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Overwatch • Mar 13, 2019

Ranked Overwatch bug is causing hidden punishments for leaving games

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Blizzard Entertainment

A bug in ranked Overwatch is applying penalties to players who leave a competitive game even after they should be allowed to do so.

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In order to discourage early leavers in ranked play, abandoning a competitive game comes with an SR penalty if you’re the first person on your team to leave. However, players are supposed to be able to abandon competitive matches without penalty after one player has already left.

Teams aren’t back-filled in ranked play, so as to prevent unfortunate players being dropped into a game that’s already effectively decided, but that also means once one player goes, there’s no chance of the sides being balanced for the rest of the game.

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Blizzard Entertainment
Competitive Play features leaving penalties to encourage players to complete games even if they're losing.

At this point, other players choosing not to complete what is almost certainly a lost game should no longer be punished. After waiting for the two-minute timer that begins once a player leaves to expire, additional leavers will still be hit with a loss, but not the additional penalty that usually accompanies leaving early – in theory at least.

In practice, unfortunately, the penalty remains – not incurred on the first loss, but carried over to the following game. A win in the next match will reward very little SR, while a loss will deduct much more than usual.

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In order to avoid this penalty entirely, player must remain in their competitive games until the very end – even if they’re the only player on their team remaining.

Long-time competitive players may well be aware of this issue, as it’s not a new phenomenon. Unfortunately, despite repeated efforts from players to bring it to the attention of Blizzard, no fix has yet been implemented.

It remains to be seen whether the latest push to publicize the problem will at last catch Blizzard’s eye – or encourage them to act if they’re already aware of the issue – but in the meantime players should be aware that leaving a competitive match at any point could have unfortunate consequences.