How Overwatch penalizes players for quitting

Thinking of bailing just because things aren't going your way? Blizzard has taken measures to make sure you'll think twice.


Between cracking down on cheaters and mapping out plans for balance changes, Blizzard isn't taking Overwatch's glowing reception for granted. Community manager 'Lylirra' posted terms and conditions for how and why players who purposely drop out of games will be penalized for not sticking it out.

There are just shy of a dozen conditions that will get you in trouble for being a "leaver" in Overwatch. If you drop out too often enough that your games played vs. games completed ratio seems fishy based on your 20 most recent games, you'll get a warning. Continue bailing out after your warning, and you'll incur a 75 percent XP penalty on all future games.

"The penalty isn’t time-based, but instead will be removed once you complete enough games to raise your 'games played' vs 'games completed' percentage above our required threshold," Lylirra clarified—again based on your 20 most recent games.

Being disconnected or otherwise dropped due to inactivity counts as leaving games intentionally, so mind your modem.

Other conditions follow per the community manager's post:

If you leave a game before the “Assemble Your Team” phase is over (i.e. before you enter your starting spawn rooms):

  •         It won’t count as a game played
  •         You will not be considered a “leaver” in this scenario

If you leave a game after the match ends (i.e. after you see the VICTORY/DEFEAT screen):

  •         It will count as a game played—and if your team won, it will count as a win
  •         You will not be considered a “leaver” in this scenario

If you leave a game after the “Assemble Your Team” phase is over, but before the match ends:

  •         It will count as a game played
  •         You will be considered a “leaver” in this scenario
Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at and @davidlcraddock.

Filed Under
From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 10, 2016 11:22 AM

    David Craddock posted a new article, How Overwatch penalizes players for quitting

    • reply
      June 10, 2016 11:27 AM


    • reply
      June 10, 2016 11:34 AM

      The idle timer needs to be longer though, your get booted simply for having to piss, needing to jump up and dispose of a spider that's terrorizing your house, letting the dog out. I've been booted from so many excellent matches where I was doing well and we were winning because I simply couldn't run across my place fast enough, it's like fucking 10 seconds or something.

      • reply
        June 10, 2016 11:40 AM

        The teams are so small and the matches so short that I can't summon a lot of sympathy. Being down a person for a minute or more can have a huge impact.

        • reply
          June 11, 2016 4:36 AM

          In the first day of the matchmaking it was pretty lop-sided. You had fights go from fair battles to steamrolls and as well as players stacking too many of one class. I will admit I was getting extremely annoyed with it the first day and was quit to find a more balanced game. I haven't quit since the matchmaking started working more or less.

          It is still annoying to see three bastions on your team when you need a tank and healer.

    • reply
      June 10, 2016 11:41 AM

      I got hit HARD by this yesterday.

      I was in the middle of a play session, but a plumber came over to my place to root one of our lines. I maybe dropped out of 5 games over the course of 2 hours, but got punished for what seems like forever. I got 1/2 way through level 54 with the penalty. it was brutal.

      • Zek legacy 10 years
        June 10, 2016 5:16 PM

        Sounds about right, don't play online games if you expect to be interrupted a lot.

    • reply
      June 10, 2016 8:54 PM

      So the worse thing that happens is you unlock terrible loot crates more slowly...

      • jo3 legacy 10 years
        June 11, 2016 8:18 AM

        i've read you'll be first to be plugged into games already in session, too, so there's that

        • reply
          June 12, 2016 6:58 PM

          Hillarious if true. Seeing as they are likely to replace players who had the same attitude and left because their team was losing. Although, this may also result in a never-ending chain of leavers for the losing team, which isn't ideal either.

Hello, Meet Lola