It seems smurfs in VALORANT have caught Riot’s eye.
Competitive designer Jon Walker and producer Sara Dadafshar discussed smurfing in today’s Ask VALORANT blog, a frustrating topic that adversely affects competitive matchmaking. And while Riot is “deep” in an investigation, the devs don’t have an actionable plan to share yet.
“For those that encounter smurfs, we know it’s tough to stomach that there’s no immediate solution today, but we have to make sure that we are approaching this complex space in the right way without screwing up other systems,” according to Walker and Dadafshar. “Combating smurfing is not only about punishment, it’s also about making VALORANT more accessible so those without bad intentions no longer feel the need to smurf.”
Riot is approaching the issue by exploring a few fundamental questions, like why do players smurf, how do you identify them, is there a need not being met that’s forcing players to do it, and what changes need to be made to combat it? Many top players, for example, hop on their smurfs because they want to avoid long queue times or squad up with their lower-rank friends. There’s no malice behind it, they just want to play the game.
But, of course, there are other smurfs who do it with “bad intent.” This might be because they want to troll, stomp lower-ranked players, or feel uninhibited in what they voice to their teammates. After Riot is “comfortable with the solution” to mitigate smurfing in players with no malicious intent, they can then “put a foot down” on the other group and potentially boot them from VALORANT.
There doesn’t appear to be any set timeline for a solution on smurfing yet. But since it’s one of the competitive team’s “primary focuses,” it’ll likely come sooner rather than later.
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