Riot surprised by fast development of VALORANT cheating

"It turns out I was optimistic."

Image via Riot Games

When anyone with access to VALORANT downloads the game, the first thing that they’re instructed to do is reset their computer so that an anti-cheat system can install with it. But just a couple of weeks after the beta’s launch, the new tactical shooter is already experiencing issues with players who are getting away with cheating.

In an interview with IGN, Riot Games programmer and anti-cheat lead Paul Chamberlain said that cheating in the game started even earlier than he anticipated.

“My estimate before launch was that we’d see our first real cheats within the first two weeks of the beta,” Chamberlain told IGN. “It turns out I was optimistic and instead we only had a few days of quiet before we had to be working at full steam ahead.”

As a response to the early development of cheating in VALORANT, Riot is rewarding hackers $100,000 if they can crack the game’s anti-cheat software, Vanguard, that runs all the time on a user’s PC, regardless of whether they’re playing VALORANT.

Chamberlain explained why that’s necessary, as well as why a reboot of your computer is required by Vanguard.

“Vanguard contains a driver component called vgk.sys (similar to other anti-cheat systems), it’s the reason why a reboot is required after installing,” Chamberlain said. “Vanguard doesn’t consider the computer trusted unless the Vanguard driver is loaded at system startup (this part is less common for anti-cheat systems). This is good for stopping cheaters because a common way to bypass anti-cheat systems is to load cheats before the anti-cheat system starts and either modify system components to contain the cheat or to have the cheat tamper with the anti-cheat system as it loads.”

Despite that, people have been able to hack into the system quickly, eliciting a response from Riot as the game continues beta development testing.

“To be honest I was caught off guard by how much interest there’s been in the game and how quickly cheat developers turned their attention to us,” Chamberlain said.

VALORANT is scheduled to be officially released this summer.