Riot Games developers have revealed the biggest factor for moving up and dropping down the ranks of Valorant's competitive mode, and some players might be surprised to learn KDA is less important than they think.
Ranked play in Valorant was released at the end of April for Europe and North America, but since its launch, some players have been a bit confused about how things like kill/death ratio, wins, and losses affect their rank.
As with most other FPS games, Valorant fans treasure a high KDA, but Riot has revealed that a consistent, picture-perfect ratio might not help you rank up any quicker.
In an effort to clear things up, product manager of the Valorant competitive team, Ian Fielding, laid out the quickest way for players to rank up: winning games.
"We’ve heard some concerns from players who feel they need to maximize their KDA (kill-death ratio) to boost their performance evaluation," Fielding said. "And how doing so is not always aligned with their team winning."
"Let’s be clear: Winning or losing a match has the biggest effect on your rank," he explained. "If you aim for something other than winning (like KDA), and you lose matches because of it, your rank will trend downward."
FPS games, including Valorant, are way more fun when you’re playing with a group of friends, but some still feel that the real test of skill lies in solo play. However, Fielding also addressed how Riot is trying to keep solo and group queues on a level playing field.
"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 wrote. "Also, outside of playing at the highest rank, we’ve included measurement on a small degree of ‘performance’ in determining how your rank increases or decreases. So if you perform exceptionally well and have an outsized contribution to your team’s win, you‘ll rank up faster."
But Riot's approach to ranked in Valorant, and the lack of a separate solo queue, has rubbed some top-level players the wrong way, including Daniel 'dafran' Francesca, who had to deal with a similar problem while he was a top-tier Overwatch star.
This is why allowing 5 stacks in the highest rank with solo q is stupid.
Imagine if Astralis was as good at Valorant as they are in CS:GO and they 5 stack. There will not be enough players in the highest rank, so ur system will put 5 soloqs against Astralis. Gg
— dafran (@dafran) May 13, 2020
Dafran does have a point - a lack of a separate queue for solo players means that, at high ranks, you'll inevitably have to go up against a full squad that's more familiar with one another than a group of random single players could ever be.
The Overwatch community has had to deal with this issue since release, and a lot of veteran players from other games are disappointed that Riot seems to be taking a similar route. There's plenty of time left in the beta, but whether or not the Valorant devs decide to change their mind on a separate solo queue remains to be seen.