Valorant

Valorant dev responds to Pokimane's pleas against sexism in voice comms

by Virginia Glaze
Pokimane, Twitch / Riot Games, Valorant

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Riot's new character FPS, Valorant, has taken the gaming community by storm — but unfortunately, not everyone is having a great time with the multiplayer team shooter.

Online games with voice chat options have a history of being toxic spaces for women and minority groups, with many a female player having recorded disturbing interactions with male teammates over the mic.

Unfortunately, these incidents aren’t isolated to games like Rainbow Six Siege and Overwatch; Valorant also suffers from such toxicity, which top Twitch streamer Imane ‘Pokimane’ Anys called out in a series of pointed Tweets in late April.

Riot Games / Valorant
Valorant is the latest in team-based shooters that is taking the gaming world by storm - but it's not exempt from toxic abuse from players, despite still being in beta.

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The streamer, in response to such happenings, urged players to be nice to their female teammates while talking over the mic, leading to a lively conversation surrounding the problem across social media.

“Please be nice to girls in voice comms,” the star Tweeted — a post that has since garnered over 68k likes and 3.4k retweets.

“I just want to be treated normally,” fellow streamer Fiona M replied to Pokimane’s Tweet. “I don't even want to play Valorant anymore after the first few day of trying it. I don't want to join voice comms ever when I can already see how bad it will be.”

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“Exactly this,” Anys replied.

Another commenter noted that they could get labeled a “simp” for being nice to female players, leading the streamer to reply, “Yeah, but when that girl will appreciate tf out of you, it’s worth.”

In fact, Pokimane’s Tweet garnered enough buzz that Valorant director Joe Ziegler responded to the matter, asking that players exercise politeness as many new users are still learning the game and may not be elite pros, just yet.

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“Agreed!” he replied. “I'd also just in general say, please be civil to anyone you meet in the game. Most people are learning, and it can be frustrating for a variety of reasons, but it's harder to both learn, improve, and teach when you're speaking or hearing vitriol. (Fancy word +1)”

Multiple instances of toxicity directed toward female players have been recorded in a slew of different online titles — and while it doesn’t look like Valorant is faring any differently, with the community’s help, it doesn’t have to continue the trend of abuse.