Valorant's Vanguard anti-cheat might ban your PC if you cheat

Steven R. March 27, 2020

Riot Games is taking a number of different measures to deal with cheaters in its upcoming title, Valorant.

Foremost among these efforts is the creation of a new anti-cheat engine named Vanguard. While Vanguard will largely work like any other anti-cheat engine, Riot is committed to having it quickly and effectively shut down cheaters through any means necessary.

This includes not just banning a player’s account from playing, but temporarily banning their actual computer as well. This was discussed by Riot Games’ Paul Chamberlain in an interview with TechTudo.

“This can always change, but my current thinking is that all accounts that we identify using tricks are permanently suspended. In addition, we would like to temporarily prohibit their computer from running the game, precisely to discourage the user from creating a new account," Chamberlain said.

This is likely welcome news for fans of games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Fortnite.

Vanguard among FPS games using anti-cheat to deal with hacking

Free-to-play games have always been tough to police in terms of cheaters. Because the games are functionally designed to provide few barriers to entry for new players, cheaters are able to create an account, use cheats, and then just create another account if they are banned. This can make the playing experience awful, especially for new players.

Different games have tackled this in different ways. Battle royales unanimously include spectating and report functions that allow players to watch a player that killed them to get a read on if they’re hacking. CSGO has Prime Matchmaking, a separate matchmaking pool for accounts that are in good standing, in addition to its overwatch feature.

If it works as intended, Valorant blocking off computers that have been detected using cheats would be an effective way of keeping away hackers.

But is this the best way to go about things?

Though they aren’t as popular in North America and Europe, net cafes are major parts of the esports scene in other regions. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to have people sign into those shared computers and install hacks on throwaway accounts. It’s not hard to imagine this making Valorant, and Riot’s League of Legends, unplayable in net cafes even if these bans are too long. If they’re too short, it kind of defeats the purpose.

Past this, it’s hard to figure out how Riot would be able to effectively hone in on a user’s individual hardware. While there are tools for identifying specific devices like MAC addresses, Riot would likely be facing an uphill battle in terms of finding ways of preventing users from providing phony credentials to Vanguard.

Either way, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Riot’s creative anti-cheat measures with Valorant.

The game will feature a number of different ways to elude hackers, ranging from server-side player locations to prevent speed hacks, to a fog of war system that removes enemy units from the map entirely to prevent wall hacks.

More details on Riot's anti-cheat plans can be found here.

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