A number of sneaky Overwatch players are gaming the matchmaking system to artificially boost their actual competitive ranking.
Despite the popularity of Blizzard’s team-based shooter, Overwatch, there are still some areas of the world with lower population densities, and within those areas are a number of players/teams who are taking advantage of the lower player count to increase their competitive ranking. To be specific, some players will wait until late at night to join competitive matches, when the number of players online is relatively low.
Because matchmaking options are significantly more limited during those hours, good teams become masters when compared with their competitors. As a result, they get a major buff to their ranking because the system does not discern (or not enough) the disparity in rankings during these matches.
“Brazilian [Overwatch] players allege that six-stacks queue up for competitive matches in the very early morning. Then, fewer competitive players are online, so they’d be matched against lower-ranked players. It’s no contest. Their competitors are crushed, thereby increasing their rating,” According to Kotaku.
“Also, six-person teams who play together regularly tend to perform better than patched-together groups of two or three. By queueing up as a full team, they have a strong advantage. In one particularly egregious example, a Brazilian six-stack with a 4439 CR was matched against a rag-tag team with a 2709 CR. Guess who won.”
The example given shows a massive disparity in ranks between the two teams. A 2709 rating puts one team in the Platinum tier, while the 4439 rating puts the other in the Grand Master. The ranking difference is huge, because the tiers go Platinum, Diamond, Master, then Grand Master. Taking advantage of the matchmaking system means a team can “farm” lower tier teams and artificially boost the exploiters’ ranking.
Besides the issue of players being able to have fun in their matches due to balanced, fair gameplay, there are a few other problems with teams abusing matchmaking.
There are a limited number of slots available in the higher tiers, and the end-of-season rewards are appropriate to the level. Grand Master ranked players get 3000 CP, which is exactly enough to purchase one of the highly-coveted golden skins for a weapon. All other ranks get a significantly lesser amount in gradient, but none of them will receive enough CP to immediately purchase a golden skin.
As such, players able to exploit matchmaking are likely to be rewarded with extremely valuable items if Blizzard fails to step in and address the issue.
Despite the issues currently existing with matchmaking, there are few good solutions. Despite being an exploit, it is arguably a legitimate use of the Overwatch matchmaking system. What if these players are only able to get on at these late hours? How would it be fair to penalize them for playing together? Not only that, but Overwatch encourages players to join as a group. And obviously, a team that plays together a lot is going to be much more successful than a group of strangers thrown together for a match, which makes a consistent six-person group a highly-effective method of winning games.
One of the proposed solutions is to implement a true solo queue. In this setup, individual players can join a competitive queue consisting solely of other solo players, so teams do not get in the way. League of Legends has demonstrated this to be an effective tactic, as their system allows for teams, flex groups, as well as a solo/duo queue, preventing (or at least lessening) exploits such as the one Overwatch is currently experiencing.
So what are your thoughts on players exploiting the matchmaking system of Overwatch? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.