AFK rate in VALORANT ‘more than halved’ over last year

Riot is committed to improving the AFK detection system in 2022.

Image via Riot Games

Systems implemented into VALORANT have “more than halved” the AFK rate over the last year, according to Riot Games.

The AFK rate remained at a similar level throughout 2020. But after Riot created an improved AFK detection system and issued penalties for repeat offenders in early 2021, AFKs have taken a dive.

Riot defines “AFK” (away from keyboard) as “someone who leaves or otherwise does not participate during an ongoing game” and says “all competitive team-based multiplayer games” face the issue “to some degree or another.”

To solve AFKs and improve the enjoyment of the game, Riot found a way to detect players who had either disconnected from the game or stayed completely inactive for a prolonged period of time. But while this covered most AFKs, including internet outages and rage-quitting, it left some room for improvement. 

The system didn’t cover the “more malicious AFKs”—those who intentionally AFK but stay active in the game so as to not disconnect. To address this issue, Riot set trackers to look for specific behaviors and metrics that can be tied to AFKs.

Image via Riot Games

“We can’t get into specific detail about those trackers (since revealing how we detect AFKs would make it easier for bad actors to bypass those rules),” Riot said. “What we can say, however, is that our focus was to make the detection process heavily scalable.”

Riot also wanted to make sure the punishments for going AFK were fair and forgiving for players who AFK on a rare occasion. To accomplish this goal, Riot created an AFK “rating” per player that tracks “AFK behavior” across all games played. 

“The more a player commits AFKs, the lower their rating becomes, and the harsher their punishment will be on a future violation,” Riot said.

If a player rarely or never goes AFK, their AFK rating will be “good,” which means they won’t be punished severely for accidentally disconnecting or going AFK from a game. If a player rage quits every other game, though, they could receive anything from a warning to a ban.

Riot is committed to improving the detection system in 2022.

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About the author
Jerome Heath

Associate Editor. Brit stranded thousands of miles from home on a tiny little island that looks like a sweet potato. League of Legends? He's aware of it. VALORANT? Might have heard of it. Counter-Strike? Sounds vaguely familiar.