When you're playing a team-based game, early leavers in your team can cost you the match. It's for this reason that a lot of games penalize players who ragequit, a preventative measure to ensure both teams are on equal footing.
In a blog post on the official Overwatch forums, a player brings up the question whether Overwatch also has a penalty for leaving, stating that his reason for wanting to quit a match early is because the game always makes him play on a specific map.
Community manager Lylirra had the following to say on the subject:
- If you leave too many games and your “games played” vs “games completed” percentage falls below our required threshold, you will receive a warning message (this percentage is calculated based on your 20 most recent games).
- If you continue to leave games after receiving a warning (which will display in the lower left-hand corner of your screen), you will incur a 75% EXP 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 (again, this percentage is calculated based on your 20 most recent games).
- If you disconnect or are removed due to inactivity from a game, it will count the same as if you leave the game intentionally.
Even with these rules in place, there are some situations where you may leave a match early without it counting towards your total games left. If you leave the match before you and your team spawn in the spawn room (so before the Assemble Your Team phase is over), this won't count towards your total games left. You also won't be considered a leaver if you leave the game after the victory screen but before the stats screen.
As Lylirra notes in the forum post, leaving several games in a row won't get you a leaver penalty. Only when you leave a few games in quick succession will you get the leaver penalty. This also applies to you leaving a match to join a friend's match. If this happens after the Assemble Your Team phase but before the Victory/Defeat screen, you will be seen as a leaver by the game. Additionally, if you lose connection to the server at any point after the Assemble Your Team phase, you will be seen as a leaver. If the server itself drops the connection, you won't be considered a leaver.
The threshold at which the 75% EXP penalty will activate is actually pretty high. (Not only that, but you will receive a very clear warning message on the main menu if you are getting close to that threshold before any penalty is applied.)
While the game's progression system is pretty much meaningless since leveling up doesn't net you anything beyond cosmetic rewards, this will hopefully be enough to make players think twice about leaving a game before the match has officially concluded.