Valorant's competitive system has always been intricate, with developers trying to introduce new algorithms every once in a while. The popular fast-paced FPS game features ranked servers that host millions of players trying to overcome their current rank and reach closer to Radiant each day.
Players are given ranks depending on a hidden matchmaking rating (MMR) and a visible rank rating (RR). RR gains/losses heavily depend on the match outcomes.
Apart from the win rate, players may gain more or less RR depending on their performance in the match. While the basic rule of Valorant's competitive system may look simple, the core behind assigning ranks and MMR is much more complicated.
This article will elaborate on the recent changes to the game's RR gain system, the Episode 6 reset, and how the system generally works.
Here's how Valorant's ranking system works in 2023
Valorant currently has nine ranks: Iron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Ascendant, Immortal, and finally, Radiant.
Except for Radiant, each rank features three tiers. Gaining 100 RR will help you reach the next tier within a rank.
There are a few requirements to play Valorant's Competitive mode in 2023. One should reach Level 20 to start playing ranked games. Furthermore, four-member parties cannot queue for a ranked game; only solo, duo, trio, or five-stack queuing is allowed.
Riot Games allows only a slight rank disparity (up to one rank) between teammates queuing together for a Competitive match. Five-stack parties can avoid this rule and queue for a ranked match; however, if the rank difference is too high, the game will reduce the RR you gain by 25-75%, depending on the extent.
What are Episodes and Acts and how do they affect RR?
Valorant's timeline consists of competitive frames, which reset player ranks every once in two months.
Episodes are longer competitive frames that last for around six months. Each features three Acts, which are shorter lasting around two months.
New Episodes cause ranks to reset entirely. Players must complete five competitive matches at the beginning of an Episode to reveal their ranks, with the highest initial placement being Ascendant. They may receive up to two ranks less than they achieved in the previous Act.
On the other hand, acts bring about a soft reset where players have to complete one competitive match to reveal their rank. This reset lets the player begin from where they left off in the previous Act.
Note that Act 1 marks the beginning of an Episode and comes with a hard rank reset, while the remaining two bring a soft rank reset.
Valorant's Patch 6.0: Competitive Updates
Until Valorant's Episode 6, both round differential and match outcomes controlled RR gains/losses; however, the developers slightly tweaked this rule to make win rate a dominating factor in RR changes, starting Episode 6 Act 1.
Starting Episode 6, the extent of RR gains/losses will lean more towards your Win/Loss than the exact round differential of the match.
As per developers, players were experiencing huge differences in RR gains/losses from match to match based on the round differential. The said change was introduced to reduce the unregulated differences due to round-based performances.
Another important update addresses the problem surrounding harsh RR loss upon losing a match or less RR gain upon winning a match.
If your in-game rank is far from your exact MMR, RR gains will depend more on your performance in a match. The round differential influence will now be reduced through patch 6.0, and such players should also see their rank and MMR converge faster.
If a player's rank is below their actual MMR, they will be rewarded more for a good game. If a player's rank is above their MMR, they will not be harshly penalized if they lose, but perform well in that match. - Valorant Patch 6.0 notes
Despite siding over wins rather than individual player skills, Valorant's ranking system appears to be well-balanced and rewarding for now. It's a team-based game, and thus, the outcome should affect player RR accordingly.
That said, Riot Games is yet to introduce an effective system against smurfs, account buyers, and throwers, who have been staining the ranked experience ever since the game's launch.