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Riot Games tackles the smurfing problem in Valorant

The lower-ranked players will have to wait for a little for a sensible solution.
Jon Walker and Sara Dadafshar, competitive designer and producer for Valorant respectively, say that they don’t have an effective way to battle smurfs in the game, who are becoming more and more common in the lower ranks. The topic has been discussed in today’s Ask Valorant.

Riot Games tries to answer several important questions, significant to battling the problem that smurfs are. Those questions are:

  • How do we identify smurf in our systems, and how often are players running into them?
  • Why do players smurf?
  • Is there a need, that isn’t being met, that is forcing players to smurf?
  • What changes do we need to make in order to combat smurfing?

Unfortunately for the players, there is no quick fix for this issue as of now.

"For those that encounter smurfs, we know it's tough to stomach that there's no immediate solution today, but we have to make sure that we are approaching this complex space in the right way," we can read in the post.

Smurfs have been one of the major problems in esports titles for years, especially those coming from the banner of Riot Games. In games such as League of Legends or Valorant players in the lower ranks meet those significantly better than them.

valorant smurfs
(Picture: Riot Games)
Why are people smurfing? There are a couple of main reasons. Some higher-ranked players want to avoid long queue times, others just want to enjoy the game with their friends, who are lower on the ladder. Naturally, there are some who are just trying to ruin the game for others, but it’s tough to evaluate how big a part of a smurfing group they are.
Nevertheless, Riot assures that solving this issue and making the game fair for everyone remains one of its main goals.

"We want to emphasize that this is one of the competitive team's primary focuses at the moment," the developers say. "Although we are in the investigation phase, and it will take us some time to act on our findings, know that we are listening and agree that this is a problem worthy of heavy resources."

At the end of Ask Valorant we are also quickly updated on the replay system. Brandon Wang, Software Engineer for the game says that early discussions with multiple internal teams are ongoing, and for now he can’t share any more pieces of information.