Overwatch’s competitive play has been live for a few days now, and most players are familiar with the ups and downs of getting ranked and battling your way to the top. Matches are longer, the endgame rules have changed, and you can occasionally expect to be punished for the poor performance of the strangers on your team if you don’t play in a group. Perhaps the most frustrating difference, though, is the one that can shut down a match before it ever truly begins.
In the event that a player leaves a competitive match, a 30-second countdown begins, after which time the match is cancelled. All players are returned to the menu screen. No rankings are changed, nor stats recorded, making it a colossal waste of time for the other 11 people. The few times my matches have ended this way I’ve found myself wondering, “what the hell was so important?”
Tonight, at least in the case of one player, I found out.
For a couple of days I’ve worked on hitting level 25 to qualify to compete, then labored through the 10 initial ranking rounds–four of which I won! Tonight I planned to pick up a couple of ranking points (to get past 42, bleh).
In my first match of the evening, my team got a dropped player notice (from the other team) just as the attacker doors were opening. The following 30 seconds, of course, didn’t matter.
I dusted myself off at the menu screen and jumped back in the queue. I was taken to the same map with a couple of familiar names. “Fair enough,” I thought, since we never actually played together. On our way to the payload, someone jumped in on the voice channel.
“The last one got cancelled,” he said. “This guy on our team dropped out because his girlfriend was yelling at him.”
Funny, but nothing too unusual. On a good night you’ll hear a kid or spouse or parent end someone’s session for them, which is always entertaining.
He continued, “She kept saying, ‘YOU KILLED MY DOG! YOU KILLED MY DOG AND YOU’RE JUST SITTING THERE ON THE XBOX!'”
The voice channel fell silent, but for a quiet “whoa.”
“Yeah,” he said. “The guy finally responds, ‘If you think I killed your dog there’s no FUCKING WAY WE SHOULD BE GETTING MARRIED.’ Then he left.”
So next time your competitive match doesn’t play out as planned, spare a thought for the guy with no fiancée and his ex with no dog. Because seriously: holy shit.
Todd Mitchell is a US Midwest-based comedy writer and game developer with bylines at Weekly Humorist, Fanbyte, Slackjaw, End of the Bench Sports, and more. He’s the author of Inside Video Game Creation, the founder of CodeWritePlay, and host of the GameDev Breakdown podcast. Follow him on Twitter @Mechatodzilla.