3rd February 2021 – 5:54pm
On Riot Games' side, the biggest project of the second episode of Valorant is undoubtedly the revision of the competitive mode. The latter suffered a great deal of criticism throughout 2020. While action has already been taken at the start of 2021, Riot has planned other adjustments to come for ranked games.
Until now, the rewards obtained at the end of an Act have depended on your top 9 triangles on your Act Rank Badge. From Patch 2.03, only the best triangle will be taken into account. Even if you only play a Platinum game before going back to Gold, you will still get Platinum rewards. You will still have to win 9 ranked games to be eligible for the rewards.
Riot Games wants to reward players who have reached a milestone, rather than creating frustration. This system has made more sense since the changes made to MMR in Patch 2.02. In the old system, the rank change was too fast (and random) for a single game to be significant enough to determine the rewards. Since the revision of MMR and RR points, a player's current rank is much more representative, so one can trust only one victory.
The most criticised point about ranked games was the lack of consequence for players leaving a game. Riot Games already has processes in place to differentiate between regular and volunteer AFKs, but have yet to determine what to do with this information.
After Patch 2.03, AFK players will suffer RR losses, which may be greater than the maximum losses in the event of a game being played. This is a first step that should be accompanied by others, which the developers have not yet detailed.
In his article on the fight against cheaters, Riot Games said they were working on a way to compensate victims for RR losses. One can perhaps imagine a similar system in the case of AFK. Perhaps reduce RR losses for players who continue to play the game. On the other hand, such a system should be well balanced, so that it doesn't become a strategy where a player sacrifices themself so that their allies lose less RR.
It was especially disheartening to find that your rank and MMR were reset to zero upon the launch of each Act. It felt like playing "for nothing" and having to work harder every two months. Plus, it created chaos early in the Act, as the better players mixed with the less good. Uneven games are of no interest to anyone.
Fortunately, this will no longer be the case at Act 2 launch. Even if the ranks will still decline from one act to another, the loss should be less consistent. Each player would lose a similar percentage of RR, which will decrease the ranks, but not the ranking hierarchy.
There will still be two exceptions to this. Radiant players will suffer a larger RR loss. Radiant rank must be earned, after all. Also, a clear reset will still be made at the start of each episode. Since each episode should be synonymous with a new map and major game changes, player ranks from episode to another are not comparable.
Even if Valorant is above all a game, its competitive dimension prompts some to take games too seriously. This unfortunately tends to lead to toxic behaviour and harassment of other players. Many players have reported being pressured when they were the lowest rank on their team. They then became easy scapegoats for haughty (and probably mediocre) players in case of mistakes or losses.
To protect players who don't want to have to suffer the toxicity of their comrades during a game, it will be possible to hide their rank. It will then be impossible to know the player's rank during the selection of Agents and during the game.
Even if Riot Games has toughened the rules of groups in Diamond, Immortal and Radiant, the developers still want to relax them for the bottom of the ranking. According to their internal data, it should be possible to allow higher rank differences between two players, without significantly impacting matchmaking.
At this time, we don't have the details of this easing.