Overwatch is Activision Blizzard’s newest franchise and made waves on its initial release for offering that fun, team-based reactive shooter that brought many back to the good old days of Team Fortress 2.
Because it’s a primarily online game that both runs through a launcher and requires its own anti-cheat system, it’s also been the target of various Antivirus and Firewall programs that flag the game as a false positive and block it.
Of course, for anyone eager to enjoy their game time on Overwatch, it’s incredibly frustrating to not be able to launch the game. Today we’re going to explain both why Avast will block Overwatch and how to get it unblocked so you can get back to playing!
Why is Avast blocking Overwatch?
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At first glance, it may appear that to launch Overwatch, you are just launching a single piece of software. However, there are several programs and interlinking processes that work in tandem to make Overwatch work.
This includes the Battle.net client, which is the blizzard entertainment game launcher and also the name given to their online multiplayer infrastructure, plus their own anti-cheat system named Warden. Warden is a client-side process designed to prevent hacking and exploits.
Between these processes and the game itself all requesting access to each other, it’s easy to see how Avast may mistake something as potentially malicious software.
As mentioned, the Battle.net client serves two purposes. First, it’s a convenient hub to manage all of your Activision Blizzard games, and it also includes Blizzard Store integration, meaning it requires access to the Blizzard servers to populate the store data.
It also serves as the primary location you will access your friends list, launch new games, and update them.
It’s a vital piece of software to the functioning of Overwatch and unfortunately one that Avast likes to flag as a false positive and place in the Avast Chest all too often.
In addition to the Battlenet client is the Overwatch software itself. Due to its heavy integration with other processes, such as Warden, the Blizzard servers and Battlenet is also subject to being blocked by Avast.
In that case, we need to create an exception with Avast to allow the primary client to function. too.
Both the Overwatch client and Battlenet, in addition to their multiplayer modes, also have some kind of store system built in that needs to communicate with the Blizzard servers.
This makes Avast Firewall a problem if it decides to intercept any of this incoming or outgoing data to the Blizzard servers, as it may render the game unplayable.
In this scenario, we can create an exception within Avast to ignore this software so it’s able to operate freely.
It’s also important to ensure Avast Firewall doesn’t block your network, otherwise, it may affect multiplayer functionality.
Unlike many other anti-cheat software like Riots VANGUARD or Easy Anti Cheat, Blizzard’s Warden runs client-side (that is to say, on your local machine).
If this process becomes blocked by Avast, then Blizzard will not allow you to access Overwatch, as it can’t confirm that you are not using any malicious software or hacks within their game.
Ensuring that Avast stays clear of Warden is another key part of ensuring Overwatch launches smoothly.
Avast needs updating
Avast is constantly updating its software to iron out bugs and glitches, as well as to ensure compatibility with the latest Windows updates.
In many cases, updating Avast can help solve issues relating to it falsely flagging software or processes that it shouldn’t.
When a game or data transfer is intercepted or blocked by Avast, there is a high likelihood that a file or registry entry can become corrupted, making the Overwatch software unstable or perhaps preventing it from launching completely.
In this scenario, using the repair tool for both Avast and the Overwatch client can help fix any data that has become corrupted.
How to stop Avast from blocking Overwatch
With so many interwoven software and processes going on, it’s inevitable that one of Avast’s many defense mechanisms will want to try and interfere with its operation.
If you find this is happening to you, follow these steps to ensure your Avast keeps out of the way and doesn’t affect your Overwatch gaming experience.
Add antivirus exceptions
Unfortunately, this process is not quite as simple as simply adding the Overwatch game itself as an antivirus exception. We need to add everything associated with Overwatch’s functionality in order to be sure that Avast can’t get in the way of anything.
To do that, follow these steps:
- In the Avast Antivirus software, click Menu and navigate to Settings.
- In the settings menu, click the General tab and then ‘Add advanced exception.”
- Adding an advanced exception allows us to pick which specific software programs we want to allow.
- Add the Overwatch.exe executable and the Battlenet client as separate exceptions within the antivirus.
PLEASE NOTE: While the majority of users will launch Overwatch through Blizzard’s proprietary battle.net client, recently Overwatch has been made available through Windows/Xbox.
If you are using a platform other than Battlenet to launch Overwatch, you will need to add the relevant platform to the antivirus exceptions list in order for this to work.
Add firewall rules
This is not to be confused with antivirus exceptions. The firewall monitors the traffic coming in and out of your computer. As the in-game stores and multiplayer features require network data to be transferred between your computer and Blizzard’s servers, we need to add the relevant firewall rules.
- In the Avast software, navigate to Protection and Firewall.
- Click the settings icon in the top right, indicated by the small gear icon.
- Next, click “View Firewall rules”
- Select the “Application rules” tab.
- You will then need to add rules that allow the Overwatch client, Battlenet, and any other platforms (such as Xbox) that are involved with your Overwatch game.
Blizzard games make use of an anti-cheat protocol nicknamed Warden. This is client-side software that needs to authenticate you as a valid user who is not running any third-party software that might give you an advantage in the game.
As this is not a specific executable that can be selected within Avast Antivirus, if your virus scan logs flag Warden anti-cheat as an issue, you may have to disable your antivirus while playing until Avast can issue a more permanent update that fixes the issue.
Both Battlenet and the Overwatch client are very frequently updated, with the Battlenet platform specifically receiving almost daily updates to display the latest deals and offers on its integrated store.
Because malware developers like to disguise their malicious software as common processes like Battlenet to make them appear innocuous to the user, it’s very possible that Avast may incorrectly flag something when it shouldn’t.
Therefore, we have to ensure Avast’s definitions are up to date so it doesn’t mistakenly flag one of Overwatch’s processes, despite us adding the exception for it.
To do this, navigate to Avast antivirus and click the General tab. Then, click “Check for updates” underneath the “Virus definitions” header. Avast will then scan for newly released updates and download them automatically.
When Avast Antivirus or Firewall intercepts a process associated with Overwatch, especially when it’s in the middle of downloading something like a game update, it’s very common for files or windows registry entries to become corrupted.
In this case, we need to use the Battle.net repair function, which will help us scan Overwatch and automatically redownload any files that have been damaged by the antivirus.
To do this, click on the Battle.net desktop app, click on Overwatch, and locate the small cogwheel (or gear) next to the play button. When you click this, a dropdown menu will appear with a “Scan and Repair” option.
Click this, give it time to complete, and it will automatically fix any errors or damage that has occurred to the Overwatch game files. Be sure to restart your PC after this process is complete.
If the above-mentioned methods have not worked yet, there may be an issue with your in-game or Battle.net settings that are causing an issue between Avast and the Blizzard software.
Often, a full uninstall can help to solve this issue. You can perform this by typing “Add or remove programs” into your Windows search bar and locating both Overwatch and Battle.net.
Uninstall both, redownload them directly from the Blizzard website, and you should find this fixes your issue.