Defense Matrix – Deterring Leavers in Overwatch 2
Welcome to another edition of the Defense Matrix, where we update you on our efforts to deter cheating and disruptive behavior in Overwatch 2. Last time, we talked about filtering out and actioning those who use inappropriate text and voice chat, keeping custom games friendly for all players, combating cheat software, and stopping those who take advantage of cheating. As we roll into Season 7, we’ll be focusing on the disruptive behavior of leaving games, along with encouraging the use of effective communication systems like the Ping feature. So, mech up, and let’s get right into it.
Understanding the Impact of Leavers
In every Overwatch PvP game mode, we hope you enjoy the experience without worrying about others playing with you. However, when a teammate leaves during the match, the fun for everyone involved is impacted.
Outside of Competitive Play, we strive to reasonably accommodate anyone who needs to exit a match for reasons outside their control. We certainly don’t want you to stay if you are uncomfortable with a disruptive teammate or opponent (please be sure to report that disruptive player). Or perhaps you may have to attend to things away from the computer at a moment’s notice (hi, new parents). Maybe you encounter technical issues, in which case we encourage you to stick to casual game modes while troubleshooting to avoid disruptive actions if you disconnect. You may often need to pull away from your current game because a group request from your friends just came in. Leaving on such occasions is generally okay because you will not likely disrupt the next match you queue for.
The problem comes when someone actively chooses to leave just to be disruptive and immediately queues for another game. When your team is down a teammate, it can feel like every team fight is lost before it starts. We backfill the missing player quickly in most causal game modes like Quick Play. However, the newly added teammate has to start fresh with no Ultimate charge, which can lead to an unsatisfactory experience. This is why we want to discourage players from repeatedly leaving games, especially with the intention to disrupt the experience of others.
Introducing Queue Restrictions for Leaving Games
Previously, if a player left too many games (more than five of your last twenty played), we would apply a 75% penalty to their Battle Pass XP gained for that match. Still, we found this wasn’t enough to deter deliberate leavers, and other players who had to leave unintentionally were still being impacted negatively.
Starting in Season 7, we’re introducing a queue suspension for most game matchmaking queues. If you leave four of your last 20 games played, you will be placed on a 10-minute suspension from queuing for any game mode that grants progression progress. If you continue to leave games, your suspension could increase to 30 minutes between queues. We feel this is a balanced approach because it doesn’t directly affect those who are pulled away from the game—allowing them time before queueing again—while also making it tougher for those who deliberately leave to ruin the experience for others.
The penalties for Competitive Play remain the same, starting with a 15-minute suspension if you leave and do not complete a game. This penalty increases with every leaver violation and can result in a suspension from Competitive Play for the rest of the season if you leave too many games.
Focusing on Positive Communication
In our last Defense Matrix update, we discussed ways to promote positive communication and discourage disruptive behavior with changes to our Text Filter settings. Later in Season 7, we’re taking another small step toward improvement with our ping system. Notably, our ping system and communication wheel provide instant shot calls that any player can easily see and hear regardless of their language.
Because the need for text and voice chat is not as critical for most players outside of high-competitive ranks, we will be changing the defaults for both text and voice chat. Text chat will now be set to off by default (previously set to on) for new players in both Team and Match channels. Voice chat will now be set to on (previously set to auto-join) for new players. Those who prefer to communicate through these channels will need to decide to turn them on. We hope this will lead to more effective communication through the ping system while reducing the chance of encountering disruptive communication in the game.
Thank You for Reporting!
We want to take a moment to thank you for continuing to report. We are seeing more and more of you showing the report notifications you receive when logging into the game! Remember, reporting helps us stop disruptive players and identify new and changing behaviors in our online community. As you continue to report, we want to debunk a few misconceptions, and explain why reporting matters and work to take action on those disrupting the experience for other players.
The effectiveness of a report is based on each match in which the disruptive player is reported. This means the report's impact is the same whether just one or up to nine other players make a report. Players are not likely to be actioned if a group of friends collectively report them unless the reported player is being disruptive across multiple matches and getting reported by different players. Asking other players in chat channels to report a specific player doesn’t help and can make a match experience worse for everyone.
Another misconception is when to use the Avoid as Teammate option in the social menu. Avoid as Teammate is a versatile tool to help you control and shape your experience. When someone uses the Avoid as Teammate option, that does not affect the player who is avoided in terms of actioning for disruptive play.
The Block function is a Battle.net-wide feature that helps you prevent communication from another player who may be harassing you but doesn’t stop you from being put into another match with that player. Remember to use the Avoid as Teammate tool if you feel uncomfortable around another player.
Whenever you see someone being disruptive, please report them! It really helps us out by allowing us to take action more quickly against players that could be ruining the experience for others. Be sure to review our In-Game Code of Conduct as a handy guide to whether you should report a player or not. Thank you for your help to keep our community a positive one!