Smurfing in Valorant

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Riot Games Issues Fresh Ban Wave Against Smurfs in Valorant

Abhimannu Das
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Highlights
Riot Games is trying to crack down on smurfs with a fresh ban wave in Valorant. The wave of bans should lead to an improvement in competitive integrity.
The developers are working on additional solutions for patch 3.10 which should address boosting and smurfing.
Despite Riot's efforts, smurfing may never be addressed for good as players continuously find ways to beat the system.

Smurfing in Valorant can land you in trouble because Riot Games has initiated ban waves to keep the competitive queue fair for all players. Smurfing has been a problem in Valorant for a very long time with players creating alternate accounts just to play against lower-leveled opponents. While it can be considered okay if players smurf to queue up with lower-ranked friends, it makes the competitive experience unfair. Frequent ban waves may curb smurfing in the game and deter players from making multiple accounts to play Valorant.

Additional changes are coming to Valorant’s ranked system to address smurfing

A lot of smurfs typically create accounts to boost one or more players in a stack. Starting with patch 3.10, five stacking is back for anyone of any rank but with the tradeoff of earning less ranked rating. Four-stacking will not be allowed in the competitive queue as it leaves solo players at the mercy of such stacks.

There will be additional changes implemented, in the next patch, with the intention of preserving both Matchmaking and Leaderboard integrity. Players will find out more once patch 3.10 goes live on 16th November 2021.

Will the smurfing problem in Valorant ever be solved?

Despite the ban wave against smurfs in Valorant, the game’s smurfing problem may never be solved as players manage to outsmart the MMR (Matchmaking Rating) system very consistently. Valorant’s Senior Competitive Designer Jon ‘EvrMoar’ Walker said on Reddit last month that the MMR system is split between your "Encounter" MMR and your "Win/Loss" MMR. Then, depending on your rank Riot combines a percentage of each type of MMR to create your account-specific MMR that determines how much ranked rating you gain or lose after every game.

In lower ranks an encounter is weighted extremely heavily, and if you are a smurf the system can detect it within 10 games in some cases. He said that the issue “is that players will manipulate their matches to stay smurfing. Players will either play their 10 games and the account will get adjusted, or they will start to purposefully tank their games or not play at their skill level to try and stay at lower ranks.”

Despite Riot Games’ efforts he feels that “realistically nothing will solve smurfing. It will be a constant game of cat and mouse and we will have to adjust our systems all the time to try and reduce the reasons/ability to smurf.” While Riot Games continues to demotivate players from smurfing in Valorant, it does not look like a permanent solution is in sight just yet.

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Abhimannu is a part of the content team at AFK Gaming and a lifelong obsessive gamer. He currently covers esports titles like VALORANT, CS: GO, Call of Duty, Fortnite, PUBG and more.