Riot has announced new changes to Valorant for Patch 5.01. It confirms changes for Phoenix, Yoru, and KAY/O that we discussed here ( link to other blog post: https://www.vgmhmission.org/post/valorant-patch-5-01-get-your-sunglasses-ready )
But it also talked about a very anticipated change! Valorant will now have a system to detect smurfs and match up new players to each other. So what does this mean for the game?
Well hopefully it’s good news! New players playing in solo queue would get matched against Diamond players or higher regularly which is discouraging when you are trying to learn.
League of Legends, another game under Riot’s mantle, also has a similar system which has mixed reviews. Some players believe it is very effective while others don’t think so. Some players noted that they get matched against smurfs regularly as ranked players which one could argue means the system is working. My hope is that new players queue actually segregates to ease them into a game that is already challenging to learn.
The other concern is that smurfing players could just lose their first ten games to trick the MMR system into thinking they are new. In my experience, the matching system in Valorant is fairly responsive. After games where my team stomps the enemies, it always seems like the next game is against players with a higher level of skills comparatively. I usually play in five stacks so this might be anecdotal as the matching system tries to match us against other full teams. That means that there’s a smaller pool of players that we could get matched against generally.
A couple of my friends are currently learning the game and they have been doing amazing. I do think that their experience might be highly different from new players who are on their own. However, it still can be brutal for them when they get matched against people who are simply not new. When you get completely outskilled, it is hard to know exactly what went wrong and learn from the situation.
Time will tell how good the smurf detection system ends up being but regardless, I am glad that Riot is taking steps to recognize that issue and hopefully, it improves matchups to make games even more fun!