VALORANT Anti-cheat: Winter Update
Hey everyone, it’s Matt “K3o” Paoletti here on behalf of the VALORANT Anti-Cheat team for an update on anti-cheat in Episode 2.
With the kick off of a new Episode—and the changes to the game and our competitive system that come with it—there’s never been a better time to regale you with all the dope stuff we’re doing to maintain a high level of competitive integrity in VALORANT.
ANTI-CHEAT IN FIRST STRIKE
We believe our game set a high standard right out the gate for our competitive experience, particularly with anti-cheat. An “esports ready” experience was our goal, and First Strike—our first major tournament series—was our team’s largest test. We wanted this to feel as close to LAN as possible, and a large part of that was making sure everyone played fair.
We were able to perform an in-depth review of every participating account in every region, both before and after First Strike. The learning curve was steep. The logistics behind a massive open qualifier tournament for every region was more resource intensive than expected. To review every player, we needed to know who every player was. Coordinating with every region was not a task Anti-Cheat specializes in, but luckily, we had our heavily experienced friends from the Esports team to assist us. We had to make the precedents and rules almost as we went, deciding what exactly constitutes a disqualification, and how we’d handle those.
For a first time event, it could be hectic at times, but we felt we hit a decent mark, and have learned a ton for the next one. This includes mostly logistical issues, such as handling volume, getting PUUIDs, having regional leads escalate properly, and a few others.
CHEATERS IN COMPETITIVE
The VALORANT Competitive ladder doesn’t share the same benefits of the more controlled environment of First Strike. We’ve worked to make cheating difficult and expensive, and as a result, the percentage of games with a cheater is a fraction of a percent.
However, those who were able to cheat impacted players far too often. Encountering a cheater isn’t just an inconvenience—it could mean a missed promotion, or a demoralizing halt of a win streak.
Cheaters at the highest ranks also put a stain on the prestige that comes with reaching such heights in a highly competitive game. We saw that some players also looked to bask in the ill-gotten gains of cheaters by teaming with them—knowing that the cheater would get banned after a few games, but they would get to reap the rewards.
Our biggest priority with Episode 2 is to make sure that the grind to the top is valiant, fair, and legitimate.
UPCOMING ANTI-CHEAT SOLUTIONS
We’re working on a variety of measures to reduce cheating and its impact on all fronts.
- 90-day penalty for “bussing”
- Researching the ability to re-calibrate rank for those affected by cheaters
- Meta-game system updates
Analytics, data science, and technical improvements of Vanguard are all part of this battle. One of the first new efforts is to discipline players who queue with cheaters, or as we can colloquially call it, “ride the cheat bus on the highway to hell.”
Blatant cheaters are removed quickly in VALORANT, but many of these players support their expensive addiction by offering boosting services. Rank should be an indicator of your skill, not your ability to pay for a service. The team is also looking at other measures to rectify the damage caused by cheaters, most noticeably, re-calibrating your rating after it may have been impacted by illegitimate players. All forms of boosting are being considered. As a friendly reminder: Account sharing and buying is against the Terms of Service, and we will enforce those terms.
Changes in VALORANT’s metagame systems are also going to make a positive impact. Episode 2 is implementing a whole overhaul of the Ranked system, and one that will help us keep an elevated level of integrity at the highest ranks.
We’ve set a cap on the highest rank you reach in placements, and have reduced the speed at which players can reach Radiant. This increases the prestige and value of reaching the highest ranks, and it also has great benefits for maintaining the integrity of these games. This helps prevent cheaters from being able to blow their birthday money on a cheat, just so they can headshot the legitimately talented player before their accounts are permanently banned.
It hasn’t always been perfect, but the lessons we’ve learned and the community feedback and in-game reports we’ve received have been invaluable and will continue to empower us. Candidness on where we’re succeeding, and where we’re failing, are vital to us in identifying and addressing violations of game integrity. Cheaters, sadly, will always exist, but cheaters never prosper.