Overwatch League pro Rawkus retires to pursue Valorant career - Dexerto

Overwatch League pro Rawkus retires to pursue Valorant career

Published: 1/Aug/2020 23:27

by Theo Salaun


Shane ‘Rawkus’ Flaherty, a three-year Overwatch League veteran for the Houston Outlaws and former Team USA Overwatch World Cup Champion, has officially retired to pursue Valorant.

People were immediately curious about the future of esports when Riot Games announced Valorant, a tactical shooter meshing Counter-Strike’s FPS mechanics with the abilities Overwatch brought to FPS from MOBA titles like League of Legends. Now, Rawkus is the latest OW pro to jump ships.

Following in the footsteps of Damien ‘HyP’ Souville, Jay ‘Sinatraa’ Won, Corey ‘Corey’ Nigra, and Zachary ‘ZachaREEE’ Lombardo, all of whom either dealt with partial play time or a middling roster—Rawkus, who dealt with both, is giving Valorant a go.

Counter-Strike professionals and Overwatch DPS players were considered the most likely to try and get into Valorant early, as a new IP from the developers behind the world’s largest esport was expected to be an obvious draw. But flex supports are some of the most mechanically gifted aimers, so it’s unsurprising that players like HyP and Rawkus, whose OW futures felt uncertain, opted for a career reset in a high-upside title.

Part of the allure of a career reset and foregoing the stability of an Overwatch salary for an attempt at Valorant is likely influenced by age, as Rawkus is 26 years old and inching toward what is widely considered the later years of an esports career.

The Outlaws are 6-14 this season, the 17th-worst record in the OWL, and he was already splitting time with a support in Kim ‘Rapel’ Jun-keun. Leaving a guaranteed contract is a definite risk, but this is likely the best opportunity he’ll have to reinvigorate his career in a fledgling scene with major aspirations.

At the moment, it’s not clear whether Rawkus is already signed to a roster or not. Many orgs have already taken shape, as Sinatraa’s Sentinels team just won the PAX Invitational tournament while Corey and ZachaREEE have joined forces on FaZe Clan.

Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment
Rawkus gets interviewed following a Houston Outlaws win in 2019.

In his Twitlonger discussing the retirement, the former World Cup champ was relatively noncommittal about his next team but did indicate big news was on the horizon.

“As for what’s next? Valorant … Some more exciting news about my future will be coming soon and I can’t wait to share my journey with you all.”


Riot handing out big Valorant bans for players who queue with cheaters

Published: 28/Jan/2021 7:20

by Andrew Amos


Riot Games is making a promise to not just stop Valorant cheaters, but those who play with hackers. New punishments, including big bans, are on the way to stem those who “ride the cheat bus on the highway to hell.”

Cheaters in Valorant have been a big problem since the game’s release. Despite the deep Vanguard anti-cheat, sometimes players slip through the cracks. Late in 2020, this was a massive problem as players grinded for the best Act Rank possible before Episode 2.

Riot’s systems have adapted though. They’ve boasted about their low cheating rate, although were quick to concede that the negative of encountering just one outweighs the positives.

“We’ve worked to make cheating difficult and expensive, and as a result, the percentage of games with a cheater is a fraction of a percent,” developer Matt ‘K3o’ Paoletti told players on January 27.

“However, those who were able to cheat impacted players far too often. Encountering a cheater isn’t just an inconvenience — it could mean a missed promotion, or a demoralizing halt of a win streak.”

While Riot has done a solid job tackling cheaters, including even snagging a prospective pro mid-scrim, there’s another level they need to address ⁠— players who willingly queue with cheaters.

This is harder to detect with Vanguard, as player intent isn’t clear. However, Riot is looking at cracking down on repeat offenders with 90-day bans. It’s not quite a Hardware ID ban like those dished out to cheaters, but it’s something for those who leech off of them.

“We saw that some players also looked to bask in the ill-gotten gains of cheaters by teaming with them—knowing that the cheater would get banned after a few games, but they would get to reap the rewards,” K3o added.

“One of the first new efforts is to discipline players who queue with cheaters, or as we can colloquially call it, ‘ride the cheat bus on the highway to hell.’ Rank should be an indicator of your skill, not your ability to pay for a service.”

Valorant match cancelled due to cheaters
Riot Games
If a cheater is detected in the middle of a match, Valorant will instantly end the game for all competitors.

Further Vanguard anti-cheat changes to recalibrate rank

That change is one of many being implemented to Vanguard in Episode 2. Riot is looking at a system to recalibrate players’ ranks after cheaters are banned. This is a similar system to how Ubisoft tackles hackers in Rainbow Six.

“The team is also looking at other measures to rectify the damage caused by cheaters, most noticeably, re-calibrating your rating after it may have been impacted by illegitimate players. All forms of boosting are being considered,” he said.

More changes are expected in Episode 2 and beyond, but it’s a promising trend to try and tackle what was once an out-of-control problem.