During an Overwatch competitive season match, if a player quits mid-match, my team will have to finish the match with one less player, which generally leads to a defeat.

I've never seen a new player added to replace one who quits.

Does Blizzard intentionally not replace a player that quits or is the search algorithm just never able to find a replacement?

  • 1
    Is this specific to Overwatch? I am very intrigued to hear which games allow a replacement player; presuming there's no predetermined benchwarmers.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 18:24
  • @MonkeyZeus if any game does this in a competitive setting, it's a broken system. Competitive is supposed to be like tournament play with a randomly found group.
    – Cruncher
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 18:25
  • @Cruncher Yes, that is what my question brings to light. I am still trying to figure out why this question is specific to Overwatch and/or Blizzard.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 18:31
  • @MonkeyZeus I've only ever seen it in Overwatch but then I don't play many other team based competitive games.
    – Daft
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 18:36
  • 2
    @MonkeyZeus A question about all competitive games would be impossible to answer. Has anyone on this website played all (competitive) games? At least this question is very easy to answer, and serves as an answer for competitive games in general anyway
    – Cruncher
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 18:37

4 Answers 4


Replacements are not allowed in competitive matches. There are several reasons why doing so is a bad idea:

  1. The player who left might be able to return, if they just had a temporary internet problem or something. You don't want to have someone who is just about to get back in, but is blocked by a newcomer and is now unfairly saddled with the disconnection penalty.

  2. Whoever replaces in will probably have a different rank than whoever left. How do you calculate the end-of-match rank changes? You can't use the old player because they're no longer a factor. You can't use the new player because that opens up ways for groups to grief the other team (such as having their highest-ranked guy leave and make way for hopefully a lower-ranked guy, so the other team wins less or loses more rank).

  3. Chances are that the team with a missing player will be losing. Anyone who replaces in would be more likely to lose than win, through no fault of their own. Replacing would have a very negative stigma.

  4. Akin to #2, whoever replaces in will probably not have the same skill level as whoever left. If replacements were allowed, this would result in teams bullying their worst teammate to leave in an attempt to get them replaced by a better player. Similar negative behaviour would occur if any sort of compensation were made for teams that have a leaver (e.g. a bot stands in, or the remaining players get a statistical boost to even things up).

  • 1
    You make some great points! Have Blizzard officially stated Replacements are not allowed in competitive matches?
    – Daft
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 11:39
  • 13
    I don't know if they've explicitly stated it, but they don't really need to. It's directly observable.
    – Sterno
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 14:00
  • +1, #2 is easily solvable, but #1 and #3 are not. Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 15:36
  • @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft idk if #2 is easily solvable. It has decent imperfect solutions that are probably acceptable, but I wouldn't call it easily solvable
    – Cruncher
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 17:58
  • 1
    @leigero this seems to be addressed by point 3
    – Cruncher
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 19:54

Every competitive game does this, and it's purely a "competition" problem.

Let's imagine: The player quitting your game is bronze, the joining one is Silver. Now, not only teams are not balanced anymore, but the player that just joined is playing on an alredy started (and maybe almost finished game) granting him MMR (or points in OW), this means that if you're about to lose and someone quits and you join in instead of him, you just lost points without even playing a match.

If you instead don't give points for an already started game, every player that gets in one will just quit, because there is no reason for them to stay and play.


No, players are never replaced. This isn't actually a problem and here's why (I'll explicitly address the "problem" of it causing a lost match):

During an Overwatch competitive season match, if a player quits mid-match, my team will have to finish the match with one less player, which generally leads to a defeat.

Please recognize that teams that have a player who leaves (so, ignoring legitimate disconnects) are MUCH more likely to have lost even if the player didn't leave.

On occasion, someone is just upset early and leaves, but this is by far the exception and not the rule. Players that leave in that fashion will get suspended from competitive play very quickly.

It's very easy to look at your last 10 games and be like, "ah, well 3 of them were leaves, so I actually went 4-3 over 7 games". This would be very flawed reasoning and is simply a way of rationalizing to take the blame off yourself. I'm not saying this is what you're doing, I just want you to be aware of this red flag.

Finally, in the case of disconnects, this is just an unfortunate issue. Not much I can say about that. If you end up with a disproportionate amount of disconnects in a day, that's just rough luck. But in the long run, you should win just as many games as a result (unless it's your internet that is worse than the average player)

  • 1
    This is just commentary on disconnecting in general and doesn't answer the question. Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 18:10
  • You're right, but this doesn't really answer the original question. StackExchange is not a forum for discussion, we focus on giving specific answers to specific questions, and this is more of a tangent discussion than an actual answer.
    – Mage Xy
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 18:11
  • @MageXy in that vein, any answer explaining "why" is also just commentary. Should I repost an answer of "no, they are never replaced". That would be the most direct answer. My answer explains why by showing that the negatives of the current system aren't bad. Rather than showing the negatives of a replacement system.
    – Cruncher
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 18:14
  • @DanmakuGrazer Changed the first line of the answer to fit the format I guess.
    – Cruncher
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 18:17
  • "Please recognize that teams that have a player that leaves (so, ignoring legitimate disconnects) are MUCH more likely to have lost even if the player didn't leave." - I object to that statement, in all honesty. I've known people who have left for legitimate non-disconnect reasons (they've had an unexpected interruption, they have been bulled by toxic team mates and leave to get away from the hate, etc). Statistically more likely, yes. MUCH more likely, no. The emphasis is stronger than it needs to be to get the point.
    – KizTrap
    Commented Jan 20, 2017 at 14:01

Because games are made to feel "fair" and prevent abuses.

I've read a blog about certain popular strategy game. When you're fighting there, you win chance % displayed. The game would cheat, however - if you lost many 50/50 games in a row, next one was guaranteed win. if you had 99% win chance, you always won, no exceptions. It's just that they wanted players to feel fair, and not screwed by RNG.

When you are playing competetive and player leaves, you still have the same team. You're at disadvantage, but you can win.

Now if someone leaves and other player joines the match, and you lose - he will feel that it's unfair. He joined already lost match. Maybe team was already low on morale.

If someone leaves and other player joins the match, and turns out to be really good and his team win - enemies feel it's unfair - bad player got replaced by a good one.

It's also impossible to say how much the player counted towards the win. The team might have won without him, and he wasn't much of a help. He might have played really badly and made team lose. He might have carried the team which was otherwise bad.

Balanced matchmaking is already hard enough with all these additional complex factors.

  • 1
    You did not answer the question. The question asks if blizzard looks for a new player or not.
    – Cruncher
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 18:19
  • @Cruncher if you could not understand "no, you won't get replacement" from this answer, I feel bad for you. Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 22:27
  • To be fair, you were the victim of a somewhat tongue in cheek lash out due to the comments I received on my answer. I was not the downvote FYI
    – Cruncher
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 22:29

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