I love Overwatch. Not only was it my 2016 game of the year, I still play it on a daily basis. I’m also a fan of Overwatch merchandise. My room has Funko POP figures of McCree, Windowmaker, and D.va, while my work cubicle has a Tracer figure. Recently, I even purchased a D.va hoodie. Needless to say, Overwatch is very appealing, and Blizzard has me wrapped around their corporate finger.
Admittedly, I never played a single game in the Competitive mode until right before the 8th season started a few days ago. Despite my active involvement in the community, my friends play the game on PC, and I’m primarily an Xbox user. In my quest to experience more intense Overwatch matches, I cautiously entered the competitive scene and was pleased with how chaotic those games were.
After a few practice games, I felt prepared to start my placement matches. In reality, I wasn’t ready at all. The first five matches all ended up in losses. The problem was the team itself. Someone always quit. When this happens, a notification appears on screen that indicates that a teammate has left the game, and any other player that quits within the allotted time will be penalized. The problem here is that the team that already lost a member is at a disadvantage. Unless the opposing team isn’t great, playing with one less teammate almost never ends on a good note.
There were instances where a teammate would leave after winning a round. This made the next round more difficult. In the most upsetting match, while trying to finish my placement games, one teammate quit after a first-round win. We lost the following round and went into overtime. Once overtime started, two more people left my team. This resulted in a three vs. six match that ended in an absolute slaughter. The loss was painful because we started on such a high note.
For someone who was dedicated to the game, and stuck around, I was actually the one being penalized. This reflected negatively on my placement for the current season. It made me wonder: why is it worth sticking around at all? Toxic members of the community don’t care at all and are ruining the experience for those who want to play. When someone quits before a competitive match, it’s cancelled, everyone goes back to the main menu, and they all queue up again. That’s an acceptable solution because the game hasn’t started yet.
Blizzard needs to find a solution to this competitive problem. I love playing this game. Every day, I try and improve my skills with the diverse cast of characters. My goal is to make it to local tournaments and try to make my name in the console scene. There are a few locales near me that have tournaments, and I would love to be a better player. The place to do this is through the competitive playlist, but the current setup is just not feasible.
Is there a list of how Blizzard adjusts rankings when a full team wins? What about when someone loses, but they stay with the team despite some players leaving? What are the penalties for quitting a match. Blizzard needs to be transparent about how they reward and penalize players for experiencing the game. I’m growing more and more frustrated every time I put the game in my Xbox One. I enjoy Overwatch more than most games on the market, but I feel like my time isn’t being respected. Most matches end in disappointment, despite having a team with high stats, and it’s all because of unsportsmanlike players.
While it may seem that I’m going on a rant, it’s just because I care about Overwatch and the future of the IP. The game’s popularity is only getting bigger, but with the larger player base, there also needs to be some changes so that dedicated players feel rewarded for playing the game. Overwatch is popular in the eSports scene. At the very moment of writing this article, the Overwatch League is currently underway. Well-known professional teams are battling out on one of the biggest competitive stages around. There’s a clear interest in the game, and it shows because Overwatch still has an active community (even on consoles) almost two years after its release. All I ask is that Blizzard makes some changes. A game only survives when the developer pays attention to the community, and act accordingly. If the company wants Overwatch to truly shine in the competitive circuit, improvements to the competitive playlist must take top priority.
Do you play Overwatch? Have you had problems with the competitive game type? Leave a comment below.
Andrew Gonzalez is the Co-Editor-In-Chief of Xbox Enthusiast. When not writing about Xbox, he’s usually reading comics, talking about Taylor Swift, and dreaming of the perfect Jet Force Gemini Reboot. You can follow him on Twitter. @AJGVulture89