Posted by Adrian Lloyd @Age
Gamer, writer and web developer. Guild Wars 2 Thief for life.
Adrian Lloyd

There's been a lot of talk about competitive Overwatch so I decided to throw my hat in the ring. There's been quite a few updates or changes in the works already for Season 2. I think the changes are for the better but I want to talk about the ones that I think are significant.

I should preface this by saying that I planned to play Overwatch as a fun game where I want to eventually be decent at every hero. When it comes to competitive, I wasn't highly interested but I thought I'd give it a go. I figured if my friends needed someone I would tag along and play seriously. Which is what I did. After playing a few competitive matches and the stories I hear from a few friends, I can say that I don't like how competitive is setup and will play it in a limit environment. Let me explain the reasons why.


First off is leavers. Leavers ruins the game for everyone. Quite literally. However, the penalties in competitive Overwatch to me are unfair to the other players. When someone leaves an Overwatch match, this usually means the other 5 players are going to lose the game. This is due to the +1 man advantage the enemy team has. However, if either team wins they get a fraction of the usual points due to the leaver while the losing team still gets the usual loss in points. Yes, even the disadvantaged 5 man team loses the same amount of points as if they were a 6-man. Blizzard stated it was to prevent gaining the system by tactically trying to make people leave a losing game to avoid a penalty. This is totally understandable. However, in my opinion, players like that get weeded out fast and are either leavers themselves or will get reprimanded for verbal abuse (if Blizzard track that kind of thing that is). If Blizzard wants to keep this type of leaver system, they need to punish leavers harder. From all the stories from friends about leavers, the current system isn't working that well. Thankfully this is a less frequent issue at higher levels of play. I feel, at the very least, the team that has a leaver should receive a reduced loss penalty. The winners of the match should not be penalized whatsoever if a player leaves the game early. That makes no sense to me.

Rewarded Points

Next I want to talk about is rewarded point per win/loss. Now I understand losses taking more points off than wins adding on but taking off an entire level for one loss is heartbreaking. That has got to stop happening; reduced the penalty for losing. A loss can still remove more points than a win would add but not so extravagant as an entire level. This change would also justify the small percentages of rank points you get from winning. Also, I feel like points per win/loss should stay relatively similar no matter which map you're playing on.

The Length of the Matches

Next up: Matches can be too long. For people who have 2-3 hours of gaming time a night, having matches that can go as long as 45 minutes to 2 hours (yup, I was as surprised as you are hearing about that) is not ideal. Blizzard are making some changes to some maps and fixing the Overtime mechanic to be less frequent but I think the ideal length of an Overwatch ranked match should be around 30 minutes; 40 minutes in really even matchups.

Some little things have big impact as well. For example: people's ranked score being shown at the start/during a match. I personally know I have a preconceived notion towards a person that's level 9 on my team in Quick Play and how they'll perform when I'm 60 levels above them. How do you think people react towards people who are a few levels below/above them? Hide that knowledge until the end of a match where players can determine fairness and player levels. Players should be focusing on getting a good comp together and performing well. They should not be wondering how this person who's lower level than me got into my match or how well they'll do. The thing is, player borders also could give away your level as well.

So because of all these things I listed, the only way that I'll probably play competitive Overwatch right now is with 5 other friends who will play seriously and try their best. I can't see myself playing ranked solo knowing these problems exists. Toxicity alone is a hard issue to solve due to the nature of how Overwatch is played. These problems tack onto that. Hopefully all the changes for Season 2 will make things better.

What do you think of competitive mode in Overwatch? Fine the way it is? Or does it needs work?