Overwatch player and streamer Félix ‘xQc’ Lengyel commented on the practice of boosting in the ranked Overwatch ladder.
While playing ranked matches during a recent stream, xQc came across a player who appeared to have been coasting at a high rank by only playing placement matches in each competitive season.
While the player was unranked at the time of this match, their appearance in a game alongside xQc suggests that their hidden rating must have been quite high, at least in the Master tier.
The player’s profile showed that after achieving a high rank in Season 4, they had only played a few hours in each of the subsequent five seasons, completing the placement matches towards the end of each to maintain their rank.
Though each new competitive season requires players to complete placement matches, it seems that the outcome is influenced significantly by a player’s ranking in the previous season, with many players reporting little change to their rank after a new season’s placement games almost regardless of the results in those games.
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It would appear that some players have been exploiting this to maintain their rank over a long period – after reaching a high rank initially, it seems it can be maintained relatively easily by simply playing placement games near the end of each season.
At the higher ranks a player’s rating will decay over time, but this doesn’t seem to be the case while a player is “unranked” – therefore, by only completing placements at the end of the season, a player can maintain their rank with relative ease.
Theories about how exactly the ranking system works remain just that, as Blizzard has never explained the system in detail, largely to limit players’ ability to exploit it. However, as evidenced by the results produced by certain players, exploits have indeed been found.
xQc expressed his frustration at the existence of such players after coming to the conclusion that the rank of his team-mate in this case was not truly earned.