VALORANT players lament smurfing issue, urge new account restrictions

Smurfs galore lead to frustrating games after new agents are released.

Image via Riot Games

Smurfing becomes a pressing issue every time new content is added to VALORANT. And now, fans are demanding action from Riot Games.

Since the launch of Chamber on Nov. 16, the VALORANT subreddit has seen an influx of posts and suggestions on how to remedy the game’s smurfing problem. One of the more popular suggestions is to increase the level requirement for ranked play or to institute a waiting period before new accounts can access the new agents. 

New accounts can earn free agent unlock tokens for doing a handful of challenges. While seasoned players have to grind to get the new agents, a smurf account could let them try out a new character much sooner.

Smurfing isn’t a new phenomenon in gaming. When high-level players create new accounts and purposefully place them in lower ranks for easy wins, it undermines competitiveness. 

Whether these new accounts are intentionally placed lower or just new alternate accounts, many are still in much lower ranks than the players should be. Thus, these players generally outperform their lobbies and make the game not as fun for the players in their rightful ranks.

Other games like CS:GO and Overwatch have added a verification system where each account must be linked to a unique phone number to play ranked. League of Legends also has a requirement to reach level 30 and own at least 20 champions before ranked is accessible. This usually takes players at least 100 hours of gameplay, therein discouraging smurfing.

The comments on these posts from the community amplify the sentiment, noting the uptick in smurf accounts and bemoaning lobbies with clear smurfs in them. While no game has solved this issue, there’s a multitude of different routes Riot could take to reduce smurfing and make it less worth it.

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