I mean, you’re supposed to get a Yeti game pretty quickly if you clock Prefer Yeti. Getting it on the first try might be lucky, but it shouldn’t take more than 3-4. Even if literally everyone was queued as Prefer Yeti, we would all be getting Yeti games 1/6 times.
What you experienced, playing for 3 hours and getting a single Yeti match, is consistent with what would happen if you queued Prefer Hunter. The only time it should be possible to get a Yeti game when queued as Prefer Hunter is when there are no Prefer Yeti players in the lobby, and then you get lucky (or unlucky, depending on your perspective) and roll the Yeti out of the 6 Prefer Hunter players.
I like this mode and have been playing it for years and observing the queueing behavior for years. I am very confident that there is a bug that causes some players to be placed in Prefer Hunter the vast majority of the time, despite picking Prefer Yeti.
In OW1, auto-queue actually worked in arcade modes, and I found that every once in a while, I would actually get queue behavior that worked like expected for Prefer Yeti. About half of the games would be Yeti games, sometimes more, and often I’d be alternating 2 Yeti games at a time with another player in the lobby who had presumably chosen Prefer Yeti too. I would keep seeing this Prefer Yeti behavior as long as I kept auto-queuing, but if it stopped and queued again later, I would to back to getting 1 Yeti game in every 10-20 games maybe.
I used to be able to actually manipulate this. I’d queue and play 3 games with the auto-queue, and if they were all Hunter games, I’d cancel the queue and try again. Once I started getting Yeti games, I stayed in that auto-queue as long as I could. I still didn’t get Yeti queues that often, but this strategy yielded more Yeti games than naively queuing once and letting the auto-queue run for the entirety of the session. Last year, though, it seemed impossible to get into the Yeti queue at all, so I just gave up. And this year, there is no auto-queue.
Anyway, point is, there is definitely a bug here. It’s not just a misunderstanding of what “Prefer Yeti” means. I’ve played Yeti Hunt pretty much every time it’s been available since the mode was released, including during the anniversary events, and done a lot of observation and experimentation to try to understand the queue behavior. It’s real. My best guess is that it’s somehow putting some players into Prefer Hunter, because the rate of Yeti games (back when I could actually get Yeti games, before they incentivized players to fill up the Yeti queue) seemed to be the same regardless of which queue I chose.