Riot exploring new Valorant pause feature in matchmaking, not just customs

Andrew Amos
Killjoy Valorant

First there were no pauses. Then Riot finally added one for custom games, which helped tournament organizers immensely. Now though, the Valorant developers are looking at adding pauses in matchmade games.

It’s a meme as old as time: You can’t pause online games. However, in a competitive setting in almost every game, there’s a way to stop the clock ⁠— whether it be for a tactical timeout, a technical issue, or even a toilet break.

Valorant has that in custom games. All you have to do is pause the match timer, and the clock won’t tick down. Players are free to move around in their own spawns, but they can’t do anything they wouldn’t be able to do in a pre-round phase.

Valorant pause settings
You can pause in Valorant custom games, but not in matchmaking.

However, putting it in matchmaking is almost unheard of in any game. In CS:GO, you can do it, but only through special clients like FACEIT or ESEA. They don’t impact your direct in-game rank either, using a separate system to track progress.

Riot is looking at adding pre-round pauses to matchmade games in Unrated and Competitive though, so players can take a timeout to rethink their strategy, top-up their water, or find the toilet.

“To make sure everyone has a chance to handle their business, we’ll be exploring different ways of possibly incorporating a pre-round pause. This would allow you to pause the match without the possibility of impacting the outcome of engagements,” senior producer Steven Eldridge told players in a recent dev post.

Specific details about the pauses are unclear though. It’s unlikely they’ll be indefinite, otherwise, players will be trapped in-game forever. It’s more likely that a pre-round pause will last for an additional 45 seconds to a minute.

Each team will also likely get only one or two pauses in matchmaking to stop people from abusing it. This is all speculation though. What Riot has in store could be drastically different.

One thing is for sure though, mid-round pauses are off the table. Riot has tried looking at ways to implement one, but doing so effectively would come at the risk of competitive integrity, and that’s something they’re not willing to jeopardize.

“Pausing mid-round can introduce a number of gameplay concerns that may compromise the competitive integrity of a match, and since we view the competitive integrity of each match as a fundamental part of Valorant, we’ve opted to not support mid-round pauses,” Eldredge added.

There’s no ETA on when pauses will be added to Valorant matchmaking. However, once ⁠— or if ⁠— they are, be sure to use them effectively!

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