I wanted to take some time today to discuss Leaver Penalties and how they relate to Technical issues. We understand that leaver penalties are an annoying thing to experience. Technical issues can be complicated to troubleshoot. To add penalties to your account can seem like adding insult to injury. This isn’t our intent. The competitive penalty system may not be perfect, but there is reason behind it.
When we created the leaver penalty system, we took in a lot of player feedback. The feedback came from both leavers and the players they left behind. Individuals who leave want forgiveness sometimes, and teams want people to stop leaving. We are trying to balance these needs. For some information on the system itself, you can check out Jeff Kaplan’s posts on the matter. Below I’ve made an FAQ.
Why am I penalized when I have a technical issue?
Any time you leave a game, you affect the experience of everyone else in the match. Think back to the last even match you were in where someone quit partway through. How difficult it was to win fights 5v6? Even if you did win, didn’t you have to fight harder to do so? For every crash or DC that gives you a penalty, there are five other players on your team who just had their chances of winning a fair match reduced.
Why am I penalized in Competitive if I disconnect before a game starts?
This type of penalty is there to avoid queue dodgers. In old competitive First Person Shooters, people could fake tech issues to avoid certain teams or players. There’s no way to tell the difference between someone who disconnected intentionally and an accidental DC. As a result, the moment you are selected for a Competitive match, that’s your match. If you lose connection after that point, the penalties are active. In comparison, other modes will backfill the position and queue you for a different match. You may not even notice it happening in other modes because it’s all handled on the back end, but may experience other connection issues.
Why am I still penalized when I rejoin some games?
There are two different reasons for this, excessive disconnections, or disconnecting for too long. You can reconnect at any point during a match you have left as long as you don’t have a leaver penalty. However, spending too much time outside of the game still puts your team at a disadvantage, and there’s a risk that others will leave in your absence. If you disconnect during a competitive match, try to reconnect as quickly as possible and finish the match.
Similarly, disconnecting multiple times in one competitive match may trigger penalties. If you have these problems regularly, you should troubleshoot the problem to avoid penalties.
Why can’t Blizzard remove penalties for technical issues?
The effect on your fellow players is the same no matter why you disconnect. As a result, if you play a match while having technical issues, and you drop from the match, your account may be penalized. Blue Posters and our Customer Support team have no way to remove the penalties. This is because the system is working the way it was designed. Instead, we focus on troubleshooting the thing that originally caused the problem. If we fix that, you shouldn’t have problems anymore.
What if it was the server’s fault?
Often we hear mentions of one off issues when we discuss penalties. “What happens if the servers crash or if Blizzard’s ISP has a problem?” or something of that nature. This does happen from time to time, but it’s pretty rare. The system is built to take that sort of thing into account, and periodic issues like this shouldn’t tank your skill rating too much. This is why the first few penalties are lenient compared to later ones. Over time even the Skill Rating drops will even out as you keep playing normal matches. As long as you aren’t intentionally leaving or having tech issues, this shouldn’t affect your account too much.
How do I find out why this Tech issue is happening?
Before troubleshooting, check our Tech sticky threads and the “Breaking News” section of your Battle.net Application. We like to post major service interruptions and known issues there. For other issues, here are a couple of the best links for tech issues with Overwatch.
Keep in mind - whenever you’re troubleshooting tech issues, you should use a low-stakes mode to test fixes. Using custom games will let you test fixes without affecting your account or other players’ games.
If basic troubleshooting fails, or you’re not sure how to do some of the steps, don’t give up. You can always try working with your fellow players and us Blue Posters here to find the cause of your tech issue. You can also try contacting our support team for one on one help.
What if I want to provide feedback on the penalty system?
We understand that the penalty system can always be improved. If you have specific feedback for things we might change to make the system better, we have forums for that. You can use the Competitive Discussion or General Discussion forums to deliver that feedback. We’ve got some folks there that check those threads for player feedback and report to the developers. Some of our development team will even reply to threads there, too.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. As always, let us know how we can help with your Technical troubles!