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RPS Asks: Are You A Game Leaver?

If I go there will be trouble

The penalties for leaving a competitive match of Overwatch [official site] look to be pretty significant. A Reddit screenshot of a warning message from the Overwatch public test realm reads:

"Repeatedly leaving games will result in a 75% penalty to XP earned. Additionally, you can be suspended from competitive play for increasing periods of time, up to receiving a ban for the entire season."

But how prone are you, the RPS readers, to leaving multiplayer games early?

The reason I ask is that fear of low priority systems like you get in Dota 2 has conditioned me to not abandon a match EVER if I can help it. The exception for me was when a housemate came into my room in tears and clearly being a human being took priority. But otherwise I'll do anything to avoid those abandons because low prio is so hellish.

It hadn't occurred to me that I'd internalised that system until I realised I'd had the same fear of abandoning games when they clearly didn't have a system in place to penalise you.

Broadly I'd say the impulse leads to nicer play because you're less likely to leave teammates in the lurch, screwing a match by leaving because you had other things to do or didn't fancy playing anymore even though you were ahead. It means I'm far less likely to play unless I know I can commit the time a match needs. That feels like a net win for the community more broadly, but I was chatting with a friend as part of a podcast and he's far more comfy just quitting out when he's had enough or when real life intervenes.

I found that I... not exactly envied the approach, but I did find myself thinking back over matches I clearly didn't want to play any more and how that compulsion to stay and avoid punishment has sometimes led to me just spending time doing something I no longer enjoy.

I'll stress that the severe penalties mentioned above apply to the competitive mode of Overwatch rather than regular play, so you can see why the developers would want to discourage leavers as much as possible - you want matches to be as fair as possible and for everyone to invest in the whole duration. My question is more about your attitudes to leaving in general.

So, do you leave or do you stay? Are you conditioned by low priority threats to treat abandoned games as the worst of the worst or are you from the drift-in-drift-out chaotic server school of thought? Is your responsibility to fellow players or to your own time resources?

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About the Author

Philippa Warr

Former Staff Writer

Pip wrote for Rock Paper Shotgun between 2014-2017, covering everything from MOBAs, hero brawlers and indie curios. She also had a keen interest in the artistry of video game creation, and was very partial to keeping us informed of the latest developments in British TV show Casualty.