Valorant developers speak on smurfing and how they're combatting it

Image via Riot Games
Image via Riot Games
Joey Carr

Riot Games has released yet another edition of 'Ask Valorant'. This is semi-frequent blog post where the developers answer the burning questions of the community. These inquisitions can range from cosmetics to competitive to Ranked Play. In the latest addition, Riot Games went over a slew of controversial topics that included the always-negative subject of smurfing.

If you don't know, smurfing refers to when a player gets put in a lower rank than what their skill level indicates. This player then dominates the lobby they're put into because their actual rank is so much higher than the one they're in. Smurfing is done through a multitude of ways but Riot Games has stated they are actively looking and implementing ways to shut down this cheap tactic.

Riot Games to crack down on smurfing in Valorant Ranked Mode

Image via Riot Games
Image via Riot Games

In 'Ask Valorant #10', the following question is posed to the Riot Games developers.

Smurfing is inevitable in ranked games, but I’m curious what you’re doing to discourage smurfs in VALORANT?

In response to this question, Ian Fielding, a Senior Producer for Riot Games working on Valorant, followed up with some encouraging words for the community.

Smurfing always sucks, especially when you have rank on the line. While it’s hard to stop smurfing entirely in a free-to-play game, we are taking action to combat it. Right now we have a behind-the-scenes system for Unrated as well as one that applies to Iron through Diamond ranked players. The latter tracks an individual’s performance and notices when a player makes a highly disproportionate impact in a game. We then quickly boost them to harder matches and higher ranks in Competitive.

So it seems that for pretty much every rank, Riot Games is monitoring how an individual performs. If they perform extremely well in a given lobby, then they could be seen as a smurf and thus bumped up to a higher ranked match.

However, this doesn't apply to the highest of ranks, as Fielding went on to explain.

We stop leveraging this system for Immortal+ players because there isn't a ton of room to smurf or play down when you are already near the top ranks. Longer term, we’re also looking at ways to further accelerate placing smurfs into appropriately skilled matches. But right now we are prioritizing some improvements to our core rank system and leaderboards ahead of that.

It's nice to see the Valorant developers taking an interest in stopping smurfing but the fight is far from over.

Edited by Joey Carr


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