VALORANT: Smurf Detection System Update

BY JOHN

John

Writer and Storywriter

PUBLISHED 1 MONTH AGO

Getting rid of smurfs in any game is no easy task. Fortunately, the situation has improved significantly in recent months for VALORANT.

VALORANT: Smurf Detection System Update

Smurfs are the last thing you want to see in your competitive games in VALORANT. Those pesky alt-account spammers are like plagues that bring love sets, frustration, and de-ranks to innocent players in the lower elo.

While most Smurf accounts are made to refuel tanks running low on ego juice, some just want to be able to play with friends who are just getting started in the game, and we’ve probably done the latter at one point in our VALORANT careers.

That said, the never-ending battle against Smurfing rages on, and the VALORANT devs have worked extra hard this year to help make the game less smurf-friendly (Smarter elo detection systems, Agent nerfs, Ranked Eligibility, 5-stack changes, etc.) With the help of VALORANT’s Automatic Smurf Detection, Riot has turned the tides in their favor.

What is Automated Smurf Detection in VALORANT?

Back in Patch 5.01, the VALORANT devs tested out the experimental Automatic Smurf Detection system in the North American region. Their goal was simple: Detect smurf accounts by looking at a sample group’s recently won stomp matches, then bump up half of the detected smurf samples to a higher MMR, while the other half is left alone.

The result? Half of the detected smurfs that were adjusted to a higher MMR have reduced stomp rates (within 1% of normal non-smurf stomp occurrences in VALORANT) while the other half of the sample went on to stomp poor low-level players in 25% of their matches.

The experiment proved to be a success and gave the devs the tools they need to effectively identify smurfs in-game. All that was left was to bump up the smurf account ranks to match the player’s primary account as quickly as possible. Thanks to VALORANT’s improved elo detection systems, the devs could place Smurf accounts back to the player’s appropriate ranks in just four ranked matches.

13-10 beats 9-3 any day

Rank restrictions for 5-stack queues were removed back in Patch 3.10. This was done to forgo the need to switch to a lower or higher-ranked account to play with four other friends in Ranked mode. To protect player RR and Rank, the devs slapped RR reward reductions of up to 90% depending on the skill disparity between all players in the Party and by not allowing Parties of less than five players to queue if their ranks are too far from one another.

Many players questioned this change for fear of reduced match fairness, but after some digging, the devs found out that the ranked-queue changes actually improved the competitiveness of 5-stack queue Ranked games. By how much? According to the devs, up to 30% of all 5-stack matches ended with scores such as 13-10 or closer, which is higher than any other Rank match in competitive (solo-queue, 2-stack, 3-stack)

13-10 games are indeed pretty close, and if these instances happen in one of every 3 games played in ranked, then you can expect fairer matches that rely heavily on teamwork to win.

When will Automated Smurf Detection go live globally?

Automated Smurf Detection rolled out earlier this year for the North American Region, but only recently went live globally. As of 12/23/2022, Automated Smurf Detection is live and working in the current version of the VALORANT game client.

Of course, don’t expect zero smurfs in-game just yet. While the devs managed to bring down smurf accounts by 17% since early this year, the system still needs more time to detect and bring detected Smurf accounts up to their appropriate ranks. With some help from the much-improved 5-stack restrictions, VALORANT will slowly but surely be Smurf-free in the next few months.

Did Automated Smurf Detection fix the smurfing issue in VALORANT?

It’s too early to jump to conclusions, but with the increased ranked eligibility requirements and 5-stack restrictions, Smurfs are going to have a hard time justifying the time and effort they need to invest to make a new account Ranked-eligible.

VALORANT’s Automated Smurf Detection System already proved it was capable of detecting Smurfs, so expect Smurf accounts to get bumped very quickly to their appropriate Ranks in as little as four Ranked games, completely disincentivizing the point of creating a Smurf account in the first place.

Fairplay

Smurfs have spoiled countless games for many players who are just getting into the game, handing many beginners their first awful taste of defeat against a seemingly omnipotent foe. These experiences can be so bad that players probably quit not too long after encountering their first Smurf in-game, not good for bolstering VALORANT’s player count.

The devs have gone to great lengths to ensure that VALORANT stays as competitive as possible for all players across all ranks in the game. With some help from the Automated Smurf Detection System, Smurfs will slowly but surely become a thing of the past.

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