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Valorant developer states smurfs are rarer than players think, explains absence of two-factor authentication

Valorant developer EvrMoar explained the way Riot Games treat smurfing and revealed some existing methods of how they fight this issue. In a lengthy comment on Reddit, he shed some light on why they do not apply two-factor authentication.

While two-factor can reduce smurfs, it's not a silver bullet, this is especially true for smurfs that are willing to spend money to smurf. <...>

These numbers are made up, but let's say 1 in 10 games a player encounters a smurf between Iron to Silver and decreases as you climb ranks. Let's say, after researching, we find out that two-factor authentication would probably reduce that to 1 in 15 games for these players, reducing smurfs by 50%. We would be reducing smurfs from 1% to 0.5% of concurrent users.

In return, we also research and find out that lower ranked players are less likely to have money, less likely to own their own cell phone, or happen to use a local PC Bang in order to play Valorant. By enabling two-factor we figure that 3% of players would no longer be able to access ranked nor have the money to solve their access to ranked. We have to decide if that is worth the cost, when it won't stop a smurf who is willing to pay the money to get around the system.

EvrMoar, Riot Games developer
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EvrMoar enlisted some measures that Riot takes to combat smurfing. Aside from already known, he also mentioned that there's some new method, which is currently being tested in NA.

Every decision we've made for ranked has always had the question "will this reduce smurfing" or "how can we change this to reduce smurfing" during the design phase. We've done things to make it easier for friends to group up together by reducing grouping restrictions or creating the 5 stack rule. We've improved our detection and MMR system to quickly move smurf accounts to their correct MMR, and are testing a new method right now in NA.

We've made it harder to get into ranked, helping new players learn more about VALORANT and the maps before diving into the deep end, while also making it harder to make an alt-account just to smurf.

EvrMoar, Riot Games developer
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He also stated that Riot cannot explain their methods in detail, because it will allow smurfs to find loopholes. Their current approach is moving new accounts to a proper skill group as fast as they can. EvrMoar said some smurfs confirmed that Riot's system is working at some level.

A lot of it is also we don't want to be completely transparent with how we are tackling smurfing. We don't want smurfs to know how we have changed our MMR detection, how we are getting better at tracking them, and how they may be able to get around our systems. We do let the community know when we've made changes to tackle smurfs, but we don't exactly say what those are. In a perfect world it takes a long time to get an account rank ready (which it does now), then if you go into rank and start "playing like a smurf" your MMR gets fixed very quickly. In fact, if you talk to smurfs (which we have), they are very aware that we do move their MMR very quickly when they start to play like a smurf.

EvrMoar, Riot Games developer
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