, has soured the entire notion of the MVP award for the third season as multiple users have seen an odd inflation of votes in recent days; currently, Ki-hyo ‘Xzi’ Jung is the reigning king of the popular vote which has been extremely controversial for many; he’s played less than 50% of the maps with Paris Eternal and hasn’t necessarily been a fundamental fulcrum for the team in their struggles of the season.
The idea that ‘Xzi’ is somehow beating out Fleta, and Yeong-han ‘Sp9rk1e’ Kim isn’t even mentioned, has raised more than a few eyebrows at the current state of the MVP vote; considering that the winner of the MVP receives an additional $100,000 and gets immortalized in Overwatch with their own unique skin, there’s a bit more than bragging rights at stake here.
Interestingly, the current number of votes well exceeds the number of viewers that the standard audience that the Overwatch League maintains during its broadcasts, which was a record-high this season of 88,000 for the North American final in the May Melee.
please remove 25% fan votes from mvp, it is totally botted
— Thanish Davipaul (@thani_ow) August 11, 2020
Even if we were to take the viewership numbers from the 2019 Grand Final of a sizeable 1.12 million (when it was still on Twitch), and presume that the entire userbase is well-invested in who wins the 2020 MVP award, that implies that over half of those viewers have voted; a notion that isn’t plausible.
Currently, the 2020 Overwatch League MVP vote has 572,607 votes tallied, and the number is rising exponentially; the voting period will end on August 28.
The 2019 MVP vote that saw Jay ‘Sinatraa’ Won taking it home had a tally of over 600,000 votes, and we’re well on our way of breaking that figure as many begin to call foul play. Many users have admitted that they’ve voted multiple times, as Blizzard was counting votes if users weren’t logged in, and were also apparently not tracking votes by IP.
Blizzard has responded early this morning by placing a Captcha before votes are counted towards the overall tally, yet many are stating that it’s a case of ‘too little, too late’ as voting has been open for only 5 days thus far, and a record number of votes have been awarded in the short time frame.
The audience vote only counts towards 25% of awarding the merit to players, so many are hoping that the staff and analysts will appropriately take the alleged botting into account as they discern who is actually worthy of the sizeable cash award instead of bot armies. Although Blizzard hasn’t necessarily embedded themselves as a hero of what is right in recent months.