Riot Games Believes its Premier Mode Will Help Combat Smurfing in Valorant
Riot Games has implemented measures to address the issue of "smurfing" in Valorant, according to a recent blog post from Insights Manager Brian Change. The company introduced Automated Smurf Detection to adjust the matchmaking ratings (MMR) of smurf accounts and has seen a reduction in matches with smurfs as a result. Additionally, changes to the rules for forming a group of five players (known as a "five-stack") have also contributed to a decrease in smurf activity. These efforts are part of Riot Games' ongoing efforts to address smurfing and ensure a fair and enjoyable experience for all players.
Riot Games said, “Overall, smurf counts are down ~17% compared to earlier in the year, and newly created smurfs are getting to their ‘correct’ MMR 2–3 times faster. More improvements and additions are planned in 2023!” Further, the company looked closely at the reasons why players opt for smurfing. Riot also noted that it is working on different plays to aid players to play with their friends and noted that the Premier mode is a step in that direction.
What has Riot Games done to combat smurfing so far?
Riot Games noted that its Automated Smurf Detection was working well and that it saw similar improvements in the percentage of stomp matches. After running a bunch of experiments in North America and globally, Riot officially launched smurf detection worldwide to all regions in September. In fact, it also attributed the reduction in smurfing to the five-stack changes it introduced. “While there wasn’t a major difference in the rate at which 5-stacks were participating in Competitive, there was a significant shift in the makeup of those 5-stacks. A large number of 5-stacks today are ones that would not have been able to play together before the changes in Patch 3.10,” said Riot. Five-stacking plays an important role since playing with friends is one of the reasons for smurfing.
It also noted that five-stack competitive matches still remained fair and did not produce a downward shift. “Today, over a third of all 5-stack matches end in a 13-10 or closer. 5-stack matches are actually closer in score than any other match in Competitive,” noted Riot.
What’s cooking at Riot Games for the future?
Firstly, Riot Games acknowledged that more improvements and additions to its smurf detection methodology can be done and added that it will ramp up its efforts to detect and act against boosting, account sharing and account purchasing. It is also exploring additional ways for players of varying skill levels to play Valorant competitively together.
Riot hoped that its upcoming Premier mode will be an avenue for players to play socially without feeling the need to create secondary accounts or go smurfing. The Alpha test of Premier mode was announced on 26th October and this will provide a well-planned tournament system for dedicated teams who want to take their skills to the next level.
The company addressed challenge-hungry players and stated that it wanted to build a connection between the game and its esports setup through a highly competitive mode that will enable players to experience Valorant in a similar way that pros and teams do.