Valorant - Smurfing

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Valorant Dev Claims 2FA is Not Effective at Reducing Smurfing Issues

Abhimannu Das
Updated On: 
Highlights
Riot Games’ senior competitive designer Jon “EvrMoar” Walker said that introducing two-factor authentication might not solve Valorant's smurfing problem.
Evrmoar talked about how Riot Games is testing new ways to tackle the problem of smurfing.
A new smurf detection system went live in North America last month and it might make its way to other servers very soon.

A lot of players have complained about smurfing issues in Valorant and many have asked for the introduction of two-factor authentication (2FA) to help curb the problem. ‘Smurfing’ takes place when a player of a certain rank makes a fresh account to play in lower ranks that they would not be able to queue into normally (without intentionally deranking).

When a Radiant player queues into Silver or Bronze games for example, the experience is completely ruined for players who genuinely belong in that rank. It is a major problem that players new to the game face as their early game experience in Valorant involves facing veterans who run over entire lobbies.

Why 2FA will not help reduce smurfs in Valorant

Riot Games’ senior competitive designer Jon “EvrMoar” Walker revealed in a Reddit thread, that two factor is a double-edged sword. When talking about smurfs, they are usually higher engaged players that are familiar with VALORANT(which makes sense, they are good enough to smurf and make an impact).

While two-factor can reduce smurfs, it's not a silver bullet, this is especially true for smurfs that are willing to spend money to smurf; which usually higher engaged players are willing to spend money so they fall into a group more likely to. It becomes a numbers game of what is acceptable and how much of an impact are players facing when encountering a smurf.

Players who smurf “casually” just to play with their friends who may be at a lower rank, will probably be affected if 2FA changes are implemented. It will also probably affect players who simply want to maintain multiple accounts. But it cannot be denied that a lot of players who smurf do so to boost others, and in a lot of cases, they do it for money.

Getting a burner phone or a digital phone number to bypass two-factor is not a problem at all for players who really want to smurf. Evrmoar added context to his statements saying, “I think a lot of it is also we don't want to be completely transparent with how we are tackling smurfing. We don't want smurfs to know how we have changed our MMR detection, how we are getting better at tracking them, and how they may be able to get around our systems.”

Riot Games started testing new smurf detection systems in North America that are looking very promising and they are a part of several new solutions that Riot Games has been working on and are likely to be implemented in the future.

While a lot of players may be upset with Evrmoar’s response, the developers will have a better understanding of how to tackle the game’s problems in a lot of cases and they should be patient until solutions against smurfing are presented. Just like cheating, players often find a way to fool the system and continue to smurf and it is a problem in a majority of free-to-play games like Valorant, Apex Legends and more.


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Abhimannu is a PC esports writer at AFK Gaming. With over seven years of experience in esports journalism, he has worked on a myriad of games and their ecosystems including Valorant, Overwatch and Apex Legends.


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