Valorant dev explains how highly-requested 2FA isn’t enough to solve smurfing issues

Terry Oh
an image of Phoenix and Jett in Valorant

Smurfing remains a prevailing issue in Valorant, causing players to cry out for a mandatory 2 form authentication when making new accounts, with many claiming this would greatly diminish the number of smurfs online. However, a Valorant developer has chimed in to explain otherwise.

For those unaware, smurfing is when previously high-ranked players create a brand new account in order to start over at lower ranks. Given their skills still translate, for any competitive team game, smurfing can ruin the ranked experience when left unchecked.

Valorant is one such game that continues to struggle with this issue. Newer players will often find themselves matched against seasoned veterans on the ranked ladder.

Members of the community have criticized the game’s design in recent months stating: “Imagine the cliff-sized drop in player accounts if they actually enforced some sort of authentication to where you couldn’t create infinite accounts at will.

“Each alt account is another user for their engagement KPI they can internally [gloat] about each quarter.”

Smurfing in Valorant remains an issue.

Addressing the matter head-on in a lengthy Reddit post, Valorant developer ‘EvrMoar’ rejected the argument that 2-form authentication (2FA) would resolve the smurfing issue.

They began by denying KPI (Key Performance Indicator) boosting. “I’ve never worked at a studio where my review, or my success, was measured by population growth, monetization rates, or any types of KPIs.”

Continuing on, they claimed: “Every decision we’ve made for ranked has always had the question ‘will this reduce smurfing’ or ‘how can we change this to reduce smurfing’ during the design phase?'”

It’s clear Riot has been consistently theorizing fixes for the issue. But according to EvrMoar, the problems surrounding smurfing aren’t simply fixable with the implementation of extra authentication.

EvrMoar explained how “two factor is a double-edged sword,” making an analysis that smurfs are willing to spend money to go the extra step. This. therefore does not fix the problem.

“While two-factor can reduce smurfs, it’s not a silver bullet,” they said.

byu/Ushi- from discussion

Riot EvrMoar then continued to address the potential ramifications of the pitched smurfing fix by outlining a hypothetical example.

“We would be reducing smurfs from 1% to 0.5% of concurrent users. In return, we also research and find out lower-ranked players are less likely to have money, less likely to own their own cell phone, or happen to use a local PC Bang in order to play Valorant.

“By enabling two factor we figure that 3% of players would no longer be able to access ranked nor have the money to solve their access to ranked.”

The extra barrier of entry would effectively cut off another portion of the player base, while simultaneously adding “the work of upkeeping, monitoring for exploits, and fixing any issues with various service providers to upkeep the system.”

Eventually, according to Riot EvrMoar, “more and more smurfs would get around this system. When you put SMS verification up you aren’t putting up a barrier to prevent smurfs, you are putting up a paywall essentially.”