How WIll Riot Handle Valorant Smurfing?

How WIll Riot Handle Valorant Smurfing?

If you've ever played Valorant, you've definitely come across that type of player who performed much better than all the other players in the game. Actually, sometimes it's hard to tell if it's a smurf or a player who got an inadequately low rank after his placement matches, but one thing is for sure — there is something wrong with the Valorant ranked system.
How Will Riot Handle Valorant Smurfs
We hope this Sova got some smurf with that arrow | © Riot Games

Valorant may not have a big problem with cheaters; in fact, it has no such problem at all compared to other shooters. However, we can clearly see that Riot is having a hard time dealing with smurfs, i.e., players who play at much lower ranks than they should. This is the scourge of virtually every free-to-play game, and Valorant is no exception. And let's be honest, smurfing is almost as bad as cheating. Admittedly, this problem occurs only on lower ranks, but still — it ruins the experience for a significant portion of the player base. How does Riot currently look at this matter? Let's analyze a recent statement from one of the Valorant game developers — Jon "EvrMoar" Walker.

Riot About Valorant Smurfs

Some time ago, there was a big post on Valorant's Reddit describing the smurf problem and its potential solution. It would involve matching players using a hidden MMR system. The post became big enough to get a response from Jon "EvrMoar" Walker of Riot Games:

So, Riot already uses the Hidden MMR solution, but it still doesn't help because the smurfs are well aware of how it works, and so they abuse it. And actually, there doesn't seem to be much more that Riot can do with the way the ranking system currently is.

Another solution against smurfs would be two-step authentication, but as "EvrMoar" pointed out:

If we enabled 2FA and 20% of players stop playing ranked, and it only reduces smurfing by 5%, we probably missed the mark(and we can probably find a better solution). I'm not saying those are the actual numbers, or that's what we would see, but we have to be aware that there are downsides to 2FA and we have to approach it very carefully. I personally like the 2FA idea, but even when we find data, survey players, and lastly start working on a solution that can take an extremely long time.

So, two-step authentication might not be such a bad idea, but it could also make more casual players stop playing ranked, and that would be counterproductive for Riot.

Is Smurfing Allowed In Valorant?

Technically, smurfing is allowed in Valorant — you are unlikely to get banned for it, although Riot has repeatedly announced its intention to ban smurfs. Nevertheless, even this is a form of cheating that is difficult to prove. You know, "sometimes your opponent is just having a good day". For now (October 2021), smurfing is not punishable, although we have heard repeatedly about Riot's intentions to ban this type of activity and rebuild the ranking system. So, this may change, but you can smurf in Valorant as for now.


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