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I know quick match is a single game and ranked can be "Best of 3" or Best of 5". But in comparison which one is better for XP gaining?

15

In a general sense, Quick Matches will gain you XP faster, but this may not hold true across the board. The explanation can be found on this post from a thread on the Battle.net forum:

At the moment, the XP awarded at the end of the match follow theses rules.

  • Each seconds in a match : 4.01 XP
  • Match finish : 250 XP
  • Match won : 500 XP
  • Consecutive bonus : 200 XP
  • Gold Medal : 150 XP
  • Silver Medal : 100 XP
  • Bronze Medal : 50 XP

For this argument, let's say in the time it takes to do 1 competitive match, you did 2 quick play match. Let's assume you played for a total of 15 minutes in both type of play and got gold in all matches and won the matches.

Competitive XP = 3609XP (time) + 250XP (finish) + 500 XP (victory) + 150XP (gold medal) = 4509XP or 18036XP/h

Quick play (for both games combined) = 3609XP (time) + 500 (finish) + 1000 (victory) + 300 (gold medal) + 200XP (Consecutive match) = 5609XP or 22436XP/h.

As you see, you gain more XP when the matches are fast and less when the matches last longer. Also, you lose the consecutive bonus in competitive play and the medal after each rounds. This make competitive play far less rewarding for the sole purpose of XP grinding.

And this is not even considering that the time in queue for quick play is generally far less than the time in queue for competitive...

-Suns

  • 2
    As you mentioned, this makes a lot of assumptions that won't always be true. People don't win all of their matches, they have to wait between games to get a new match, etc. This exaggerates the difference between the two game modes. Let's say you lost both of your games, didn't get gold, and it took two minutes between them to start a new game. Now the Quick Play is worth: 3128XP (time) + 250XP (finish) = 3378XP or 12511XP/h. If you assume that you also didn't win your competitive match, that is 3609XP (time) + 250XP (finish) = 3859XP or 15436XP/h. So it very much depends on the situation – Kevin Wells Oct 13 '16 at 16:49
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    Yes Kevin, but if you scale that down "because sometimes it isn't optimum" then you must also scale down the competitive play "because sometimes it isn't optimum". They'll scale down together, and even if you're losing EVERY game Quick Play will still get you more XP faster. – ZealousHypocrites Oct 13 '16 at 18:26
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    On average, you should win about half of your matches, get at least one silver medal per match, and play most quickplay matches in succession, so that's 250 (victory) + 100 (medal) + 200 (consecutive) added on to @Kevin's quickplay numbers. That more than makes up for the difference. – Chase Sandmann Oct 13 '16 at 20:11
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    @ZealousHypocrites I'm not sure if you read my entire comment, but I did also scale down the competitive numbers. And no, if you look at my numbers, if you lose all of your games, you make more in the competitive games because you are in game longer – Kevin Wells Oct 13 '16 at 20:24
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    @ChaseSandmann I'll write up an answer with a few more scenarios so that we can see how they vary – Kevin Wells Oct 13 '16 at 20:30
4

Despato's Analysis is accurate for the scenario where you win all of your games, but here I will present a few other scenarios. I will be sharing the assumption that you can play one game of competitive in 15 minutes, and you could do two games of quick play in the same time. To balance accuracy and simplicity, I'll be assuming you can get into a new match in 1 minute (I'm not sure if this is close to accurate, feel free to correct me)

Scenarios

Scenario 1: You win all of your games and earn a gold medal every game (Despato's scenario except for the queue time)

Scenario 2: You win half of your games (randomly distributed) and earn a silver medal every game (suggested by ChaseSandmann)

Scenario 3: You win none of your games and earn a bronze medal every game

Analysis

Scenario 1 Analysis:

Amount Per Competitive Game: Time: 3368 + Finish: 250 + Victory: 500 + Medals: 150 = Total: 4268 XP

Per Hour: 4468 * 4 = 17072 XP per hour

Amount Per Quick Play Game: Time: 1564 + Finish: 250 + Victory: 500 + Medals: 150 + Consecutive bonus: 200 = Total: 2664 XP

Per Hour: 2664 * 8 = 21312 XP per hour

Conclusion: You earn ~25% more experience in Quick Play

Scenario 2 Analysis:

Amount Per Competitive Game: Time: 3368 + Finish: 250 + Victory: 250 + Medals: 100 = Total: 3968 XP

Per Hour: 4168 * 4 = 15872 XP per hour

Amount Per Quick Play Game: Time: 1564 + Finish: 250 + Victory: 250 + Medals: 100 + Consecutive bonus: 200 = Total: 2364 XP

Per Hour: 2364 * 8 = 18912 XP per hour

Conclusion: You earn ~19% more experience in Quick Play

Scenario 3 Analysis:

Amount Per Competitive Game: Time: 3368 + Finish: 250 + Victory: 0 + Medals: 50 = Total: 3668 XP

Per Hour: 3868 * 4 = 14672 XP per hour

Amount Per Quick Play Game: Time: 1564 + Finish: 250 + Victory: 0 + Medals: 50 + Consecutive bonus: 200 = Total: 2064 XP

Per Hour: 2064 * 8 = 16512 XP per hour

Conclusion: You earn ~12.5% more experience in Quick Play

So in final conclusion, you definitely get more XP over time for Quick Play, though the advantage is lessened significantly as your win rate goes down

*Disclaimer: I am not an Overwatch player, so I am doing this analysis based only on the data I was able to find online and a few basic assumptions.

*Edit: I was informed that you don't receive a consecutive bonus on Competitive Games, so I adjusted my calculations to match. This definitely increases the advantage of Quick Play over Competitive for XP gain

  • 2
    Competitive doesn't get Consecutive bonuses because you have to re-que for every game. – ZealousHypocrites Oct 19 '16 at 15:27
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    @ZealousHypocrites Interesting, that would definitely further the benefit of playing Quick Play over Ranked – Kevin Wells Oct 19 '16 at 15:47
  • Another thing to consider that I hadn't really realized until I was playing competitive again yesterday, is that it has multiple rounds. Between each round there is about 90 seconds of downtime which doesn't count towards time played. First the "round complete" and score stuff has to display, there there is time to adjust your character before the next round starts. Even a solid "15 minute" game is filled with holes. – ZealousHypocrites Oct 27 '16 at 20:05
  • @ZealousHypocrites Very good point, that would even further decrease the efficiency of Competitive play, seems clear that as more factors are added in, the better Quick Play comes out – Kevin Wells Oct 27 '16 at 20:28
  • Ha, yeah, glad to finally see the math. I've been angry since Season 1 when I sort of did it in my head, and I was like "Wait I need 300 /wins/ to get a single golden gun AND I'm getting less XP the entire time?! That sucks!" – ZealousHypocrites Oct 28 '16 at 19:28

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