Star Wars: Squadrons Competitive Mode Is Currently A Disaster

Star Wars: Squadrons ranked playlist has some fantastic rewards, but unfortunately, it should be avoided right now unless you have a full squad. Anything less than five players will almost surely lead to unfair games and wasted time thanks to a quitter system that is either broken, bugged, or both.

When someone leaves a ranked Fleet Battle mid-match, the game notifies everyone that a player has left and that the match won’t be counted. Everyone is free to leave at this point, and they absolutely should because it’s possible for games to go on for another 20 minutes of pure agony for the team that’s down a man.

That system is a problem, but it isn’t the biggest problem. In my ten placement matches, six of them started without enough players. For whatever reason, it’s possible to enter a lobby with fewer than ten players. Check Reddit and you’ll see lots of players have had the same experience. These games count and you have no choice but to just play them out. Even if you try to leave before the game actually starts, you will still get a leaver penalty unless you reconnect. You cannot start a new match until the current one ends.

My squad lost every match when we had less than five, and they were long, brutal, helpless defeats. Even when we tried to lose, our AI ships were still battling it out until the bitter end. It was excruciating to play and even more excruciating that these games were counted as a loss even though we were missing teammates.

If the system was working as intended, it would still be flawed. When Overwatch first launched it had a similar system and wouldn’t count matches when someone left. Players used this to their advantage and teams would take turns quitting to spread out the penalties and dodge losing games. Even if the developer can ensure that games don’t start with fewer than ten players, we’ll still have to deal with frequent quitters that throw the game to save their friends from taking a loss.

Dealing with quitters isn’t an easy problem to solve. Overwatch eventually switched to counting games regardless of whether someone quit or not. I’m not sure that’s necessarily the solution for Squadrons, because matches are longer and I believe they’re harder to win at a disadvantage than Overwatch games. You can’t hard carry in Squadrons like you can in Overwatch. Games should never, ever start with fewer than ten players though, and I know this is a bug because I have had games cancel in the preparation phase because there weren’t enough players.

When you finish those placement matches you’ll be assigned the bottom rank, meaning they weren’t actually placement matches at all – they were just ten matches you had to play before you could start earning rank. This is almost certainly a bug too, but an incredibly frustrating one. Ten matches took me most of a day to complete.

I think Dog Fight should have a ranked playlist. It’s assuredly the most popular game mode and it’s a better indicator of personal performance than Fleet Battle. Fleet Battle definitely has potential, but if everyone wants to Dog Fight, shouldn’t that be the ranked mode?

For now, don’t bother playing Fleet Battles unless you have a full 5 stack, and don’t expect to get ranked when you finish placements. The rewards a pretty good, but right now they definitely aren’t worth it.

If you’re looking to hop into the pilot’s seat, we have a guide for setting up a flight stick in Star Wars: Squadrons. There’s also a page on Star Wars: Squadrons advanced Fleet Battles tactics.

READ NEXT: Star Wars: Squadrons Flight Stick Buyers Guide For Newbies


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Eric Switzer is the Livestream News Editor for TheGamer as well as the lead for VR and Tech. He has written about comics and film for Bloody Disgusting and VFXwire. He is a graduate of University of Missouri – Columbia and Vancouver Film School. Eric loves board games, fan conventions, new technology, and his sweet sweet kitties Bruce and Babs. Favorite games include Destiny 2, Kingdom Hearts, Super Metroid, and Prey…but mostly Prey. His favorite Pokémon is Umbreon.

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