Cheating in online games is a huge problem, and pretty much everyone agrees that it’s a bad practice that deserves total banning. But one practice that’s probably more common, and often gets a lot less attention, is quitting. Anyone who has played an online shooter knows this well. Your team is losing, and there might even be a chance for a rebound victory if you pull together and lock down the map control. Problem is, one of your team just up and quits, completely destroying any momentum you had by turning a match into a lopsided fight for survival. Even being down a single player can be disastrous for most online games, and the quitting epidemic is wildly common.
But some developers aren’t taking the problem in stride. Coalition, the developers behind the recently released Gears of War 5, are one such team. With the new entry into the shooter franchise, it’s now apparently possible to be banned from matchmaking in the game for more than a year, sometimes much longer, with repeated quitting out. Gears of War 5 pushed new multiplayer modes to the forefront, like the new Escape mode, so the very harsh penalties make sense to some, but others feel like the punitive nature of the punishment is excessively long.
According to one response to this policy found online, the penalty can throw a pretty severe stacking penalty for the worst offenders. According to one tweet, a user was allegedly banned for 640 days due to this policy. But there’s a wrinkle to this story, as one of the developers community team looked into the issue and found something interesting. Out of 21 matches in one mode that the user who was banned played, they quit out of 18 of them early. It’s a pretty significant amount, and it might even reveal a deeper problem with the matchmaking if it’s consistently giving unenjoyable game types to the same users. Who knows, either way, they’re still getting a pretty big ban.
This is something that seems like it’s an overreaction, but think about it. That player may have just ruined nearly 20 games for both teams. Not only do the losers feel sour about being abandoned by their teammate. But the winners don’t get the same sense of a rewarding victory if a lopsided team turns the match from a close finish to a ROFLstomp.
Coalition did decide to give that previously mentioned player a second chance though. A later tweet revealed a sudden reversal of the more immense penalties, not really a mea culpa, more of a final warning. Some users will have their exceedingly long bans revoked, but are warned that “impacted users will be un-suspended, but 1 quit away from suspension.”