In the latest Valorant blog post, the anti-cheat team revealed that they’ll now ban not only cheaters but also players that queue with them.
Valorant’s Vanguard anti-cheat became a controversial topic when the game was initially released. Why? Because in order to play Valorant you have to enable Vanguard. The latter starts once you boot your operating system and then just never stops. Naturally, that worried some players, and others straight up refused to play the game because of it.
Riot Games was quick to make some changes by giving players the option to disable Vanguard when not playing Valorant. The tricky part was that if they wanted to go for a game right after, a reboot was necessary.
So how good is Valorant’s anti-cheat?
Well, it’s certainly harder to bypass than most, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. We’ve seen cheaters not only in competitive - but also in pro matches.
In the most recent blog post, Senior Anti-Cheat Analyst, Matt “K3O” Paoletti shed some light on the hot topic.
Regarding the difficulties during First Strike
We were able to perform an in-depth review of every participating account in every region, both before and after First Strike. The learning curve was steep. The logistics behind a massive open qualifier tournament for every region was more resource intensive than expected. To review every player, we needed to know who every player was. Coordinating with every region was not a task Anti-Cheat specializes in, but luckily, we had our heavily experienced friends from the Esports team to assist us. We had to make the precedents and rules almost as we went, deciding what exactly constitutes a disqualification, and how we’d handle those.
Cheating in competitive
The VALORANT Competitive ladder doesn’t share the same benefits of the more controlled environment of First Strike. We’ve worked to make cheating difficult and expensive, and as a result, the percentage of games with a cheater is a fraction of a percent.
However, those who were able to cheat impacted players far too often. Encountering a cheater isn’t just an inconvenience—it could mean a missed promotion, or a demoralizing halt of a win streak.
Cheaters at the highest ranks also put a stain on the prestige that comes with reaching such heights in a highly competitive game. We saw that some players also looked to bask in the ill-gotten gains of cheaters by teaming with them—knowing that the cheater would get banned after a few games, but they would get to reap the rewards.
Our biggest priority with Episode 2 is to make sure that the grind to the top is valiant, fair, and legitimate.
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The future of the anti-cheat
Riot Games is also planning some interesting implementations, some of which we haven’t seen in other games:
- 90-day penalty for “bussing”
- Researching the ability to re-calibrate rank for those affected by cheaters
What’s “bussing”? If you were “fortunate” enough to play against a cheater, you were probably wondering how his non-cheating teammates got away with it.
They did then, but now they won't anymore.
Analytics, data science, and technical improvements of Vanguard are all part of this battle. One of the first new efforts is to discipline players who queue with cheaters, or as we can colloquially call it, “ride the cheat bus on the highway to hell.”
The devs will even sweeten the pot for any victims of cheaters by allowing you to re-calibrate your rank. Last but not least, there are some future updates coming to the ranked system which will limit the maximum rank you can earn with placement matches and more. This should discourage boosting/cheating players.