'Overwatch' Season 3 Changes: Competitive play update could ban mid-match quitters


Blizzard might soon slam down the ban hammer on players who make a habit of abandoning their teams during competitive play, according to a comment from Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan on Blizzard's forums.

Unlike in quick play, competitive mode prevents any new players from entering in as backfill if players leave, causing team numbers to be unbalanced until the match ends — usually with the less-populated team losing. But Blizzard seems to be working on a strict solution.

Overwatch Season 3 Changes: Kaplan wants to implement stricter banning

In a post titled "Too Harsh? Competitive Leaver Penalty Idea," a player suggested a combination of temporary bans and skill rating penalties for players who abandon their team in a competitive match before it's over. 

Kaplan responded to the thread, saying that skill-rating penalties aren't the answer, but that banning players is something he wants to pursue. 

And not just temporary bans — he wants players who make a habit of leaving their teams in competitive mode to be barred from playing in that mode altogether. 

Here are his comments in full:

We appreciate this feedback and we want to continue to be aggressive against people leaving in competitive play. We won't, however, use skill rating deductions as a penalty. The last thing people want is a highly skilled player ending up in Bronze and being matched against people much lower skill than they are. Also, if we allow a highly skilled penalized player to end up in Bronze and then continue to match them against other highly skilled players, people will perceive our matchmaking systems to be broken.

Overwatch Season 3 changes: Reddit responds to the idea

Though Kaplan's comments haven't been out in the wild that long, players seem to be responding well to the suggestion so far.

"That's absolutely perfect," Reddit user ThisIsReLLiK said. "I hope they find a way."

"Good stuff," Reddit user SipexFelane agreed. "This goes a long way to explaining why seemingly simple solutions aren't actually simple."

Kaplan didn't offer any ideas about its plans to deal with a player who leaves a match once, likely because it's complicated. 

For example, as players in the forum thread note, Overwatch can't tell the difference between a sore loser who quits halfway through and someone who's disconnected due to internet connectivity problems. 

Currently, players who leave a competitive match are hit with a 10-minute penalty in which they can't re-enter a game. Banning someone for internet problems seems a bit harsh, but does that mean someone who abandons their team once shouldn't be punished? It's tough to know what the best course of action is.

Either way, we'll keep you updated if Blizzard goes through with implementing these harsher rules for competitive play.

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If you're ready for more Overwatch, you'll want to check out Mic's latest Overwatch news, like the official announcement of Overwatch's holiday event, fans' best ideas for holiday-themed skins, this weird story about players debating Bastion's gender on Reddit, information on Symmetra's upcoming rework, details on season 3 of competitive play and a look at the new Oasis map on the PTR.