Riot reveals further Valorant anti-smurf changes as crackdown continues

Valorant character behind enemy with logo in top leftRiot Games

Valorant developers Riot Games have shared an update on their anti-smurfing actions, as issues with the tactic continue in-game.

Smurfing is a major issue for plenty of game developers. It relates to typically high-skill players seeking out accounts that are low-ranked. Resultantly, they are able to get into matches with opponents they can easily outplay and dominate.

Valorant, alongside other titles like Apex Legends, has had its fair share of problems with smurfs.

On December 20, Riot Games shared a lengthy update on the topic, including how they’re tackling it moving forwards.

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Riot issue Valorant smurfing update

Riot’s blog post detailed in depth what the problems are, how they’re tackling them, and what is in the pipeline for the future.

They confirmed that Valorant now features an ‘Automated Smurf Detection’ system to monitor smurf account MMRs (matchmaking ranks).

Overall, smurf counts are down by 17% on the same period last year. This shows that Riot’s tactics are working, but there is still a long way to go until Valorant is as smurf free as possible.

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They also stated that, on average, newly created smurfs are being placed in their “correct” MMR lobbies 2-3x faster than previously. That means they’re getting into fewer lobbies with mismatched opponents they are able to dominate.

Riot Games' Smurf update TLDRRiot Games
Riot’s main takeaways from the Smurf update.

Riot also confirmed changes to 5-stacking (meaning players joining matches as a full team of five) have had desired results. They said: “In addition, changes to 5-stack restrictions have caused a meaningful reduction in smurf activity, which also led to an increase in match fairness in the same period. 5-stack matchmaking continues to be the fairest type of matches in all of VALORANT.”

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In terms of what players can expect moving forward, Riot pledged to continue to monitor the issues and implement new features accordingly.

They outlined plans to bring “more improvements/additions to our smurf detection methodology; continued efforts to detect and act against boosting, account sharing and account purchasing; and additional ways for players of varying skill levels to play VALORANT competitively together.”

While Valorant will never be entirely smurf-free, it’s clear it’s a priority for Riot and the game is already benefitting from their focus.

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