An analysis of the leaver system: problems & solutions.

General Discussion
The leaver system does some things right, and other things quite poorly. In this thread I will outline 1) a summary of how the leaver penalty currently works in competitive, 2) a list of problems/commentary regarding this system, and 3) a list of potential solutions to these problems. I'll try my best to keep it insightful but concise, because I want this to be taken seriously. (Note that I am a console player).

1) Summary of the leaver system.

To the best of my knowledge, intentionally or unintentionally leaving OR disconnecting from a competitive game has the following consequences:

A) an SR penalty of 50 regardless of whether the player joins back or not,

B) a temporary ban that increases based on how many times the player has left in the last 20 games. This ban seems to be inconsistently applied. Sometimes it is only administered after the match has ended, allowing the player to rejoin the match until it ends, but this does not remove the 50 SR penalty. Other times, the ban is administered as soon as the player leaves, disallowing him from rejoining the game he left and from joining another one.

C) Your hero is unlocked, meaning other players can take it if they want, and your ultimate charge is reset.

D) A 75% XP penalty that no one really cares about.

2) Problems and Commentary.

A) Disclaimer: My information about the mechanics listed above is only as accurate as what I have managed to gather from my own experiences and from the experiences of others. This is because the specific mechanics of the leaver system do not seem to be explicitly or officially detailed anywhere. This is a problem. The lack of availability of this information causes players to be more likely to think there is no consequence for leaving, increasing the amount of players who leave in games. It also makes it much more difficult for the community to generate feedback about the system.

B) If a player leaves a game for any reason, he has virtually zero incentive to rejoin the game and try to win, unless you count the satisfaction of winning and 25% of normal xp as incentive. This decreases the likelihood that leavers will rejoin games. It also increases the chance that players who experience a brief disconnect and rejoin within 30 seconds will go on tilt, which directly impacts all players on the "leaver's" team. I've lost count of how many times this has happened to me on Xbox. I experience a freak disconnect, keep spamming A, and get back into the game in 10 seconds (if the game lets me) only to see my SR has dropped 50 points. This makes absolutely no sense at all.

C) Blizzard frequently makes the following argument: There is no way to differentiate between a player who disconnects from a player who rage quits out of a game, or disconnects his router intentionally. Therefore, to prevent abuse of the system, the same penalty must be inflicted regardless of the circumstances of the player leaving. Here is my response: Suppose a player leaves a game, rejoins within 30 seconds, and does not leave for the rest of the match. Clearly this player is someone who experienced a brief disconnect, 99% of the time. There are two options: Treat this player the same as a leaver who does not fit this characterization, or give him no penalty. If you treat him as a normal leaver, you run into the problem outlined in A). If you give him no penalty, he is far more likely to rejoin, far less likely to tilt, and the match is probably going to remain somewhat equal.

3) Potential solutions.

I've already begun outlining potential solutions in section 2C, but I'll expand on it and other solutions here.

A) Explicitly list the mechanics of the leaver system on the main competitive interface, just like the tier list and top 500 rankings are. Also explain these mechanics whenever a player is about to leave a competitive game. The "75% XP penalty warning" is misleading because it is not comprehensive, nor is it something most competitive players care about anyway. This will reverse the negative effects outlined in 2A.

B) Forgive the first disconnect of a match for each player if he rejoins within 30 seconds to 1 minute and does not leave for the rest of the match...

C) especially if the match has not even started yet, please. Yes, I neglected to mention this before, But I know from personal experience that disconnecting from a match before the game even starts can result in the usual leaver penalty. If you change nothing else, please change this, especially since the match will be cancelled anyway and no one is impacted by the leaver in any significant way...

B') Coming back from that tangent. This 30 second to 1 minute window will give players enough time to enter their login info/sign into Xbox Live again if necessary or just spam A to rejoin the game very quickly. This will cause the punishment of ragequitters and other intentional leavers to remain unchanged, while giving people with freak/server disconnects an opportunity to rejoin. This will increase the likelihood that "freak disconnectors" rejoin and remain in games. It also decreases the likelihood that the leaver and his teammates will tilt, maintaining the quality of the match. It's also just more fair.

D) Keep everything else exactly the same. Don't fix what isn't broken.

I sincerely hope players and devs alike take the time to read and discuss these suggestions, because I've put a lot of thought into the issue. I love Overwatch and want to make it a better experience for everybody and my own brainpower is probably not enough to fix the problem on its own. Please make information about the leaver system more accessible to players so that more informed discussions can take place.
They could also copy what Paladins does and make a bot control the character when someone leaves the game. It's easier to carry a bot than to win a 5v6 in most situations (doesn't matter in high rank play though but where it does matter, it does have an effect).
07/26/2017 06:09 PMPosted by Jusey1
They could also copy what Paladins does and make a bot control the character when someone leaves the game. It's easier to carry a bot than to win a 5v6 in most situations (doesn't matter in high rank play though but where it does matter, it does have an effect).
Only problem i see with that is that the bot will feed ult charge, which is extremely valuable at the higher ranks.
02/19/2018 06:46 AMPosted by CrshTstFetus
Only problem i see with that is that the bot will feed ult charge, which is extremely valuable at the higher ranks.
You're probably right. In the Wingman gamemode, a 2 v 2 gamemode in CS:GO, if someone leaves, they get replaced by a bot. The only problem is these bots aren't that good; my friend had to leave in the middle of the match, so I was spectating the bot; when it encountered the enemy, it didn't even fire.
I don't blame them for making it this way, you can't have bots that are too hard. However, it seems like you would have a dead weight on your team if you had a bot, which would essentially be feeding, rather than going at it 5 v 6. I've had a few games where we've won 5 v 6.

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum