Valorant, being one of the most popular FPS games in the world right now, has thrown light over many sectors of the gaming community, and one of them is the dataminers.
17-year-old Rumblemike from ValorLeaks is one of the first to datamine Valorant's files to look for hints regarding future updates and additions. He has been working hard since the release of Valorant, reporting any possible leaks from the game's files.
This made Mike gain a solid amount of popularity in the community, to the extent that he was even recognised by the developers of Valorant.
In an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda's Satyaki Das, Mike delved into his life and spoke about what he aims to achieve in the future. He opened up about his life beyond the codes, and his love for cat memes.
Here's an excerpt of the conversation:
Q. Apart from your gaming and data mining, can you throw some light on your academic life and what else you like to do apart from looking at codes for hours?
Mike: So, because I am 17, I am a junior in high school. I take your basic math classes Algebra and Trigonometry, which, being completely honest, I am not the best at. Lately, I have been devoting a lot of my time to school to get the best grades I can as I am still planning on attending college in 2022. I would love to code for hours on end, but I am still in the phase of learning. I have been programming/coding for around 8 months and i have much to learn.
Q. So starting with your story from the beginning, what interested you with the backend part of games? How did you start examining games this way and how young were you at the time?
Mike: Ever since i was 2 years old, i have been using computers. I have always just played games when i was young. But around 13, i finally was able to build my first computer that could properly be used to play games. At this point, I would be playing games all the time, during classes through remote software, at home and I wouldn't even touch my homework throughout my middle school years.
Around my 7th grade year, I started planning for my future. I knew that i wanted to create games. Although everyone has an idea for an app or a game, I would design the entire game in my head. For example, Gameplay loops, leveling systems, inventory systems and more. This is when I started looking at the backends of games, I wanted to figure out how they worked, how the developers created certain systems.
Q. As I am aware, you’ve also developed games in the past, and have interest in coding and tech. How did that begin with? Is this something you want to seek a career in the future?
Mike: So i've always experimented with developing games, and I am still learning and experimenting. Creating games has always been my main focus in life if i am being honest, I want to create experiences where people can interact with others, or tell an amazing story. Regardless of where leaking or social media will take me, I want to continue developing games and creating in general.
Regarding starting to code/program, i always can design but i could never create. I would always rely on one of my friends to program it for me. Eventually i decided to just pursue programming before i entered college because I wanted to create programs/games at that point in time.
My goal is to become a Game Programmer or a Game Designer, and I am currently exploring both fields.
Q. Considering you're just 17, you've already made a name for yourself in the Valorant community worldwide. Was it something you expected or were you pleasantly surprised when you found out that players actually look forward to datamine leaks?
Mike: This was absolutely something that i was not expecting. The entire account was created as a joke, and when valorant officially released, no one was datamining it. So i decided to do it, and around my first update i gained 1000 followers and was surprised. I never expected to get past 10,000 Followers. Now we are here at 125k and i have no idea what happened. I was happy that someone enjoyed my content.
Q. You’ve been involved in Valorant since its release and have worked hard in reporting since last year. How did you feel when Valorant devs recognised you and invited you to the early access events?
Mike: When the Valorant Team first reached out, it was sorta weird. At that point I wasn't sure if they were fine with me data mining and leaking the game. Looking at the likes for Fortnite and especially Activision, the hobby is not looked at as a good thing. I was glad to find out that a lot of the dev team was actually happy with what I was doing.
Q. Since you’re one of the biggest data miners of Valorant, you must have had conversations with Riot employees regarding the same. How do they take the matter that you dig into their stuff and give out hints about possible releases in the future?
Mike: The developers don't help when it comes to data mining and giving hints. There are hints sometimes on platforms like reddit otherwise, one time they put a tease hinting towards Reaver's rerelease. Whenever a new agent is coming we get a teaser within the files that we take a look at.
Q. You’ve previously mentioned in one of your tweets about the development of Valorant for Mobile and for other consoles. What do you feel about this? Do you think the competitive and esports community will benefit from it?
Mike: I think that mobile development for Valorant is one of the best paths that the development team can take. It will expand the market and bring in more funding for valorant in all aspects.
Regarding console, there is nothing on console at the moment, and I don't see it coming to console. There isn't a good layout i can think of that Valorant can perform on a console with.
Valorant Mobile is a working game from what i know, yet it has no release date. It will also likely not contain crossplay for competitive .
Q. You’ve reported all of Valorant’s changes and additions since last year in ValorLeaks. What are some of the changes or additions that you would like in the game which the Valorant devs haven’t thought of yet?
Mike: Hmm, I like this question since it's just what I want. I want to see an Agent that could steal other agents' abilities or an Agent that has no recoil for an Ultimate ability.
Q. The early access event is meant for influencers like you to try out the unreleased stuff in Valorant. However, even after the arduous work of the Rioters to bring the community closer via these events, you get to see leaks done by the people who were trusted with it. What do you personally think about it?
Mike: Ah this is a weird one, I feel like its a betrayal to Riot, majority of the creators that are invited were trusted and created content for their game. No one should “leak” on purpose, and if it's an accident then it's ok, but it's not completely fine.
Whenever a leak like that happens i am put in a weird position. I have to stay silent because I have to follow the rules I was given. I respect the rules and I respect the opportunity I was given.
Q. You are often vocal about how people from the community constantly approach your DMs for possible Valorant leaks. How overbearing does it get for you?
Mike: It's pretty overbearing, but I'm not used to this sort of community size. It's an adjustment, and everything I have, I release publicly.
Q. Riot is gradually trying to build the lore of Valorant. Community lore experts like Cynprel are helping the game create a solid narrative just the way League of Legends has. What are your thoughts on that?
Mike: I think it's awesome, every game deserves to have an underlying story, but at the same time every once in a while there needs to be a mention from Riot themselves confirming the lore. Speculation is great but, sometimes different ideas can conflict and end in confusion.
Q. You have often collaborated with Shiick and Floxxayy while datamining. What's the experience like when 3 dataminers get their heads together into something which they love to do?
Mike: haha, we are all friends and we all just relax. It's all for good fun.
Q. Coming to your personal playstyle, what agent and role do you like to play in Valorant? And if you really grind the game, what is your current rank in Valorant?
Mike: Currently i like to rush into sites or play really laid back and play with time. Currently i am Diamond 2, but that is slowly declining due to my teammates. LOL.
Q. Before coming to a close, I want you to say something to the fans of ValorLeaks and to the people who are supporting you throughout this journey in gaming.
Mike: Thank you! It's weird that this position was given to me. I don't plan on stopping anytime soon and hope you all stick around!