Much like with any other shooter game like Call of Duty and CS: GO, Valorant too is prone to a lot of cheats like walls and aimbot hacks.
The hacking problem in a shooter game, especially one that is free to play like Valorant, is a challenging problem to deal with. That is precisely why the developers of Valorant need to have a constant eye on containin the hacking issue currently afflicting the game.
The hacking issue that Valorant is facing:
Take Rainbow Six Siege for example.
The IP had a booming player base and an even bigger esports scene. But now, because of the hacking issues in the server, no one is willing to play the game anymore.
And like Siege, Valorant has had a very promising start. But as in the case of Siege, hacking has become rampant in Valorant in the one month period since the closed beta was out.
The issue has exploded to the point where the hacking software is very easily bypassing Riot’s very own anti-cheat software, Vanguard. We see hackers creeping up on live streams of some of the most prominent personalities.
The problem might just get out of hand.
Wallhacking and Aimbotting are two of the most common and highly sought after cheat exploits that players tend to go for. Their popularity in first-person shooter games is so much so that not a month has passed by and the internet is filled with Valorant hacking software. You can try them out for yourself. Just type ‘Valorant hacks’ in your browser search and have a look at the sheer amount of hits and software tools that you'll get.
Needless to say, in a 10-man game that is Valorant, if even one person is aimbotting, it completely ruins the experience for all the nine other players. It’s one of the biggest reasons why so many of the top shooters have lost their popularity. If Riot doesn’t fix this issue soon, the game will implode and lose traction even before it takes off.
Hacking ruins the entire gaming experience
In a Reddit post, a couple of weeks ago, the user amaz8 posted a video of a streamer who was spectating a teammate using an aimbot.
In the Livestream Fail subreddit, the streamer showed how this aimbotter effortlessly eliminated four opponents as he was aware of the enemies’ locations even before they appeared on-screen or on the map.
Similarly, the streamer GoldenHand7 caught a cheater on his stream and made sure that the exploit was known to Valorant developers.
"@valorantde I had this cheater in my team, please ban him."
Even some streaming personalities like Shroud were not spared from the clutches of aimbotters.
In the above highlight clip, we see a Sage user giving him and his teammates an incredibly horrendous time playing the game.
Though the teammates of the hacker turned against the Sage user by the end, it still did massive damage to the game's reputation.
Valorant's anti-cheat System
For Riot Games, Valorant’s anti-hacking system is called Vanguard.
It’s mostly created out of the anti-cheating software that Riot uses for League of Legends. However, there are a few differences within the two. Vanguard is programmed to boot up with the player’s system to guarantee protection for all of their current and future titles.
Though there were some questions raised about the privacy of the players at first, Riot has assured that they are not gathering personal information of the players, with Vanguard installed.
Moreover, to get the wider player base and community involved in improving the efficacy of Vanguard, Riot has offered $100,000 to anyone who will be able to point out holes and weaknesses in Valorant's anti-cheating software.
What is hacking and how exactly does it work?
To know how serious the issue is and how easily one can create and even gain access to a hack, we first need to know how cheats like an aimbot and wallhack actually work.
Alex Nelson, a writer at British Publication, in his article on Fortnite aimbots, defines aimbots as:
“a software tool that allows players to shoot enemies without having to aim their weapon in video games. It works by using the player's computer to receive information about all other players, whether they are visible from the player's position or not."
It just goes to show how simply and efficiently a piece of software can completely change some of the core features of the game and give one player an unfair advantage over another.
“What type of knowledge does one need to have to make a cheating programme?"
To answer the specific question, you'd first need to have a decent understanding of a language of your choice (C++ I'd use for Valorant). Find a way to inject or read external memory from the game. Then you can manipulate the game/memory.
You can make wallhacks and aimbots pretty simply in most games.All you need to do is draw a box or outline around the player model or choose to snap the mouse towards the head etc.
Is it like one person working on it or an entire team?
In my experience its usually 1 - 4 people working on something like this, usually one as it's not a big project.
Companies like Valorant are pumping millions in their anti cheats but they still get bypassed?
"Yes these companies pump big money into their anti cheat software but there are always vulnerabilities to exploit.
In my opinion, a company the size of Riot games should be a lot better at detecting these sorts of cheats, especially if they're snapping to walls etc. I'm not a C programmer but i'm sure you can easily track players who snap to heads through walls."
In essence, an anti-cheat is not exactly a software that entirely prevents the use of cheats. It merely detects cheats quickly and then bans them from the game.
A capable cheating software is one that goes undetected by most anti-cheating software, and this is precisely the problem that Riot Games' Valorant is facing with Vanguard.
Here is a video by Jonal Gaming where the YouTuber explains how important it is for Riot to get the cheating problem under control.
He says that one of the selling points of Valorant is its anti-cheat engine. Vanguard's promise of zero cheaters in Valorant is what will attract a majority of the game's player base.
However, he is quite apprehensive about where the game stands as of now. He begins the video by stating it is a 'scary' fact that people took just two or three weeks to develop a cheating programme for Valorant.
Jonal Gaming fears that the Valorant game will progress just like Call of Duty has, and its servers will soon be riddled with aimbotters and wallhackers ruining the game.
The Silver Lining
Unlike many developers, Riot is not sitting idle on this cheating issue. They’re actively looking to solve the problem. Riot's initiative in this regard has been to involve the player base, with Vanguard's development being a step in the right direction.Published 08 May 2020, 21:36 IST