Riot Games wants to address smurfing in Valorant, but how?

Fariha Bhatti • May 7, 16:44

Smurfs are under Riot Games’ scrutiny, the developer has revealed in a recent Ask Valorant episode. 

Climbing ranks in Valorant is no easy feat. Unlike other shooter games, the learning curve in Valorant is a bit steep due to agent abilities. New players have a hard time understanding agent kits, spray pattern, and aim placement. On top of all that, smurfs can ruin the competitive experience. Many players complain that Valorant has more smurfs than any other game due to party rank restrictions and other reasons. 

Fortunately, Valorant developers like to stay in the loop with player feedback, and they’ve heard the woes. On May 6th’s Ask Valorant, competitive designer Jon Walker and Sara Dadafshar explained that they’re closely looking at the current state of smurfers in Valorant. 

“For those that encounter smurfs, we know it’s tough to stomach that there’s no immediate solution today, but we have to make sure that we are approaching this complex space in the right way without screwing up other systems,” The developers said. 

The investigation is currently underway but there hasn’t been a solid plan laid out to tackle the smurfers. The developer explained that banning people for playing well will ruin Valorant for clean players. Before swinging the ban hammer, the developer wants to find a reliable way to identify smurf accounts. 

“How do we identify smurf in our systems, and how often are players running into them? Why do players smurf?” they said. 

Valorant developers continue to fight smurfing

Previously, the party rank disparity in Valorant was prompting players to create new accounts to queue with their friends. The latest updates changed that and a considerable decline in smurf was observed. However, the game is still littered with high-ranked players popping heads from Bronze and Iron accounts. The developer explained that they want to determine why players are smurfing and deal with the problem at the grassroots level. 

“We want to understand exactly what your needs are and how we can better serve you all! Combating smurfing is not only about punishment, but it’s also about making Valorant more accessible so those without bad intentions no longer feel the need to smurf,” developers explained. 

There are plenty of things that cause players to make new accounts. Queue timing in high-ranked accounts is insanely high, numerous professional players have complained in the past. Some players aren’t satisfied with the MMR on their older profiles and are looking to start afresh, whereas others do it with malicious intent. 

However, smurfs in Valorant have decreased drastically in the past few months due to the obligation of completing ten casual and five competitive games before unlocking the rank. Hopefully, Riot Games will take similar actions to combat smurfers in the upcoming Episode 3. 

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