There was a lot of optimism, a lot of wait for someone to do something about the low player count but even a free-to-play weekend didn’t change much. There are also a lot of unhappy people inside the Lawbreakers community, they all say the same thing, the game is dead.
Maybe we all had high expectations for the game, maybe Cliff Bleszinski overdid it with his “I want to make another billion dollar franchise” optimism but maybe the timing just wasn’t right. Lawbreakers wanted to be Overwatch’s competitor in a time where everyone was into Overwatch and didn’t want to experiment with new things. Whatever the case, Lawbreakers was on a downslope for a long time and we could all see this coming. The first time they went below 500 players it didn’t come as a really big surprise but when, just after a month, the game went below 50 concurrent players, that was hard to believe. That number is now a constant. With a 24 hour peak of 130 players right now there isn’t much hope that someone will bring Lawbreakers back from the dead.
There is one interesting fact though. During the free-to-play weekend, there were a lot of positive comments from people who played the game for the first time but it didn’t result in more sales. One reason for that could be that people are concerned about the player count. Even if you like the game is it worth buying if you will have to wait in queue for ages?
Comments and posts in the Lawbreakers subreddit may confirm that theory. There are a lot of questions from people who still didn’t buy the game but are constantly checking the subreddit for some miracle that will revive the game. Game owners, on the other hand, all agree that it’s time to either go F2P or go home.
Posts like this one are followed with comments like “It’s over…”, “It’s literally dead”, ” If you’re on PC I just can’t recommend a game that doesn’t have a playerbase”…
You have to give it to the devs though, they are still working on patches, trying to hype up some new content but it isn’t working. Every competitive game has a ranked mode, that’s what keeps you coming back every day. Lawbreakers never delivered one even though their community warned them that time is ticking.
Players have nothing to sink their teeth in and work toward. Competitive play vastly extended the life of that game for me, because I was moving up the skill ladder and trying to reach that next tier again and again.
Tilted games. Ranked will go a long way into making sure that games are more balanced. There is too high a percentage of games where another team gets absolutely stomped. It is not every game by any means, but it is an issue.
Quitting out. Granted, this is not tied to competitive modes alone and there are multiple factors that play into this, but people quitting out because their team isn’t good enough of just a feeling of frustration in general because someone on the other team is stomping them into oblivion. So, instead of working at it, they quit. Ranked would encourage them to hang in there and try to turn the match around… or… log a loss and a quitter penalty (whatever that is).
Ranking based upon actual play – Right now, LB will match you into a game where it is not 5 v 5 or the game is already well under way (I have joined games which ended less than a minute later for example) and then I get a big fat D for my time. My average game rank is a B, because I don’t believe in quitting out of a match. So, I get punished horrifically. In games I play, I would say at minimum I average an A. I have plenty of S’s and S+’s under my belt. The reason this is important is skill based match-making, if it is done off of that metric, is currently flawed, because it promotes quitting out because there is no penalty. Why take that loss? Quit! Why try to turn around a losing game? Quit! Etc…
A ranked mode and a fully free to play model could possibly breath some life into Lawbreakers, a game that isn’t bad, it just lacks the concept of a competitive game.