Wrongfully Penalized Overwatch Players Await Blizzard Patch For Overzealous Competition Mode

As any online gamer knows, sometimes disconnects happen. It could be that your router hiccuped or someone accidentally unplugged the power strip where your cable modem is plugged into. Maybe your system simply crashed. Unfortunately for Overwatch players, unintentional disconnects can lead to a loss in placement ratings and a dinged skill rating, even if they reconnect and their team wins. That's something Blizzard is working to address.

The way things work now in a competitive match, if someone quits within the first 30 seconds of game play, the match is invalid and the person who left receives both a loss and a leave—everyone else is free to leave without a penalty or loss.

If someone disconnects after the first 30 seconds of game time, a 60-second timer kicks in. Should the disconnected player return during that timer, all is good. If not, the remaining team members are given a choice, that being to continue playing if they think they still have a chance to win, or they can quit if the situation looks hopeless. Choosing the latter does not result in a leave penalty, though they do still receive a loss.


"Why do the remaining team members still receive a loss? How is this fair? The unfortunate answer is that the alternative would be worse," Blizzard explains in a blog post. "We don't want to create an awful situation where players who think they're losing are now encouraged to do whatever it takes to get someone else on their team to leave. By removing any possible incentive for anyone to 'tactically' leave, it also means that more matches will complete normally. When someone leaves, Overwatch is less fun to play for everyone."

Blizzard takes it a step further to discourage users from leaving a match in competitive play. Instead of just reducing a players XP gain, they can be suspended from playing competitive play, the length of which increases on repeated leaves. In extreme cases, Blizzard may issue a ban from competitive play for the current season.

The system works, but it isn't perfect in that it can penalize players for situations beyond their control. If their Internet service is on the fritz, they may not be able to reconnect in time to avoid a penalty. Changes are on the way to how disconnects are handled, though Blizzard didn't say exactly what the new policies will be.

"We're super sorry you had a bad experience. I know this won't be much of a consolation, but we're working on a bunch of fixes to the way disconnecting/losing/leaving works right now. We're hoping to have fixes in soon," a customer service rep for Blizzard has been telling users who complain on the Battle.net forums.

In the meantime, all you can do is hang tight and hope that your ISP has its act together.