Valorant is Deranking Everyone??

Riot claims there is a bug that is deranking people faster than it should.

Many people have been complaining that climbing ranks has been extremely difficult and/or they are losing ranks far faster for losses. Even Ninja has chimed in on twitter stating that he was deranked after only 1 loss against higher ranked players. He even flamed the Riot ranking system in the same tweet, saying it was so toxic.

I have experienced the same difficulties with my rank, having to win 8+ games before seeing a rank up and losing ranks with only 2-3 losses. Although not as extreme as Ninja’s case. Riot released a statement saying there is a bug in the system and that your “hidden” rating will be retained. Winning a game will supposedly restore the correct visible rank… We’ll see how this gets resolved. So maybe you don’t suck as much as you think you do.

Another issue Riot has yet to acknowledge let alone tackle is…smurfing. Smurfing has become a huge issue in Counter Strike and Valorant is very closely following in its path. Even in the lowest rank possible in CSGO, players were still godlike at aiming, so either they were mega smurfs or hacking…a new player in the lowest tier should not be able to headshot and ace the other team every round.

The same is beginning to happen in Valorant as the barrier to entry to ranked is extremely low. You only need 20 games on a brand new account to begin ranking again. Anyone could pump out a new smurf everyday if they wanted to. If you observe the high ranked streamers, you can see them all playing on multiple accounts. I’ve even seen people log into new accounts mid stream going from immortal to gold. I’m sure many have noticed that one gold game is a pub stomp, then suddenly the next gold game is a blowout loss. Ever seen a random silver player wipe a gold/plat game?

Hopefully Riot acknowledges this and provides some kind of balancing to combat smurfs. Although, it would be to their benefit to have players keep making new accounts and padding their player count.

Legends of Runeterra Review

Does the world need another fantasy-based card game?

Card games are a genre that has transitioned into the digital era with grace but also with a lot of legacy features that some of us don’t really find appealing.

Sure, you can justify that the business models that underpin games like Hearthstone by pointing out all of the free content you get but it still makes it a bit annoying to have to shell out cash each and every time you want to upgrade your deck.

At least with a physical game you have cards to hold. In the virtual world, you have nothing other than a printout of your receipt (if you want that).

One game that is charming enough to make us forget the DLC tax that holds it all together is Legends of Runeterra, a fun deck game based on the League of Legends IP.

You don’t need to be familiar with that game, but it might help make everything click with you that much more. One thing that we had a hard time wrapping our head around is the “why” behind this game. Does the world need another fantasy-based card game?

The jury is still out on that and it is a shame that almost any contender in this genre is compared with the aforementioned Blizzard property or the real OG, Magic the Gathering.

It might strike you as a copy of something superior at first glance, but what we have on offer here is innovative enough to warrant a second look.

For one thing, the action of the game moves much faster than either of the other games we mentioned. There is some tie in with the League of Legends lore but it won’t impact the game nor how you play it.

Again, we enjoyed how it assumed we knew nothing about one of the world’s biggest multiplayer games and that helped acclimate and establish the game as its own thing.

Another thing that we appreciated is that the game somewhat holds your hand or even helps guide your strategy.

A gameplay feature called the “Oracle’s Eye” will show you the impact of your moves down the road and this gives you loads of insight into how the mechanics of everything works. It’s pretty invaluable, especially if you’re not familiar with this kind of card game.

Graphics are serviceable if somewhat bright and generic from some perspectives. Overall, Legends of Runeterra delivers where it matters but there is one nagging issue.

The purchase of new cards is just a frustrating feature for a video game. We get it: If you’re used to this kind of thing, that mechanic probably isn’t a big deal. And for gamers raised in mobile ecosystems, the occasional purchase is justified. But when you’re trying to fall in love with a game and decide whether or not you want to put more of your time into it, the last thing you want to think about is a potential tax on your fun.

Because let’s face it, you’re going to have to upgrade your deck eventually. That’s just the way these games are. If you can stomach that, then Legends of Runeterra offers just enough of a change in the core game play that we think it merits a look.

One Week of Valorant Ranked

Valorant ranked competitive mode has been out for about a week now, giving me some time to evaluate the new mode, here are my thoughts.

Ranking System

The ranking system is similar to league of legends, in order from worst to best, Iron – Bronze – Silver – Gold – Platinum – Diamond – Immortal – Valorant. Each tier has 3 sub-levels, i.e. Gold 1, Gold 2, Gold 3. Now here is where the curve ball comes in – In league of legends, Gold 4 is considered worst, while Gold 1 is highest of the tier; In Valorant however, Gold 1 would be the lowest and Gold 3 is the highest. I’m not sure what the purpose of this was, but it did cause some confusion for a good while, I would think they would just be consistent about it across their own games within Riot, but the only reasoning I could conjure up was that, in counter strike it went from 1 to 4 (highest) as well, and its safe to assume that CS players are going to make up a solid chunk of Valorant players. The only requirement to start playing ranked is to have 20 games played, no level requirement or anything else (thankfully). This seems pretty reasonable compared to LoL, where you had to play a ludicrous amount of games to reach level 30, although at the same time, this could lead to a smurfing problem when the game is fully released.

Gameplay

So how did my first week of ranked go? Not bad. Even in closed beta, there are enough people playing for matchmaking to be decently fair in most games. Individual performance is definitely factored into the rankings, as one person in my party climbed the ranks higher than the rest of us by scoring MVP many games. This did however, introduce another problem, even though we all started at the same time and played many games together, if you are 6 ranks below someone, you can no longer queue up with them. This is total nonsense, considering we ALL won those games as a team, but suddenly we can no longer queue with our friend anymore, because he became 6 ranks higher. The Valorant algorithm doesn’t seem to care for anything aside from kills. Scouting enemies, planting or defusing, healing , resurrection, walls, etc. All of these things can turn games around and create wins for your team, but if you’re not getting maximum kills, then your rank will suffer. This leave no incentive for people to pick up the bomb ever, or play heroes like Sage that are a huge boost to the team, but might not have an offensive toolkit. This also promotes smurfing, as people naturally will still want to play with their friends, but have no choice but to create a new account and purposely tank the MMR, and then proceed into ranked to ruin Iron player’s dreams. Streamers have also pointed out that even though you can’t queue with your lower ranked friends, Matchmaking will still put you into a game with people of those ranks considered “too low” sometimes, which makes even less sense. There is also no definitive separation of solo vs 5 stacks, so an entire team of solos can sometimes end up playing against a 5 stack; summit1g made a comment about this unfairness as well. I would love to see a solo queue mode as well.

Anticheat Issues

Valorant has still been facing a handful of issues. Aside from regular game bugs, there was quite a big issue with their Vanguard Anti cheat system this week. Many users (including myself) have been reporting the Anti cheat has been blocking various things from drivers for PC components, to cooling software being blocked. Yes, you read that right, COOLING SOFTWARE was being shut off, one redditor has his GPU almost fry and start burning plastic, because Riot shut off their cooling software. I was luckier in that it was shutting of drivers for my RAM, causing RGB function to cease, but I haven’t seen any other symptoms. One of my friends stopped being able to launch the game completely for a couple days due to more Vanguard issues. Riot released a hot fix on 5/8/20, hopefully that resolves any major issues for most players.

All in all, its a good start of beta ranked. Get out there and enjoy!
If you still don’t have access to the game, read below.

If you haven’t gotten into the Valorant closed beta, here’s how:

  1. Create a riot account if you don’t already have one
  2. Create a Twitch account
  3. Link your riot to your twitch account here
  4. Watch any drop enabled streamer on twitch playing Valorant here

Riot has stated that watching multiple streams does not increase your chances. We recommend that you leave one stream running all day, you can also lower the resolution in the video player to reduce the network usage.