Abandonment in all online PvP games comes in three different forms (from most likely to least likely):
- Intentional Abandonment: Purposely quitting a match because a player is not happy with the current match conditions, i.e. rage quitting or the chain-effect of hopelessness due to others abandoning.
- Situational Abandonment: Leaving a match because of real life priorities/emergencies.
- Accidental Abandonment: This is abandonment that is outside of the player's control, such as a hardware or software crash, an internet outage, or even a power outage.
So what is the solution to this problem (if any)? Player psychology dictates that for a solution to be successful, the punishment for abandonment must outweigh the "unpleasantness" that a player would feel while finishing a match that they would prefer to just quit. One possible approach that would certainly fit this criteria would be to take something of value away from players who abandon. In the case of the Crucible, what we're really talking about here is a penalty in the form of lost Crucible marks or reputation. The threat of losing either of these in lieu of quitting would certainly create a much better incentive for players to not intentionally abandon matches in progress, but what about the other two types of abandoners? While taking away rewards from intentional abandoners is definitely an appropriate punishment, taking them away from either of the other two groups of abandoners is an unfair act and simply too harsh of a penalty. So perhaps a removal of physical rewards isn't the best answer.
If a penalty needs to be imposed, but taking away players' earnings just isn't good design, then what method best satisfies the criteria of wanting to punish legitimate abandoners, but not circumstantial ones? I believe the best answer comes in the form of a restriction on further character advancement rather than a subtraction of already earned progress. To better explain why this approach should be the most effective, it's important to try and understand the mentality of a player that chooses to abandon a match.
Say a player's PvP match isn't going well. Expecting defeat, this player rationalizes that his/her time will be better served by quitting the match early and re-queuing to find a new match (which will hopefully have a winning outcome this time). A win garners 25 Crucible Marks and a loss only gets you 10. So statistically it's actually a better investment of time to quit every other match early if it seems like you're losing, since your chances of winning any given match go back up to 50% upon re-queuing (especially since one win will secure you more marks than two whole losses). And of course, with zero repercussions for abandoning, there are zero consequences for this player to weigh when making a decision to quit.
But... what if we institute a penalty where players who abandon matches are prevented from matchmaking for new games for, say, one hour? With this approach, the player is now immediately faced with a new risk associated with abandoning; one that effectively prevents them from continuing to earn any progress in PvP as a result of their decision to abandon their teammates. The player now needs to decide which is the greater penalty: 10 marks for sticking out the loss or 0 marks for the next hour due to the temporary matchmaking ban. So this penalty not only incentivizes playing matches to their completion, but it also takes nothing away from players who abandon for Reasons #2 and #3. However, the question now becomes: "So how does this approach affect the players who don't abandon intentionally?" The aforementioned "Situational & Accidental Abandoners" do admittedly suffer the most from this arrangement. Being prevented from queuing for PvP for a whole hour due to a circumstantial abandon is certainly an unfortunate situation to find yourself in, but it's important as designers to consider what the effects of imposing such a penalty would be on community as a whole, rather than just a small subset of players.
Let's imagine the state of mind of an individual who is banned from matchmaking because of one of the two latter reasons. For example, an individual who has to quit a game because they need to tend to their children or has to leave the house because of an emergency. It is entirely reasonable to surmise that this person is most likely going to be in a position that prevents them from being able to re-queue for an extended period of time anyway. Additionally, someone who is forced to abandon because of a technical cause, such as a power outage, may not even regain the ability to play any game for a while, let alone re-queue for PvP. And in both of these instances, the player is unlikely to develop any resentment towards the game for preventing them from re-queuing since the cause of their abandonment is an external element. Yet at the same time, the rest of the PvP community experiences less team members quitting and, by extension, is able to play better, more fulfilling matches. So in this particular case, an argument can be made that (in borrowing the words of a certain Vulcan) "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." Especially when those "few" are likely to be more understanding (and even accepting) of their temporary ban when it means being able to have more enjoyable games for everyone overall.
In closing, I realize that this is probably a rather lengthy analysis for a proposed solution that could simply be summarized to "Prevent abandoners from playing another match for X amount of time." But I have long been a proponent of never implementing a design decision without fully understanding both its reasons and its implications. As designers, it is always important to remember that we are the main advocates for the player. It is not enough to take a stance of "Let's punish no one," so as to avoid alienating certain players when that also means subjugating everyone else to a potentially negative experience. It is for this reason that Destiny's lack of a PvP abandonment penalty continues to be a gross oversight in design philosophy and should be remedied as soon as possible in order to raise the level of enjoyment in PvP for all players.