Peeker’s Advantage in Valorant is a hotly contested topic that has left the community divided and some players think Riot Games does not do enough to address it. While networking has a lot to do with the it, and developers can work towards minimizing the mechanic, there is no way to completely eliminate the peeker’s advantage in Valorant. But what exactly does it mean? In layman’s terms, the person who peeks first gets an advantage in duels in FPS games. Due to the difference in networking, you end up losing a duel to the person who peeked first. This phenomenon is peeker's advantage, a problem that many FPS titles have to contend with and Valorant is no different.
What is Peeker’s Advantage in Valorant?
In technical terms, Peeker's advantage is an artifact of networked gameplay that refers to an advantage that someone peeking around a corner has over an opponent on the other side. There are a few frames of time where a player who peeks around a corner first and spots their opponent, and their opponent still has no idea that they exist. This is due to network descync and while peeker’s advantage in Valorant can be minimized, it cannot be truly removed completely.
This also applies to every FPS shooter in existence and the only way to eliminate this is by having players with the same minimal latency in a controlled environment. It is possible to achieve this in LAN events to some extent but there are still other factors in play that can give the first peeker an advantage.
Does High Ping Offer an Advantage?
Riot Games has addressed this question in a blog stating that high ping does not give peeker’s advantage in Valorant. But, as a low-ping player have just as much peek advantage on your high-ping opponent as they have against you. The developers have suggested playing more aggressively when there is a large ping disparity between you and other players.
The exception to this is if players with higher ping have variable latency constantly. An unstable internet connection may offer them an advantage. According to Riot Games “Peeker's Advantage is only equal if the high ping player has symmetric lag (the same latency from CLIENT->SERVER, as SERVER->CLIENT). If lag is asymmetric (high latency up to the server, low latency down to the client), that individual will have higher levels of peeker's advantage.”
The developers are aware of intentional lag-switching which can cause this phenomenon in Valorant but it falls under cheating and if you think someone is lag-switching in your matches, you should report them.
Solutions Riot Games Has Implemented to Eliminate Peeker’s Advantage in Valorant
Here are the solutions Riot Games is working towards to eliminate peeker’s advantage.
- Valorant uses Riot Direct, the studio’s own internet backbone, to minimize network routing delays and processing time across the internet.
- The developers are implementing VALORANT servers around the world, ultimately aiming to deliver 35ms ping to 70% of our player base.
- The studio has optimized servers to provide a smooth 128 server tickrate to all players.
- The developers have optimized the VALORANT game client to run at 60FPS on most machines from this decade and higher framerates for players with high refresh rate monitors.
- Riot Games has clients and servers running with minimal buffering, targeting one buffered frame of movement data for clients and an average of half a frame of movement data on servers.
How Game Design Can Achieve ZERO Peeker’s Advantage
These are some of the ways Riot Games has intentionally designed its game to reduce peeker’s advantage. While they cannot offer ZERO peeker’s advantage, it comes very close. These game design choices include:
- Map Design: Maps design plays a large role here. As an example, attackers typically have to peek from a single entry point to a site, while the holder can choose to watch from multiple angles. On average, it will take the peeker longer to find the holder and place their crosshair.
- Character Design: When the peeking agent moves around a corner, their shoulders appear before their head (and more importantly, their point of view). This buys the holder a few extra milliseconds to react.
- Weapon Accuracy: Weapon fire is inaccurate while a player is moving, forcing the peeker to either come to a stop before firing or fire while inaccurate (and hope for the best). It takes some time to come to a complete stop, during which the holder can react.
- Hit Tagging: Hit tagging in VALORANT briefly slows the movement of players who are hit with a non-lethal shot. This makes it easier for holders to secure a kill on a peeking player who is caught out in the open.
While Riot Games Make More Changes to Address Peeker’s Advantage in Valorant
According to Valorant’s gameplay tech lead Matt deWet and Project Tech Lead David Straily “We’re happy with where the game has landed, but we’re just getting started. In the near term, we’re continuing to invest in improving game performance and standing up more servers around the world to deliver our 35ms latency promise to more players. We’re also making improvements to clarify visual feedback around hit registration so that players can more easily understand where their shots are landing in the heat of combat.” The team has promised that it will continue to improve Valorant and improve competitive integrity for all players.