When it comes to dealing with the more toxic individuals of the Valorant player base, Riot does indeed has its work cut out for them.
Dishing out fair player punishment is one of the hardest things to pull off in a competitive esport, and the Valorant devs are indeed trying their very best to deal with toxicity in the best way they can.
However, their current efforts are acting like a double-edged sword, and Riot seems to be doing more harm than good, even if they have the best interests at heart.
One of the most controversial, yet widespread ban that Riot has dished out in Valorant is the 'communication ban.' And according to the player base, it's negatively impacting the gameplay experience of the offender's innocent teammates.
Riot needs to do more with their Valorant punishment systemComm bans having been hurting the competitive integrity of the game (Image credits: Riot Games)
In a recent Reddit post by the Valorant player who goes by the handle of silenthills13, there is a good description of why the current punishment system in Valorant fails to achieve much of what it sets out to.
The Redditor asks, "What is the logic behind banning someone from communicating, but still letting them play comp?"
And it honestly is a very potent question. Valorant being a low TTK tactical shooter, relies very heavily on team communication and callouts. So if you are comm banning a particular player, then all forms of communication between him/her with the rest of the squad goes out the window.
Sure! Toxic individuals do tend to abuse the voice communication and chat feature to spam the most racist and hateful of speeches, but the rest of the teammates are free to block them out whenever they choose.
If you're already comm banning the player, then you're not giving him/her a chance to at least communicate with the team.
silenthills13 writes, "This is honestly a terrible solution for normal players. If you randomly get a banned player, your comms get hurt a lot. Why is this even a thing? If someone's toxic, you can just mute them. It takes 1 second. But if they're muted by the game, you have to play with them like that for the whole game. Either lock them out of comp for 24 hours or just let players take care of muting others themselves + hand out temporary game bans for those who are super offensive."
The points that the Redditor raises are quite valid in the position that Valorant is at the moment. However, to Riot's credit, the developers have taken notice, and in a follow-up comment, Riot_Revenancer, goes into a lot of depth as to where the devs currently are when it comes to punishing toxicity.
Revenancer says, "When Valorant launched, we started seeing lots of reports of really disruptive behavior, particularly in voice, and so we prioritized getting out something to protect players from that harm fast rather than wait for the perfect solution."
The dev suggests that much of Riot's punishment system for Valorant comes from their other IP, League of Legends, where communication isn't as important, "To be honest, Valorant is new for Riot and we're going to have to learn how to work with it." Revenancer says, "It would be dishonest to pretend we don't draw on our data from LoL (there are very few established industry conventions on behavior problems), and some of it isn't going to apply as well. This sort of conversation is helpful for me to hear in understanding what's going on in the ecosystem, and I take it to heart, so don't hesitate to raise concerns."
The dev continues by saying, "What we have today isn't what we intend to be the final solution, and we're working on making it better. I'll admit that we probably underestimated the negative effect on teammates of having a comms muted player, and that's something that we're going to think more about."
Hence, there will be many changes coming to Valorant's punishment system in the upcoming patches, and it will indeed be a much-needed one.