Revisiting the concerns about leavers and how they impact Overwatch

A man launched a car into space, and that was almost 2 years ago now.

I feel differentiating between an intentional disconnect from a game and an unintentional one is extremely small potatoes compared to something like that.

We could have launched a car into space 40 years ago if someone had the egotistical nonsense like Elon Musk did. That is not science that is a publicity stunt.

They’ve also said that their cars wouldn’t have wheels and no deathmatch.


Still, it shows what mankind is capable of achieving, and, as I noted already, differentiating intentional game disconnects from unintentional ones is small potatoes in comparison.

And, as I also noted before, it’s 2020. Stop using the same tired old excuses for not doing this.

No you really can’t. For the same reason there is no cheater detector that auto ban all cheaters and no game will never have one.


They also lose -10 in their off roles.

They can tank their SR. However, it does not affect MMR, so it can’t be used to smurf.

This was silently changed when role queue launched. SR/MMR changes are now adjusted based on who left and when.

See How Competitive Matchmaking and Rating Works (Season 20) → Leaver Penalty for more detail and references.

The simplest change (but high impact) to the leaver system is that non-leavers should be put back into the front of the queue when their match is cancelled.

This long into the game and players still experiencing leavers just shows the penalty is not strong enough.

Until harsh discipline is given people that like to leave will do so because the consequence in their mind is light.

Not addressing this before anything else is just putting the cart before the horse.

One other thing I think losing SR is dumb as it’s been exploited as easy way to farm and dunk on lower ranks.

If you are diamond, gold, gm, whatever there’s no upside to putting that player in a rank where he/she will slaughter.

Back on topic I think habitual leavers should be herded to play with each other, sit out way longer than a season, or be notified that each time they quit the que times for the other 11 players will be added to each match.

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Ahh as someone who mainly plays QP and is on constant endorsement level 1 from leaving games and queues a lot of tank role I feel like punishing leaving even more than just the -75% exp penalty (which basically halts your leveling progress) would be a really bad idea because we really need more players in the regular QP especially on higher MMR since you either face the same nicknames as always (at least in EU) or you get a very mixed match of players which is rarely ever balanced. Sigma’s addition to the game made so many tank players quit that with the pity timers being very inconsiderate in QP and a lot of DPS players hitting 8-12min queues you can go from tanking to GM players into tanking for plat players after winning those GM matches which is kind of absurd considering the fact that you should face players from your MMR bracket most of the time, but kind of understandable with QP being a more lenient gamemode compared to the competitive

As for the reasons to leave the game: there are plenty. The base level explanation is simply having an excruciatingly unenjoyable experience which deprives the whole idea of hopping into a game. Adding fuel to that with further punishments or lower priority queues would highly induce either throwing games to avoid said actions (which is 10x worse) or just not queuing at all or in other words not playing the game at all. I think that the consequences of a player leaving are much much MUCH less severe than either of those cases and in the end if you’re not even tryharding then having a 5v6 for a while is not that bad to begin with since you’re already accepting the fact that you’re there more for the individual gameplay rather than the whole experience of winning

As for the more detailed reasons to leave I’d say the biggest one is simply having horrible matchups. I leave every single game where I see gold players in my team and master+ players in the other team because carrying like that in OW is not fun even if you succeed in it. It feels horrible to be dragged down since the core design of the game revolves around teamplay which was enforced especially prior to the release. Especially since most of the time I’m playing main tank for the team (which I really really REALLY enjoy when the team is good). After +500hrs on QP these games where teammates are almost as if deliberately sandbagging just aren’t worth even trying and I personally feel disgusted about the idea that instead of leaving I’d just soft-throw the game just for the sake of it

Imbalanced teams being easily the biggest reason for leaving I’d say a good second is simply team compositions. If the opponents play Sigma/Orisa/Bap/Lucio/Zen/Hanzo/Mei and your teammates are picking you’re at such a disadvantage that on certain maps for example Rialto you might never simply touch the objective. Your ball might pass by it but on even teams you’re most likely not going to touch it no matter your hero pick. Anti-synergy like Bap/Genji has been growing more as new heroes have been introduced to the game and with the current balance being what it is these matchups lead to the same outcome as above. Heck I’ve even told my opponents to switch to main tanks so we can have actual fun in the game when they’ve ran something like Ball/ into our double barriers+Mei

I think that the current penalty system is very much good enough for the current state of QP and I’d say that they should be even more lenient as currently leaving during the assembly phase doesn’t trigger the XP penalty, but actually counts towards it. Harsher punishments should only be considered when both of the issues above are fixed through for example proper MMR anchoring and hero balance overall. The upcoming flex changes might also help the situation in the future and if that improves match quality considerably then leaving might also have an actual impact on the gameplay

EDIT: Here’s also my overbuff profile just as a proof that I play properly for a win and with a lot of success that is:

I have seen this NOT working for me. I remember a couple matches where we had a leaver and I still lost 20~25 SR (which is the amount I normally lose).

I hope it’s not a bug. It’s good the opponents don’t get any SR if everyone leaves. I hope this is confirmed in the future.

The problem here is when the technical issue is ON BLIZZARD SERVERS!!!
I had 2 occasions where my internet, computer and everything on my house was working fine. I could even login on web but no in the Windows App, after a disconnection. That made me lose 50SR and the reason was clearly Blizzard Servers, which basically stoped somehow. Later I talked with one of the persons that were in the match and he confirmed he also had a random DC and could not login anymore. Create a ticket for the support but the response is basically “We don’t refund any SR lost, even if it’s Blizzard’s fault” :man_facepalming: infuriating…

I would like to not be penalised because someone left my team. :man_facepalming:

What kind of problems this would solve?

Why tho? Perfect “balanceness” or “fairness” is never achieved, even in a match with no leavers. I don’t see why Backfill would not be fair for the enemy team.

It can be optional. If you don’t like, don’t do it. I would be willing to backfill.


What I most dislike is the backfill in arcade or quick play if the game is about to be over. Those rage quitters five seconds before the game ends.

Therefore I argue for an immediate and recognizable punishment. For example to not let the quitter start a game for ten minutes in play mode. This time doubles if the player leaves again within 24h.

If you get into a game that ends within a minute after joining you should be put forward in the priority for the next game.

Concerning competitive: I don’t experience that many leavers in this game mode. But I liked the suggestion to add a bot that don’t give any ult charge. At least it will absorb and inflict some damage.
So the dropped player could easily rejoin.

For qp, give people who leave games after hero select a ban on que untill the game they left is finished + 5 minutes. (Five minutes is to discourage leaving just before the very end of the game.)

This wouldn’t effect people who leave qp games for real emergencies or lose power. And there’s a grace period at the start of the game that let’s you dodge a map cause we don’t currently have a map dodge system in place.

For comp. Ban the player for a day if they don’t return to the game within a set amount of time after leaving. Regardless if intentionally or unintentionally, leaving the game should have a hefty punishment.

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I had multiple matches recently where they game did not cancel when a player left within the first minute. Last one being yesterday in a rialto game. Our sigma had a broken keyboard so his mate tried to dodge the game after roughly 40 seconds into the game. The game went on and he had to come back.

Also there doesnt seem to be a limit on how often a player can leave and rejoin a match. A trolling tank duo in a volskaya left a total of 17 times in that game and were able to rejoin every time. They left one final time after a teammate had enough and left the game. They waited till the clock ran out and left the game.


They can’t.

It isn’t a software issue, it is a physics one.

Pulling the power plug from your router is the same as having a power cut.

Power was lost to the device.


Players should be rewarded when another player harms their experience through leaving. So the reward could be faster queue times for players that “suffer” from “leavers”. Further and at some point, Blizzard should give back the SR that was taken from players that were put at this disadvantage. It would be unknown when it would happen—but it would happen.

To note: Benefiting from probability to determine whether a player should rise in ranks is scummy. Players should have more “control” over how they rise than being dependent upon whether or not their misfortune (i.e. leavers) averages out.

Side Note: Rewarding players for having a leaver wouldn’t be exploited as much in solo queue since players prefer to be neutral or a problem for others. Yes, players could bully others to leave but further solutions to that problems should be looked into… not abandoned. For instance, one solution would be to depend on the report system to solve the problem. If a player is found guilty than they would lose more SR than they normally would after for leaving and given an increased time penalty (depending on how prompt the verdict was).

Leaving a match is the only control Players have to curate thier play experience. If players had more control over what matches they joined (mode select, map select) I think you would find leaving would decrease significantly.

Additionally, tightening up matchmaking to encourage fewer roflstomps would help as well.

All of this can be done for QP, but not sure if we want map/mode select in competitive.


Every game is 11 variables in 11 other human beings. Not sure how you give yourself more control over that. realistically.

You can give yourself hero bans, map bans, role queue, the works, but at the end of the day you’ve still got 11 other opinions/perspectives/emotional states to deal with, and no 2 people play the game the same way.

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I think this is a great idea. I’ve had too many matches where my team takes first point very quickly and someone leaves cancelling the match. The time being shortened to 30s would help prevent this and the backfill and match restart would keep the players on the leaver’s team from having to play a crappy match

The competitive integrity and FUN of the match is shot as soon as there is a leaver. Therefore the match should be cancelled out-right and those remaining should have a priority requeue.

I would pause the match on a leaver for up to 2 minutes, after that if they have not rejoined, the match is cancelled. It’s insane that this isn’t the way it gets handled already.

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To answer your questions:

  • I would love to see new measures to deter bad behavior in general, not just leavers.
  • A “low-priority queue” might work for single players, but sounds like it could needlessly penalize groups.

As far as other options go…

  • Rewarding the players that don’t leave sounds like a good thing to try. If a lack of skill in maintaining a decent internet connection is going to be a negative factor in SR calculation, then perhaps a high skill in keeping a decent internet connection should be a positive factor.
  • Allow backfill players higher priority in getting into their next match. I’ve been playing Overwatch long enough that I have a platinum border. If I come into a match with 1 minute left from some ragequitter only to be tossed back into queue when we lose, I have so many levels that the 400 xp backfill bonus does nothing to cushion that blow.
  • If you can measure connection quality in real-time, then allow poor-connection players to report good-connection players when they leave mid-match or later while losing. It’s a bit rough, but the description should be situational enough that there are few false positives. The idea is that leaving should be treated as a reportable offense, but some heuristics need to be applied to check which ones are legit.

Thanks for reaching out with these kinds of discussions.

Yeah, I mean, the nature of a disconnection is that Blizzard stops receiving any response from the player’s client at all. It isn’t feasible to even distinguish between an internet outage and a power outage, let alone whether the (for example) power outage was caused by the building losing power or the player flipping the power switch (or unplugging the computer or flipping the circuit breaker).

Technology isn’t magic. Just because we’ve moved forward through time doesn’t mean we can break the laws of physics, no matter how many resources are applied.