Riot reveals how they plan to fight smurfs in Valorant

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Riot Games has exposed how they plan to fight smurfs in Valorant matchmaking, and someday it could lead to malicious players being “kicked” from the game.

An important distinction the studio makes when it comes to smurfs separates high-ranking players who simply seek to play with their friends from people who reach lower ranks with “bad intentions”.

In its findings, the company found that “large numbers of smurfs do so without malicious intent,” competitive designer Jon Walker and producer Sara Dadafshar said in an Ask Valorant blog. So, to combat smurfing, Valorant developers will first try to address this group of people.

For now, Riot says there is “no action plan” to take against them in general, but it will look into the issue more deeply.

The company shares its framework of its advanced investigation, which boils down to four essential questions:

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  • How do we identify smurfs in our systems and how often do players encounter them?
  • Why are players on smurfs?
  • Is there an unmet need that is forcing players to smurf?
  • What changes do we need to make to combat smurfing?

Rather than immediate action or punishment against smurfs, Riot intends to “better serve” their community to prevent them from having to go lower in the first place.

Whether that means a tweak to Valorant's matchmaking system or new features and modes added to the game later remains to be seen.

Riot's data suggests that not all smurfs are disruptive, but those that are may be banned in the future. However, whenever Riot implements solutions that it thinks will answer these questions, the studio can resort to punitive measures for the remaining smurfs.

Many online games have issues with smurfs, but Riot is making this a main focus for their competitive team to address.

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