Riot developer exposes sexist harassment during Valorant Twitch stream

Viper in Riot Games' Valorant.Riot Games

A League of Legends developer has exposed the sexist abuse she faced during a Valorant Twitch stream, resulting in Riot pledging to find “long-term solutions.”

Valorant’s closed beta has been a massive success for Riot, garnering almost 300 million hours watched on Twitch alone since its launch.

This has partly been driven by Twitch-exclusive beta drops, but a smooth launch and fun gameplay has also played a big role. Riot has also promised to tackle the biggest threat to competitive integrity with their novel anti-cheat, and Valorant has been tipped to challenge the likes of Counter-Strike and Overwatch.

Valorant's in-built anti-cheat system.Riot Games
Riot’s Vanguard anti-cheat is just one of the measures in place to help the developer’s fight against cheaters.

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Sexual harassment in Valorant

However, one aspect of online gaming that is continuing to impact gameplay for some, is griefing — or more specifically, harassment. While simple trolling is inevitable in the realm of online gaming, harassing someone based on their gender or other protected traits is an entirely separate facet of griefing which many still have to face.

And for LoL UX Designer, Riot Greenily, this is an experience that is all too familiar. Greenily posted a brief clip from her livestream, which highlighted in-game harassment from a match.

“It’s like this MOST of the time on solo queue voice comms REGARDLESS of the game I’m playing,” the developer explained. “I usually don’t give in to this like in the video; I’m silent in an attempt to not incite more. Inevitably you get to a point where you have to mute them.”

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Riot dev vows to find a solution

There is currently an option to blow the whistle on this type of behavior, via Valorant’s in-game reporting system, but Riot isn’t stopping there.

Valorant’s Executive Producer, Anna ‘SuperCakes’ Donlon responded to Greenily’s post, explaining that they’re “absolutely looking into long-term solutions for making it safe to play Valorant,” adding that they’ll even be investigating how to improve solo-queuing.

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This isn’t the first time a Riot dev has spoken out regarding in-game harassment. Valorant’s Insight & Strategy Analyst, Riot aeneia, detailed her first experience of a similar encounter with a griefer.

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As per aeneia’s thread, muting individuals who share their sexist remarks can be “strategic sabotage” and ruin the game for both themselves and their team. So being able to counter such behavior remains a difficult task.