Riot Games on combating smurfs and VALORANT PBE server | VALORANT NEWS

Riot Games are constantly researching ways to add more features to VALORANT to keep it fresh and exciting to the community. The studio previously revealed the possibility of a left-hand view model, and addressed game-to-game inconsistencies. In the tenth iteration of Ask VALORANT, they share their actions towards combating smurf accounts and give us a date on when to expect a Public Beta Environment (PBE) server for the tactical shooter similar to League of Legends.

Smurf accounts are usually created by highly ranked individuals who just want to play a few ranked games, whether solo or with their squad, without affecting their main account’s standing. It can prove to be an unpleasant experience for low ranked players when they come up against an Immortal, or even Radiant, skilled players. Riot Games acknowledged the issue, but clarified it is not simple to stop it entirely, considering the free-to-play nature of VALORANT.

“Smurfing always sucks, especially when you have rank on the line. While it’s hard to stop smurfing entirely in a free-to-play game, we are taking action to combat it. Right now we have a behind-the-scenes system for Unrated as well as one that applies to Iron through Diamond ranked players. The latter tracks an individual’s performance and notices when a player makes a highly disproportionate impact in a game. We then quickly boost them to harder matches and higher ranks in Competitive.”

“We stop leveraging this system for Immortal+ players because there isn’t a ton of room to smurf or play down when you are already near the top ranks. Longer term, we’re also looking at ways to further accelerate placing smurfs into appropriately skilled matches. But right now we are prioritizing some improvements to our core rank system and leaderboards ahead of that,” said Senior Producer Ian Fielding.

For those of you unfamiliar with the League of Legends’ Public Beta Environment server, or PBE for short. It is what Riot Games use to test out champion reworks, balance changes, and most new features, before making them available on the live server. VALORANT has seen three agent releases since its launch, Reyna, Killjoy, and most recently, Skye, all of which released right away on the live servers.

The PBE server would allow the studio to gauge whether an agent is working as intended or needs balancing prior to launch. Of course, it is not restricted to agents, as we can see new features, weapons, and even maps showcased there.

“Yes! We will be creating a selectively updated pre-release environment, or PBE, some time in the first half of 2021. Specific features/queues will be advertised or limited and patches will be targeted for a certain length of time in advance of going live.”

“For those that are familiar with the League of Legends PBE, this will serve a similar purpose. We hope to expand on what we have learned and provide an early access experience that does not drastically differ from the live version of VALORANT, but still allows for a glimpse into what we are working on. This will also help us to gather more information so we can capture performance changes and expose bugs early that players might run into,” revealed Senior Release Manager Corrie Hardin.

What feature are you most interested to see come to VALORANT in the near future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!