As we eagerly await the summer release of the much-heralded new first-person shooter from Riot Games, more and more players are getting to experience the beta version. In pre-release reviews of the game some commentators have described Valorant as being like the “edgy little brother” of Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It’s easy to see why. In both games it’s a straight 5 against 5 shootout with the objective either being to plant a bomb to take out the other team or defend two plant sites with both sides switching between attack and defence. In place of the Kevlar protection that players can use in CS:GO the equivalent in Valorant comes in the form of shields and where the characters in Valve’s game have utilities, these are replaced by abilities.
But where Riot Games have really gone to town is in their determination to include some of the strongest anti-cheat methods ever seen in a game. Of course, for many players getting access to cheats and other hacks adds to the experience. But, in a blog on the official Valorant website, Riot’s anti-cheat lead Paul “Arkem” Chamberlain has set out in no uncertain terms just why they’re going to such extreme measures.
The company’s position, in a nutshell, is that players expect and deserve a level playing field when it comes to a game and that has to come from the integrity of the people have developed it in that way. So when a player aims to win games, or even get Valorant ranked, they can be sure they can achieve this fair and square without being impeded by others who are short-circuiting the rules.
Behind the anti-cheat measures that have been put in place by Riot Games is the Vanguard software that can detect any suspicious activity and remotely close down certain computers’ drivers such as mouse and keyboard controls to prevent the game from being played.
While Chamberlain has admitted that the system isn’t 100% foolproof, he does believe that it will make creating cheats and hacks so expensive and time-consuming that it ceases to be practical or affordable for those hoping to take advantage. He also believes that by severely limiting the number of people who will continue to create cheats it will make the situation far easier to monitor.
That’s not to say that there hasn’t been a certain amount of controversy about the use of Vanguard. This is because it runs on a kernel driver which might also give access to computer systems creating a data protection issue. But Riot Games have denied that any data is harvested and have even offered a reward for anyone who can show vulnerabilities in the system. Their concern about cheats also seems to have been well-founded. Even in the Beta version, they have had to ban nearly 9,000 players already.
We can also be sure that the beta version is not just allowing improvements to the game itself. It’s probably also allowing them to refine the anti-cheat measures too. So yes, Valorant could well be leading the way in the war against cheats.