Valorant ranked system is something Riot Games is still carefully evaluating and changing regularly in order to strike the perfect balance of competitive integrity and fun for everyone.
One of the main complains during the competitive Act II season was a huge skill gap between some players queuing together with their friends.
Unlike many other games, Valorant started by allowing players within six ranks of each other to queue together.
The competitive community was very vocal about this, they didn't like this unusually big rank difference, and so Riot has decided to change it, by tightening competitive matchmaking to reduce skill disparity in Valorant update v 1.10.
(Picture: Riot Games)
Valorant is now allowing only players up to three ranks difference to queue together, which should result in matches of much better quality, with players of skills as equal as possible.
While this is generally a good change and the community is satisfied with its implementation, it, unfortunately, created another, completely different problem in ranked play - an abundance of smurf accounts.
Players are rightfully angry over this and many of them are sharing their dissatisfaction on Reddit. One such post yesterday amassed almost 7k upvotes, which speak volumes what players think of it.
This prompted developers to come and reassure players that with the next update, they will make things harder for people who want to smurf.
With the next patch, the rank queue requirement will be changed and instead of 10 games, it will require 10 wins.
This was confirmed by a Riot developer on the game's subreddit. Smurfs are usually throwing matches because they just want to play with their friends as soon as possible, and with this change, they will need to win 10 games, which will not only disincentivize match throwing but will also put them much closer to their actual skill rank.
(Picture: Riot Games)
Many players are completely open about smurfing, and saying that they are only doing it so that they can play with their friends.
"I know, I shouldn't smurf. Well, either that or I and my friends are leaving the game," explains Reddit user AbbreviationsLess434. "I want to play with them, but they can't rank up as fast as me. It wasn't an issue last season but now I constantly have to lose on purpose to be able to play with them."
And while this is fun for smurfs and their friends, it completely ruins the experience for low-ranked players who play against smurfs. Not just that they are stomping other low-rank teams, but smurfs are also losing games on purpose when not playing with friends in order to keep their rank low enough so that they can still play with their low-level friends.
While not a perfect solution, developers are hoping that this change will at least help reduce the number of smurf accounts.