Just yesterday we saw Spencer "Hiko" Martin from 100 Thieves' Valorant team call the game's ranked system trash. Today Valorant got a surprise competitive update that brought some changes. Coincidence?
If you've been following Valorant from the start or even recently you'll often hear other players complain about the game's ranked system. Cheaters, smurfs and boosters are some of the main problems that plague the community, much like any other multiplayer title. Yesterday, Spencer "Hiko" Martin expressed his dissatisfaction with Valorant's ranked system by calling it trash and then explaining to his viewers what's wrong with it. Today Riot released a surprise competitive update.
What Did the Surprise Competitive Update Change?
We just got a Valorant patch a few days back and another one wasn't expected for at least a week. Little did we know that Riot had a surprise update for the game's matchmaking system that'll tighten the skill level between players.
Surprise Competitive update! We just rolled out some tweaks to Ranked queue that should tighten matchmaking skill. Fair warning that you may see a slight increase to queue times.— VALORANT (@PlayVALORANT) May 14, 2021
According to Riot, you might experience longer queue times, but that should be totally fine with most players as long as the competitive experience is more enjoyable. This update is just too much of a coincidence after the last statement from Hiko. A Valorant analyst joined in on the discussion on Reddit and gave the company's take on the matchmaking system.
RiotSouthKorea mentioned two things, queue times and smurfing/boosting:
Queue times are also one of the metrics that we constantly track to make sure the game is in a healthy state; it seems like we've currently indexed too much into lowering queue times, and have some room to increase it to better match quality. We'll continue to monitor what our telemetry looks like post-change, in addition to tracking community sentiment around these changes.
Smurfing is a complex issue, and it'll take some time before Riot can address it properly.
A point that I think Hiko (and others) make is that match quality/one-sidedness is heavily affected by the presence of smurfs and/or boosted accounts in the game. And that's true - in both cases, the underlying issue is that players are in a rank/MMR that doesn't truly represent their skill (yet). Across several games, this will sort itself out (smurfs will go up, boosted accounts will go down), but the players that get these "misplaced" accounts in their games during this adjustment process might have a shitty time.
Whether the latest Valorant update will truly improve the overall competitive experience, especially in the higher ranks, remains to be seen. What's your take on the matter? How should Riot Games deal with smurfing and boosters in Valorant? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter!
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