Valorant's anti-cheat system doesn't exactly have the best reputation, not necessarily for the number of cheaters it does or doesn't catch, but more for the perceived intrusiveness of the software. An issue that forced Riot to give players more control over a program that is essentially always running on your computer.
However, since the initial furore over Vanguard things have calmed down, with most people happy to take on the "risks" of having the software installed, to play what is a very good game.
(Picture: Riot Games)
Cheating also doesn't feel like a huge problem, in a general sense that is, in social media and the Valorant subreddit you don't get the impression that players are regularly running into cheaters - certainly not in the way you might experience if you were a fan of say, Call of Duty: Warzone.
In fact, Valorant's anti-cheat has been so successful that Twitter user Anti-Cheat Police Department, a prominent member of the anti-cheat community keeping track of bans and known cheats across many games, revealed that cheat developers for Valorant had given up, with their efforts frustrated by Vanguard.
Vanguard yet again proves to be the best anti-cheat, cheaters are struggling and getting desperate the @RiotVanguard team are the best they have not been able to get their cheats up for 3 weeks and still going strong 💪💪💪💪💪 #fuckthemcheaters pic.twitter.com/cLYb8Rlf0X— Anti-Cheat Police Department 🕵️ (@AntiCheatPD) July 30, 2020
Perhaps prompted by the lack of chat about cheaters in Valorant one player asked Riot directly just how many cheaters have been banned from the game, and Riot took the time to answer as part of their bi-weekly Q and A.
While they couldn't give exact figures for the number of cheaters banned automatically by Vanguard, Paul “Arkem” Chamberlain, the anti-cheat lead gave a very exact figure for the number of cheaters banned manually - 1802.
The most recent automatic ban wave appears to have been on 4th July, when over 3400 hardware bans were handed down.
(Picture: Riot Games)
Many of the manual bans were by Arkem himself, with the anti-cheat guru joking:
"I like to start my day with coffee and a list of suspicious players sorted by most reported. I start drinking my coffee and go through the list manually reviewing accounts until I've had enough.
Coffee, not reviewing."
Sticking to the coffee chat Arkem added, "And I really like coffee, which is probably why I am currently top of the team leaderboard for most accounts reviewed."
Arkem also revealed the benefits of going through and reviewing suspicious accounts and, if need be, manually banning those players(and their computers):
"This helps us find previously unknown cheats and also lets us evaluate Vanguard's performance. It also gives us an opportunity to manually accelerate the ban for the most disruptive players."
Arkem also let us in on the fact that he himself has banned the most cheaters, however that might change in the near future as Riot has recently "expanded the pool of people investigating".
So from a troubled start, Vanguard and the team behind it certainly seem to be on the right path, here is hoping that the chatter around cheaters sticks to semi-regular updates on the number of bans handed down and how much coffee Arkem needs.