Valorant: Riot Games Is Trying to Prevent Players From Suffering in Icebox
You queue into a game of Valorant after a long day of work or school and end up getting everyone’s favorite map Icebox. Your day gets worse immediately but your ill-fated evening is just getting started. You end up on Icebox three more times and your night is irreversibly ruined. This is not an uncommon scenario and the lack of map selection in Valorant has always felt frustrating. Riot Games is finally addressing the issue of map diversity and the developers do not want you to experience playing the same maps repeatedly.
How Riot Games wants to address map diversity in Valorant
Valorant’s competitive team member Brian Chang revealed in a that Riot Games is aware of how bad it feels to queue into the same map over and over again. The dev team does not want players to have a stale experience and it is working on changes to improve your experience.
When the game initially launched, map selection was completely random. When 10 players entered a match, the matchmaker would randomly choose any of the four available maps. All maps had an identical chance (25%) chance of being chosen, regardless of whether a player had played that map recently.
Riot Games implemented some changes in September 2020 and moved away from the completely random system. It was less likely for someone to get unlucky and experience a repeated map streak, but it was still very much possible to get unlucky. For instance, a game could have a handful of players who recently played games on Split. This could lead to Split having a mere 5% chance of being selected as a map. However, that 5% chance meant that some players would get Split 4, or even 5+ times in a row.
In patch 4.04 Riot Games did a test in the Latin America (LATAM) region and it was eventually rolled out to other regions in the past few weeks. These internal changes reduced map streaks of three or more to less than 0.006%.
After the change was implemented, exactly eight of the several million players saw the same map four times in a row. Two of these players were serial queue dodgers while the other six players were just truly unlucky. If you are one of the six people in the world, Riot Games has apologized and we too are sorry for the experience that you had to go through.
While the new system doesn’t guarantee different maps for every game, it is still a lot better than what we used to have. While map selection would be great, Riot Games does not want to add it outside of competitive play as of now.