The topic has been getting more discussion on the Overwatch subreddit. Someone complained about not being able to see how much they're contributing to the team.
So, I see my stats. Ok.
But I have no benchmark to determine how well I'm actually contributing to the game.
I've been in FPS games where I'm dying a lot, but when the score comes up I'm in the top-3, because I'm doing the objectives, or passively buffing players - not a Mercy active buff, but a Symmetra shield buff, for example. But without knowing how you're doing compared to the rest of the team, you don't know if what you did actually made a difference. Especially if you're on the losing team.
You will end up with players who think they're awesome, and suck. You'll have players who think they suck, and yet they're the top-10 player for that particular class and have no way to know it.
I feel like we're all back in kindergarten. Everyone wins! Even the kid in the corner eating paste.
You're assuming the scoring system in games is always an accurate representation of everyone's contribution to the team. Especially when the game has a dynamic objective, it's not always easy to come up with a numeric formula to find an individual's value for the team.
In a lot of games, you'll see people playing to maximize their kill/death ratio instead of the objectives. The scoreboard becomes meaningless and can even become a negative incentive that encourages bad strategies.
You might think "well, just make the scoring system better" but it's really not that easy. Let's think of a simple hypothetical: Bastion is set up as a turret covering a main chokepoint. The enemy team knows he's there, so they adapt and use a different route. Bastion isn't going to be getting many kills now, but he's still helping to funnel the enemy, making it easier for his team to defend and reducing their chances of getting flanked. How do you quantify that in a number? Even if you had algorithms that let you accurately track the effect it has on the match flow and you could somehow single out the enemies that wouldn't have gone this other route anyway, how do you calculate it's worth? For each enemy that goes the other route, how many points does Bastion get? There's not really a solid answer -- it's made even more complicated because the value could depend on the map, team compositions, and other factors (funneling might help a lot on Map A but not help at all on Map B).
Bastion might be helping the team by staying put and keep funneling, but if he wants to maximize his score, he'd want to move to a new location to get more kills. Now there's a big hole left in his team's defense.. and he's rewarded for it.
So Blizzard's thinking is that maybe if players weren't concerned with their stats, they'd instead focus on the objectives and measure their success intuitively rather than rely on some number that probably isn't going to be accurate anyway.
I really wish we had case studies for games that literally don't have scoreboards. Would players be less distracted by arbitrary metrics and force themselves to learn what actually matters in a match? Would the lack of feedback make them more likely to get bored with the game?
I'm convinced scores can be problematic, but I'm not totally convinced things would be better off if you removed them. I think it parallels my feelings on AI bots in competitive games. They can teach bad habits, but do they provide a net positive for the growth of the game anyway?