Valorant developers reveal the truth behind peeker's advantage

Olivia R. May 15, 2020

Developer Riot Games has informed Valorant players that peeker's advantage is never going away. 

In a recent press release, executive producer Anna Donlon and game director Joe Ziegler discussed peeker's advantage after the Valorant community became vocal about the number of deep corners and angles on the three maps in the closed beta. When an emeny comes around the corner and appears to be running and gunning while still accurate, that's peeker's advantage and it's "never going away until humanity learns to move faster than the speed of light," Valorant technical engineering lead David Straily said. 

"Philosophically, we believe the less peeker's advantage there is, the more tactical the game's meta becomes," Straily said. 

He then listed some equations and measurements that including framerate and network lag that basically conclude with a player seeing you before you see them when they are turning a corner. 

"Average human reaction time is about 247ms, no joke . Peeker's advantage in Valorant is an average of 40-70ms, but even a minor head start is still meaningful," Straily explained. 

Valorant developers talk strafe shooting

While developers are positive that peeker's advantage is just part of an FPS title, there are a few things they are actually hoping to change before Valorant is released this summer.

The first is strafe shooting. According to the developers, many players have come across a situation where they seem to be killed by a player who appears to be mid-run. From the opponent's side, they are actually standing still. 

"We devs are aware of this issue, and are thinking about some ways to improve it," they stated. 

According to the press release, "Network Interpolation Delay (see my comments in the first block above) causes a 7.8125ms desync between movement data and damage data. Otherwise said, when you get killed, the player's move position is always shown 7.8125ms behind from where they actually fired," developers said.

This can make it seem like they were moving while shooting you when they actually weren't. This becomes an even bigger issue when a player uses "counter-strafing." 

To address this, developers are investigating all parts of moving/shoot accuracy in Valorant to understand what's causing the issue. They are also focusing on animation blending updates, so when a player stops, the animation from "running" to "standing" is sped up to match it closer. They may also "delay" your death by a few milliseconds so that you can see the player kill as your opponent did. 

"Packet loss on average varies, but it is not uncommon to have 1-3%. With those numbers, you might see pops of up to once-a-second. Not ideal," developers explained. 

Riot developers address solo queue and competitive mode in Valorant

At the end of the press release, the game's developers addressed a few other common questions players have.

The first question was, "Do high ping palyers cause worse peeker's advantage?" The answer? Yes. The second question was, "Do high ping players have a gameplay advantage?" This time, the answer is no. 

"Low latency is near always superior, as your player actions get to the game server faster than your opponents' actions. The only tricky bit with a high ping player is that it does cause worse peeker's advantage, for everyone. But you as a low-ping player have just as much peek advantage on your high-ping opponent as they have against you," developers explained. 

In scenarios with high ping, Valorant developers advised players to play "aggresively." 

Their attention then turned to solo queue, since many players feel there is no true solo queue given the game's matchmaking. According to Valorant competitive team's product manager, Ian Fielding, having a solo queue can "easily lead to that becoming the definitive test of someone's skills and the primary way to play competitively." Instead, Valorant wants players to play with any size team they prefer, as well as find good teammates for when "high-stakes competition" becomes available. 

"If you are playing solo or with smaller group sizes, we’ve worked to make it so our matchmaking will favor placing players against similar premade team sizes.," Fielding said. 

Valorant also addressed why they added competitive matchmaking to the game's closed beta. According to Fielding, the goal was to "have a conversation" with players about "building the mode together." 

"Part of the reason we wanted to get competitive matchmaking out early in VALORANT Closed Beta is so that we could have a conversation with all of you and begin building the mode together," Fielding said. 

For now, the focus is making it easier to queue with your friends in placement matches and creating better clarity for rank icons.