How to play around/enable a poorly-performing friend?

Hi OW university!

I hoped that it wouldn't end up coming to this point, but right now both me and the people I play with are at a loss for how to best solve the current situation.

I have several friends who range from decent to great at Overwatch; think plat, diamond, and even GM. On many occasions, we enjoy 3/4/5/6 stacking in Quickplay (since the SR gaps in comp between us are too varied). Now, normally when we do this, we win anywhere between 40-70% of our games depending on who flexes onto what. Some days are better than others, but no matter what we usually try our best and have a good time.

Unfortunately, we all happen to have a mutual friend who really doesn't seem to play the game like everyone else. They've been bronze for quite a while and really only play a few DPS like Junkrat and Hanzo. They also tend to tunnel vision hard and are the first to die pretty much every fight. We've all tried explaining through VOD reviews how they can improve their gameplay, but quite frankly I don't think they care about improvement considering they're silver portrait now and nothing has changed.

Now, under any circumstances I wouldn't care about how well an individual plays if it weren't for the fact that they always beg to join our stack, in which we proceed to go on a massive losing streak of 15+ games. At the end, half of my group leaves out of tilt and the other half really just wants a quality game after all the stomps.

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I'm surprised at how just 1 person seems to affect match quality so heavily; especially if they're only on DPS. My group tries to flex others onto the second DPS role in a round-robin fashion, but it rarely makes a difference. There are diamond, masters and GM players flexing onto tank that go from absolutely pummeling the enemy to getting W'd into and deleted, just by adding one person.

I was so sure it was simply bad luck and confirmation bias that I ran an experiment where we swapped them out for 7-8 games when we had a couple extra people one day. To my surprise, every game but 1 without my friend was a win, and every game after we swapped them back in was a stomp by the enemy.

Has anyone dealt with a similar problem when stacking with a "bad" friend? They're not toxic and are genuinely a pleasure to talk with. They are also one of our closest friends whom we don't wish to exclude from fun. But at this point, nobody wants to play Overwatch in the stack out of fear that they join and their games become trash.

Before we start a full-out intervention and exclude him from joining us, I wanted to ask:

– Is it best to continue trying to enable them, even if they are low impact; or is it best to simply attempt to play around them?

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– What is the best way to improve match quality when these games feel so one-sided? We try not to flood comms with callouts but even simple shot calling doesn't solve much in this scenario.

Thank you for your help in advance everyone!


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