Valorant Episode 3 Act 3 begins with the new patch featuring changes to the game’s competitive ecosystem. The changes allow all Valorant ranks to play together, but there’s a catch.
Riot Games has continued to make necessary changes to Valorant’s ranking and queue system since the game’s release in 2020. However, the new act changes everything. In order to combat smurfs, the developer has gone an extra mile, allowing five stacks for the first time.
“In an effort to reduce smurfing, we’re removing all ranked restrictions from 5-stack parties in Competitive Queue. Our data has shown that the most common reason that players smurf, is because they want to play with their friends outside the bounds of our current ranked restrictions,” comms strategist Jeff Landa said.
Following the new update, all Valorant ranks can play in one lobby. Previously, a rank disparity restricted Diamond players from entering Silver and Gold lobbies, but this will change. The developer has removed the barrier in order to combat smurfs, but specific rules apply.
Five stacks will see an increased queue time when they play together in Valorant, which has been a common problem in the first-person shooter. But after this new update, stacks above Diamond 3 might have to wait for even longer in the queue. The system will only put Diamond 3 and above stacks with similar MMR five stacks in order to ensure fair play, which will surely take time.
Those who are okay with waiting should know that five stacks will also cost you plenty of Rank Rating (RR). Points gains and losses will be reduced when playing in a five-person lobby outside the rules of the previous rank restrictions. The amount that your RR is adjusted depends on the rank disparity within the group. If one of the members is outside of the rank limit, 50% RR will be deducted. The percentage will keep going up with the number of team members outside of rank restriction.
RR deduction can be very high as the ranks scale upwards. For example, if one or more members of your group are Radiant, playing with any player below Radiant will reduce your potential RR by 90%.
While the developer has allowed five-stacks after high community demand, the restrictions are severe. Players grinding ranked queues would be giving up on a high amount of RR, slowing down their ranking journey.
It’s worth noting that only five-person lobbies are exempt from the previous rank disparity rule. Any stack under five won’t be able to queue with players who are outside of Valorant rank restriction. Along with this, the developer has also removed four-stacks to reduce toxicity in-game.