Valorant Devs Address Smurfing Problem
Smurfing is a pretty serious problem in Valorant, and it can be for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s players just playing with friends, players who are bored. But it can also be people who just want to boost friends or other unwholesome reasons. So Valorant’s devs are looking into the smurfing problem, and it’s going to take some time to find a real solution. The most important thing maybe for the devs to figure out why the smurfing is happening. Someone who just wants to have fun with friends is different from someone getting paid to boost accounts. So what’s the play?
There Is “No Actionable Plan” In General:
This is a really interesting take Riot Games has done here. They want to first address the people who are smurfing for reasons that are benign. Perhaps they’re bored, or their friends have a lower skill level/are new to Valorant. This leads players to smurfing, exacerbating the smurfing problem in the game, even if it’s unintentional. Jon Walker (Competitive Designer) and Sara Dadafshar (Producer) pointed out in an Ask Valorant Blog that:
“A big chunk of smurfs do so with no malicious intent.”
In order to solve this problem, they have to address that before worrying about the people intentionally negatively harming the game. It’s not all about punishment though. Though there is no “Actionable Plan” right now to solve the smurfing problem in Valorant, it is being discussed. The blog had this to say:
“Combating smurfing is not only about punishment, it’s also about making VALORANT more accessible so those without bad intentions no longer feel the need to smurf. Once we are at a point where we feel comfortable with the solution we have in place and feel like we have mitigated these reasons, that’s when we will be able to put a foot down on the remaining folks—potentially booting them from our game.”
Valorant’s devs are looking at a few questions as to this problem. They have to identify the smurfs in their system, and then ask “Why” people are smurfing. Valorant then has to look at if there’s a need that isn’t being met. Are these players bored for some reason? Something that isn’t enjoyable to those players anymore. Then they want to consider what they can do to combat the smurfing of these players. We’re glad this approach is being made though. It’s less “we have to immediately punish these people, all smurfs are bad.”
It could still come down to punishing players though, that’s for sure. Riot points out that once they are comfortable with a solution, then they can look at the remaining players. The ones that are boosting, smurfing, and in general making the competitive lower-tiers much harder to get into. It may wind up being serious punishments too, but that remains to be seen. It’s nice to see Riot Games taking such a serious approach on smurfing in Valorant. Perhaps they can do the same thing in League of Legends at some point.