Hey everyone, I am starting a new topic to bring discussion about the impact of leavers in Overwatch. I have written about this a couple of times in the past (but not before role queue). While I see the balance in the current leaver penalty system, I continue to look for ways to deter direct leavers and discourage players from attempting to play during technical malfunctions. I encourage everyone here to participate in this discussion. Remember, as a Forum MVP I don’t represent Blizzard (though I welcome them to join in on the discussion) but I do want to make sure that the game and our community becomes the best it can be.
Things to remember about leavers in the current state of the game:
- In non-Competitive modes, leavers are not directly penalized but could trigger a -75% XP penalty if they leave too many games. This penalty is removed after they consecutively complete enough games in a row. Otherwise, there is no major consequence of leaving non-competitive modes.
- In Competitive mode, the starting penalty is a 10-minute suspension from Competitive Play, but does increase with repeated violations on that same account. In addition, the following rules apply:
- The leaver, if they fail to return, gets a -50 SR reduction, this is not really a penalty but just the SR adjustment for lack of participation. This never increases in order to prevent players from using the penalty to deliberately tank their SR in order to smurf on lower level players.
- If the leaver leaves the match within the first minute, the match cancels. This ensures the remaining players don’t play the majority of the match in a mismatch. However, after the first minute, the match does not cancel and the leaver is given 2 minutes to attempt to return without penalty. I also believe a leaver cannot leave more than 3 times in a single match without getting penalized. This allows those who have a minor technical issue to recover quickly.
- The teammates of the leavers will still take the full appropriate SR adjustment based on the result of the match even if they lose. This ensures players don’t attempt to bride or bully their teammates into leaving matches. After 2 minutes, teammates of that leaver may leave without penalty (suspension) but still take the appropriate loss and SR adjustment (regardless of the match outcome).
- Opponents of the leaver would still get their appropriate SR adjustment based on the result of the match win or lose, however I noticed there is a change where if after the 2:00 minute countdown is up and all remaining players of that team with the leaver decides to leave themselves and the match is canceled, the opponents of that leaver don’t get any SR or match result. (I noticed this in one of my placement games this season. I don’t know know if this is a bug or not but I am trying to find out.
- Leavers that continue to leave competitive games will have increasing suspensions and can lead to a season ban from only the Competitive Play mode. However, any suspension or season ban does not stop that player from switching accounts (if they own multiple accounts). Season bans results in the loss of all end-of-season rewards for that season (bonus Competitive Points, Spray, Player Icon).
- Those who get three-season bans will result in a permanent ban from only the Competitive Play modes (including arcade Competitive Play modes). However, any permanent ban does not stop that player from switching accounts (if they own multiple accounts).
- All technical issues (disconnections, computer crashes, power outages, etc.) counts as leaving a game of Overwatch and will be penalized appropriately. This encourages players to fix any technical issues before playing a high-stakes game like Competitive, and prevent any abuse to avoid penalties by faking such technical malfunctions.
Since Role Queue…
Before role queue, I found this to be a very balanced system, however, both Quick Play and Competitive have issues when there is a leaver in either of these modes.
- A leaver in quick play can often lead to a match playing out in most a 5 versus 6 for a good portion of the match if the leaver was in an “impacted” role such as Tank or Support where not as many players queue for that role. This was not nearly as much of a problem before where backfills could come in quickly in most cases.
- A leaver in Competitive can often cause a misalignment in team composition balance because the roles are restricted. Before role queue, my usual procedure to a leaver was to convince the team to switch off one of the two supports, and one damage player play’s Solider:76 (for his healing ability) to balance out the problem as good as we can get. This is often not possible with the current role lock rule set.
- A player who has to backfill in quick play or players from a Competitive Match that was canceled early due to a leaver has to completely re-queue. This tends to be very annoying for high-demand roles like Damage.
What I would like to know
- With leavers having a more negative impact on the overall match experience in both Quick Play and Competitive, would you like to see new measures to deter bad leaver behavior?
- As a player, would you be willing to have a “low-priority queue”? This basically forces a player to wait in an active search queue without being selected for a match for a certain amount of time.
- What other ideas do you think could work? Remember we know that there really can’t be any increased SR reductions, and we have to consider for those who are trying to troubleshoot their connections or tech issues to some extent. Backfill in Competitive is not a very viable option because there is no perfect way to balance it and make it fair for the team that did not have the leaver (and it would be no fun to backfill a Competitive match).
I look forward to your responses, please keep them constructive. In the event the development team happens to be reading this, I welcome any feedback to how much you guys are seeing leavers impact games of Overwatch and if this is a major concern for you guys.
Cheers everyone! (^^)v