Fariha B. January 12, 2021
Matchmaking in Valorant can be a testing experience for players due to smurfs and griefing. Things will hopefully get a bit better.
Riot Games' patch 1.13 introduced tweaks to the matchmaking system in response to complaints of a sudden spike in smurfs. However, a Redditor named hardstuckbabe said that the issue cuts both ways, and the new system that lets players climb the rankings more rapidly has flooded high-MMR brackets with subpar players.
Players complain that high-ranked teammates often lack the skills their ranks would suggest. That disparity between rank and skill level squeezes the fun out of the game for players that earned their way up the ladder the hard way.
This issue has been brought to light many times before. However, hardstuckbabe's complaint prompted a reply from Riot Games developer Jon Walker. Walker broke down Valorant's matchmaking system in a detailed comment and clarified that patch 1.13 updates didn't alter how players were matched together. Ranked distribution saw some tweaks, but the skill rating of players remained in place. He explained that the developer had moved the cut-offs for lower ranks. The matchmaking rating, or MMR, that determines rank was tempered for lower levels, which allowed Gold 2 player to upgrade to Gold 3.
How does matchmaking in Valorant works?
According to Walker, it's not rank that determines the level of a player's opponents and teammates, but the player's MMR. He further outlined Riot's methodology for assigning ranks.
"When you match make we use your MMR to match you with similar MMR players. So it doesn't matter what Ranks you run into in your lobby, your MMR is around theirs and you are put into the match because of it," he said.
Simply put, players are matching up with enemies who have a similar rating as them. For example, earlier players who had MMR between 400-500 were ranked as Iron 2. After the changes, players with 420 MMR are Iron 2 and the same cut downs have been applied to other ranks. In this process, the rating that draws skills of a player remains constant, a number that Valorant utilizes to match the players.
EvrMoar further clarified that the changes were meant specifically for lower ranks.
"Also all ranks up to Plat were changed and rolled out over the past month as players played. So as long as you were below Plat you also benefited from these ranked distribution changes just as much as every other player," he said.
The developer has clarified that ranks may not be as crucial as many expect for matchmaking. MMR and rank aren't the only things that are taken into account, as Walker also confirmed that there are secret values that are considered in the process as well.