Let me walk you through a typical Overwatch quick play match from the end of one match to the end of the next.
- The match ends, POTG is displayed, people vote, some statistics are shown (~1 minute)
- As there are not enough players left in the match, I enter the queue again for approximately 1 minute (~1 minute)
- After a minute, the game realizes that it probably is going to take a while before another match is found and, therefore, I enter skirmish. After 30 seconds when I have finally left the spawn in skirmish, a match is found and I leave the skirmish. (~30 seconds)
- We are in the select character screen for 40 seconds (~40 seconds)
- We are in the preparation phase for 1 minute (~1 minute)
- We finally get to play the game (~8 minutes)
This means that I spent more than 4 minutes waiting for an 8 minute match (and I was very generous with the queue times). Which means that more than 30% of my time playing overwatch is wasted waiting for stuff.
Now here are some suggestions to fix these issues.
By the admission of Jeff Kaplan you will not be put into the queue for the next match until the end of statistics page (step 1 in the steps above) even if you leave the game and enter the queue from the main menu. This is abosolutely ridiculous and directly translates to 1 minute of downtime between matches.
Solution: As soon as the match ends, there should be a button similar to the endorsements button which is called “Queue for the next match” which immediately puts you in the queue. You can watch the play of the game and vote while you are already in queue for the next game. Not only does this improve the downtime, it probably will also increase the participation in the end-game voting since fewer people will be leaving the game. Of course you run the risk of finding a game too soon and not being able to vote but that is a minor inconvenience in the face of greatly improved downtime. If you absolutely want to vote or watch the play of the game, simply do not press the queue for the next game button.
Here is how I think the skirmish system works (please correct me if I am wrong). If the matchmaking system concludes that the expected time to find the next match is more than 1 minute, you are put into the skirmish immediately. Otherwise you are put into the skirmish after waiting for one minute. First of all, I don’t understant the reasoning behind this behaviour. Is it to reduce the load on skirmish servers? Even if it is, if suggestion 1 (above) is implemented, by the time you are done with the last game, you already have been in the queue for one minute. Therefore, you should be put into skirmish immediately after voting and statistics screen is over. Also, why don’t you use deathmatch maps and ruleset for the skirmish? I won’t go into more details here but you can see that it is much better than the current system in every possible way (solves the problems of fewer players, having too many teammates, having too many enemies, etc.)!
What the the point of waiting for 40 seconds in the character select screen? Is it so people can discuss strategies before picking their characters? Because in more that 500 hours of quickplay that I have played, I have not once seen it being utilized for that purpose. Is it a way to hide the loading screen? If so, why not reduce the timer when everybody is loaded?
What is the point of preparation phase? Is it so builder heroes like symmetra and torbjorn have time to build their stuff? Well, there are multiple solutions to this. First of all, defense players should spawn where they are supposed to be (near the attacker’s second spawn) before the game starts. Secondly, players could be given a speed boost akin to lucio’s in the preparation phase. And finally, with the symmetra rework, she needs much less preparation time and I can only assume the same will be true of the torb rework (and even before the rework, 60 seconds is way too much time for the amount of preparation that torb has to do).
Also here is one particularly stupid argument that I have seen being used in the defense of the current system so I guess I’ll preemptively address it:
“I actually like the time between matches. I can use the time to get a coffee or something.”
Well, good for you. Does that mean every single person who does not want to get a coffee between rounds has to wait for your highness to enjoy your coffee? If you want to get a coffee don’t queue for the next game.
TL;DR: You spend ~30% of your Overwatch playtime waiting for stuff. The following solutions have been proposed:
- Start the queue immediately after a game is finished
- Apply deathmatch ruleset to skirmish. Start the skirmish immediately.
- Reduce the hero select time
- Reduce the preparation phase time