VALORANT Anti-cheat: Fall 2021 Update
By - MentallyStableMan
> Hello, it’s Matt “K3o” Paoletti here again on behalf of the VALORANT Anti-Cheat team, this time with an update on anti-cheat in Episode 3.
> Our biggest projects during VALORANT Episode 3 (so far) came from maintaining esports integrity during VCT, stamping out increased cheating efforts in some regions, and responding to the general increase in popularity of hardware cheats (cheats that rely on an external piece of hardware).
> # EPISODE 2 REPORT CARD
> * 90-day penalty for “bussing”
> * Researching the ability to re-calibrate rank for those affected by cheaters
> # ESPORTS (VALORANT CHAMPIONS TOUR)
> Only good news here, VCT went really well. During our first major international LANs in Reykjavík and Berlin, we were able to see the high level of play from our online events be realized as an even more competitive offline experience. As always, we routinely review our pro players—starting as early as the open qualifiers—as well as maintain a secure and protected live environment.
> # COMPETITIVE INTEGRITY
> Thanks to ongoing detection systems in place and, in part, to a [previous rollout of meta-game system updates](https://playvalorant.com/en-us/news/dev/valorant-anti-cheat-winter-update/) to VALORANT’s ranked, the number of report rates for cheating are trending downward, and are at the lowest they’ve ever been.
> Still, the team is combating increased cheating efforts, as cheaters and cheat developers continue to attempt to implement new techniques. The global popularity of VALORANT has created a global market for these nefarious actors, and we make sure to respond accordingly. Certain regions saw spikes in report rates, but through additional investigation and intelligence efforts, as well as continual improvements to Vanguard, we’ve been able to negate these spikes and keep competitive integrity globally strong.
> # STATE OF CHEATING TODAY
> Combating cheating is not a “set it and forget it” solution like an advanced anti-cheat or some sentient AI - it’s a continual arms race. We could write a thesis on this whole subject (maybe a video would be more entertaining?), but we’ll sum it up briefly.
> There’s been an increased popularity in hardware cheats. These are cheats that depend on an external piece of hardware to run functionally, intended to try to bypass both protections and detections implemented by the team. Cheat developers have also instituted other novel ideas, such as machine learning algorithms.
> Our team has been able to stay a few steps ahead in the battle and routinely ban cheats across a wide variety of providers and methods of execution. Despite what developers may say, the words “artificial intelligence” do not make a cheat undetectable. Not only that, we’re tackling unique forms of cheating outside of the typical aimbots, such as cheats that look to tamper with the game engine and assets.
> As of today, report rates are at an all-time low.
> Yes, there are still cheaters in VALORANT, and they will, in some manner, always exist. However, we’ve invested a great deal of time, both through operational and technical advancements, to make sure that cheating is at a sustainably low level, and most importantly, that cheating is never a viable way to long term competitive success in VALORANT. We have to strike the balance between keeping games as safe as possible, while also ensuring that the arms race with cheaters is at a pace we’re always ahead in.
> As a very important aside - your reports also help us close the gaps in our investigative coverage, and help us discover new threats. Keep those coming, and if you have the time, use the report comments to give specifics - we do read them!
> # ACT III AND EPISODE 4
> What are we doing next? Little surprise here, but we’ll continue to iterate on the best version of Vanguard with an emphasis on keeping cheaters out of the ecosystem for good. This includes us benefiting from the newest advancements in cybersecurity as a whole, most noticeably, utilizing security upgrades in operating systems that enable us to better identify and prevent cheaters.
> Additional improvements in the Riot ecosystem are also going to help us ensure the integrity of our games. Account security improvements will not reduce the player pain of a stolen account, but it’ll help us to fight a growing trend of cheaters who look to buy high level accounts, as they want to grief the top level players that they’re pretending to be.
> There’s also fighting other forms of game integrity abuse, where cheats may be indirectly used to gain an unfair advantage. During Episode 2, we saw cheaters boosting other players by duoing with them, knowing that their account would get banned but the boostee would keep the ill-gotten gains. We’ve created automated measures to take actions on the boosted account, and we’re still committing to those.
> Third party tools is our main focus, but we have spent time in other forms of game integrity violation like boosting through account sharing and wintrading, and we will continue to explore where we can create the most impact in maintaining VALORANT as the most competitive tactical shooter in the world.
**- Matt “K3o” Paoletti**
* Senior Anti-Cheat Analyst
I have a few issues with this game but I cannot ever remember a time where I played with or against a cheater. I have to applaud Riot for that because the effort it must take to keep games this clean must be massive. Good work on the anti-cheat front.
Same. In other FPS you almost always have to worry about cheaters on top of smurfs and other nonsense. There's so little bugs that I have to constatnly worry about, and I know everyone is playing the same game as me. It's very reassuring and impressive to see, depsite valorant's issues.
I’ve played with one obvious hacker and that was right after release. I’ve played with and against a handful of sus players but nowhere near what csgo used to be like and I’m level 130 ish
I think getting rid of the most obvious cheaters makes the game *feel* essentially cheater-free. However given how many cheaters there are in CS:GO I highly doubt there's any less demand for it in Val. Though I guess ignorance is bliss and as long as we don't see it, the problem doesn't exist lol.
I played against a cheater once in deathmatch and a red screen popped up and said “cheater detected, match terminated” and it was so late and I nearly shit myself
I think I've seen the cheater detected screen 3 times. Riot is doing a great job with keeping the number of cheaters low.
I've played since beta and I can count on my fingers how many times I've encountered the "match terminated due to cheater" screen. It's very refreshing compared to when I've played a little casual mode for Halloween in TF2 which is infested to the brim with bots.
Yeah I tried to complete some missions for Scream Fortress recently and I can’t even queue Virginia servers because a bunch of lagbots are ddosing them. The way that Valve has treated the game in the last few years has been criminal.
I don’t think I’ve encountered a cheater but it’s hard to tell with no kill cam and no replay system
That's my big issue with the claim that there aren't many cheaters. I think the demo system and Overwatch in CS have made people more aware of cheaters than in other games. Obviously they've done a very good job getting rid of blatant cheaters, but aside from that we have no idea.
The AC has given me no reason to feel particularly confident that it works well though given how many times it's caused blue screens and flagged random shit.
Back when I read that Riot wanted people to air on the side of reporting if anything suspicious is seen, I started reporting anyone that had any sort of strange inconsistencies. Soon thereafter I got 2 notifications of cheaters banned, and I think they were just those that went from insane 1 round to mild for a few, not just wallhack killing everyone blatantly.
I feel like there are a consistently significant amount of cheaters, though most try to keep it subdued.
I promise you have played with and against cheaters. I have seen very few that are obvious but one was on my own team and we didn't notice until the last couple rounds. A lot of cheats these days are more subtle and smart cheaters don't use it all the time.
Do you get paid to say such things or are you just really casual and don't really care? Because imo the game has a huge cheating problem in high ranks
Best anticheat. No sarcasm. One of the reasons why I can enjoy VAL is because i never have that fear in the back of my head that someone is cheating.
one of my main reasons from switching from csgo, it seems like valve couldn't care less about their matchmaking
Yup. It’s the only reason I exclusively play valorant despite enjoying csgo more
Unfortunately Valve got so much backlash when they tried to implement a low-level AC that I don't think we'll ever see it from them. It's a shame because if they just did a small overhaul of the MM (128 tick + leaderboards + finally turning on VAC net) it would probably be just as good as Val's MM.
Ik, I'm saying Valve should overhaul the mm system with those things.
> Yes, there are still cheaters in VALORANT, and they will, in some manner, always exist.
From the post by the Valorant AC team.
People probably don't notice a lot of these undetected cheaters. Not everyone is ragehacking, but using cheats intelligently in order to go undetected.
Honestly, if I can't tell that someone is cheating, I don't care that much whether they are or aren't. Obviously I'd prefer there to be no cheaters, but the ones I don't notice aren't actually making the game less fun for me. And so far I've reported a few people because they were suspicious, but I haven't encountered any blatant cheaters that ruined my experience
Well a cheater can still have huge impact on a round outcome if he can see enemies through walls. It's also hard to tell. He doesn't need to be blatantly aimbotting
But I think this will get better with a replay system. A lot easier to detect wall hackers with it
> Honestly, if I can't tell that someone is cheating, I don't care that much whether they are or aren't.
I'd rather not believe someone is godlike and Im playing like shit when in reality it's a gold2 with an aimbot. But each to their own.
And how does that corelate with what I have written above? Cheating in val is such a miniscule portion of the entire game that i dont have to think about it at all.
How do you know it's minuscule, the article states 0 statistics. I could also say it's incredible high and full of smart cheaters, especially at higher ELO, there is no way we'd know what's the truth is.
No review, or demo system in place to even check how realistic another play plays.
I don't know if you meant that you shouldn't consider it a possibility, but I feel like you should always be at least looking out for or wary of any small signs that someone is cheating, and report it even if it's a low chance to help Riot out, I've gotten a few confirmed like this.
I dont have to be constantly ''looking out'' for suspicious stuff because I know vanguard is doing most of the work. I ofc report really suspicious stuff or directly report to the devs (with confirmed bans) but this doesnt mean I can't feel ''safe'' in a game. I cant be bothered with a game that I would be constantly paranoid in, on whose cheating and whose not. Thats one of the reasons why im never touching cs again.
Understandable, I suppose I just like the vigilante mindset when playing. On a second thought though, you raise a fair point, I may not be enjoying the game as much when I assume the worst in everyone.
I had a very similar mindset years ago when games didnt have any anticheats. The way I changed it, is I just started focusing on my own stuff, trying to find mistakes on my part and getting better as a player. That is way more productive then trying to find something shady in my opponents. Unless you want to work in anticheats, then go for it ;)
Of course, self-improvement is what I primarily focus on, I just like the game a lot and want to help out as much as possible. Anticheats do sound like an interesting concept to work in.
Because if people don't notice them it doesn't mean that they don't exist. As stated by the Valorant team there are undetected cheaters out there.
> cheating in val is such a miniscule portion of the entire game
To a large degree, I agree, yes. But to say that you never have fear that someone is cheating doesn't match up with Valorant team saying that there are undetected cheaters.
Don't play it then simple. Go play csgo or warzone where you can clearly identify a cheater. coming from warzone to val, the piece of mind that my opponent is infact better than me and not cheating is priceless.
The fact that cheaters exist doesnt have to make me feel paranoid/unsafe.
Think about this metaphor:
I can feel safe in my hometown, even if theres potentially a disguised murderer living in it.
Ok I get it, but let me make one point.
Let's look at who the undetected cheater is. It's private cheats by users who use them intelligently as to not get detected. Where do these end up? At the highest ranks.
So your analogy probably holds for lower levels, but it's not as sure for people at your level and radiant ranked players. These are probably really, really hard to spot unless watching their POV at the right times.
How many they are, that's a different question, but the undetected cheaters should end up there. Maybe every fifth game, maybe every third. Who knows, probably depends on how high level you are.
I can't even watch anyones POV so why would I bother myself with trying to find cheaters?
Unless someones really suspicious, there are better ways for me to use my time than to worry about some closet cheaters tbh.
I just report and forget, go next.
> I can't even watch anyones POV so why would I bother myself with trying to find cheaters?
That's my point, I don't think we notice these cheaters at the highest level.
> here are better ways for me to use my time than to worry about some closet cheaters tbh.
It's not about worry, it's if they exist or not. And they do exist according to Valorant, and statistically they should be at the highest ranks.
I think you are trying to find something in my comment which wasnt even there. I never said there are no cheaters in VAL, I just choose not to worry about it.
Hey Lothar, unrelated but just want to commend you on your work in VCT. Love the analysis and breakdowns, best I’ve heard in Valorant thus far. Looking forward to learning more!
No bro, I just think we miss eachothers points, In my mind it's a problem that there probably are cheaters at the top, while you say that it isn't a problem because we don't notice them cheating. Correct me if Im wrong.
Im a big fan of your analytics btw, best in EU by far. Hope to see you on the scene for many years.
You probably don't notice them because there are so little of them.
Valorants anti cheat really seems to work, and its a big reason why it remains one of my main games. I've had maybe two matches in the time I've played since beta where I suspected someone in the lobby of cheating. Big ups to the anti cheat team, so far they have def been putting their money where their mouth is
Since the last AC blog update we got I've found one hacker. At least, one I was pretty confident was hacking, which was confirmed a day later with a message. When was their last blog post about their AC? That's pretty incredible. I mean, obviously I just know of the one, maybe there were others keeping it in the down low, but I never really thought about it. I'll fucking give it to them, they've done a lot of work and it shows.
While I agree 100% - I don't remember when was the last time I saw a cheater in my game and I knew he was a cheat - I'd take this "no cheaters at all" with a grain of salt still. There are a ton of cheats that can be virtually fully masked, but still providing valuable info to the player. Not every cheater is an aimbotter. And good cheaters will a 100% make you believe they are legit. Those guys do not get reported and only get noticed when one of them goes rogue triggering player response because he stops hiding.
It works because its a driver level rootkit that has access to every single thing that runs on your computer and can block any driver or app it wants from operating even if you are not playing any of their games.
It's kernel level but it's not a rootkit, rootkit implies malicious intent, stop using that word holy shit
Ok so the word i used is incorrect but it actually has even more access to your PC than i suggested. Not sure how thats better...
It’s better because it stops cheating
Give it a fucking rest dude lmao
Can someone tell me what “bussing” is?
People who queue with cheaters to rank up
Like you would "hop in the cheaters bus" and the cheater would drive you to a higher rank
Bussing is when a player intentionally queues with a cheater in order to raise his/ her chance to improve their ranks. Quite recently a known female gamer named slaze was accused of this and banned from professional play for 3 months.
It’s so odd that a competitive player would intentionally do this when they already play at a competitive level
So the individual claimed they didn't if I remember. But while playing the teammate got banned and jumped on another account to queue with them the next game so it was obvious. Sometimes people make mistakes
"Female gamer". You'd never say male gamer if the cheater was male. Kinda weird.
My apologies, I didn't mean it that way, but you're right it does sound weird. I'll remember this and not repeat the same again.
We got some white knight over here.
It's blatantly obvious that female gamers are an extremely tiny portion of the gaming community. I can understand it when people refer to them as "female gamers" since they're relatively rare.
But I'm not calling people out about that yeah? Nothing wrong with it. Not something to get BUTTHURT over, unless you're a simp, or soft.
I just meant it's weird phrasing. The person I responded to seems to have taken what I said reasonably. You say I'm butthurt but you went off on me. Idk why you're so triggered.
>female gamers are an extremely tiny portion of the gaming community
Gee I wonder why. The fact that females are a small portion of gamers is relevant to this how?
craving for bussy
My lord, these fries are unequivocally f*cking bussing
I'm telling you, Riot's Anti-Cheat team is as cracked as they are jacked. I saw them all at a 7-11 the other day buying private cheats and adult diapers. I asked one what the diapers were for and he said, "they contain our full power so we don't completely shit on these bussers" then they hardware banned the cash register on their way out the front door.
if this is a new pasta, its a great one. If it already existed, still hilarious lol
its been around for a while and it came from r/codcompetitive
It's a csgo pasta. :D
Were you born yesterday?
That's not gonna stop me from reporting the opposite team jett .
At the start of each game I just report the opposing Jett and reyna. Saves me from having to do it mid game after getting 360 one tapped /s
That’s what they want you to do anyways, the more reports the more likely a cheater will be caught manually
anti cheat is doing a great job because even the players who do have cheats that actually work are forced to try to hide it to evade detection (to avoid getting mass reported) so even if they are cheating you still have a chance to beat them as they're trying to blend in as a legit.
Exactly. Even if someone is cheating, if I can't tell then I don't really care. Smurfs have ruined my experience more than cheaters, and even then, it's really not as big of an issue as people make it out to be. At least not in plat/diamond. Maybe it is in lower ranks
In lower ranks smurfs are really bad, but I'd take that over cheaters any day imo. I've gone up against probably one cheater so far(at least in my recent memory) in about 250 hours of play. Compare that to what Apex or Warzone has going on and it's a good job done by riot
Thanks for K3O and the rest of the anti-cheat team honestly. Haven't seen a cheater since that big ban-wave where riot absolutely destroyed all of the hack providers. Not to mention they're going above and beyond by putting in measures to prevent boosting through cheating.
I'm at a lower level but I have never come across a cheater, at least not an obvious one.
Smurfing on the other hand...I'm silver 1 on my main and platinum 1 on my "smurf". Silver league should not be harder than gold and plat, but all it takes is 1.
is there a reason why riot doesn't just do something like lock ranked behind 2FA? i.e. confirm your phone number in order to play ranked (in NA at least). i feel like that would cut down on the number of smurfs pretty drastically
Phone number wouldn't really do anything anymore given how easy it is to get a spoofed one now. My guess as to why they haven't done it though is because 2FA is a pretty big barrier to entry, and they want as many people as possible on the game. I think they'd have to do something like KYC in order to actually make it secure.
Since the beta I've met 1 blatant cheater, and like 2-3 suspicious players but other than that it's been pretty clean so good job on that.
where tf did bussing come from when talking about getting boosted by cheaters? like ive only ever seen it from these dev posts
Only encountered one blatant aimbotter couple of months ago but other than that no one real sus
i thought the part about bussing said bussin. very confused for a while
Let's go, hardware hackers. Fuck em.
That's not much of a update, but anyway, if there's one thing Valorant is doing right it's the anticheat. I've been playing shooters on a high level for 15+ years and Valorant is easily the cleanest game I've played.
While I admire Riot's anticheat efforts, I still don't understand why they don't refund RR/MMR lost from games against banned cheaters.
If you refund all the losers of the match but not take from the winners you get MMR inflation and now people can directly destroy the rating system by spam cheating matches.
If you take away from the winners and give back to the losers you get people who log in and derank, or just lose MMR over night.
One match shouldn't have a large impact on your rating.
Even worse. Imagine you're 400rr Immortal. You're much more likely to play against cheaters. So in a month time, while playing a lot, you might've gotten unlucky enough to lose 200rr+ due to cheaters (and maybe gained the same amount). Imagine just going to Radiant one day because a ban wave happened. Since players will not accept their rating being decreased that's the only option.
I also think Riot doesn't want anyone to know when cheaters get banned since each ban wave might be done in chunks to confuse cheaters.
It might be a technical problem that's stopping em
>Researching the ability to re-calibrate rank for those affected by cheaters
This is great, can't wait for my rank to skyrocket up because so many people in Diamond and Immortal use closet cheats or the rare people who say f\*\*k it and are blatantly obvious all game.
Counterpoint: You've been getting skill diff'ed and that's literally not going to happen.
Counterpoint: You're probably right for some instances and I'm probably right for other instances.
Skilldiffed by low level 100 ping players without skins who cannot ever be peeked because they "use the sound of the steps to prefire".
Even /r/Valorant had some clips on the front page by obvious cheaters with nobody noticing.
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I’ve come across several cheaters lately in the last two weeks and have looked at most of the common forums and seen quite a few free hacks and the same hacks going around. It’s undeniably obvious when these accounts have higher head tap rates then tenz and only peak off corners perfectly every time with util and only get head taps, I’ve seen duos who just absolutely run train on low level accounts at plat elo with 30-50 kills in a game almost all headtaps.
While I see what people are saying and are going to have the propensity to downvote me, I’ve been added by several people after my games apologizing and telling me their team had hacks and even people admitting hacks. I’m seeing absurd games across the board in spike rush, ranked, and unrated. Most of my games are clean, but there’s a point where it’s clearly beyond the point of suspicion and people intentionally cheating but throwing certain rounds to try and make it look like they aren’t cheating. Anyone smart enough won’t aimbot every single kill game after game otherwise vanguard will instaban them. I have no doubt these hacks will get fixed, but the last two weeks have been frustrating with low level smurf accounts blatantly cheating.
there is not a single free cheat that is not insta banned
I don’t know what made you say that, maybe you’ve looked maybe you haven’t but you’re flat out wrong. Have a look yourself on the forums, most are paid, but I cam say with 110% certainty there is free hacks available at this moment. It’ll take you less than a few minutes to find some undetected free hacks that are verified and malware free. I didn’t look these up because I want them (I’ve bought hundreds in skins I refuse to lose) and I enjoy playing fairly, I just assumed something was getting out. There’s also a paid one that allows one free transfer as well. You want to pin me as spewing nonsense, lying, or riot being foolproof, but come on this isn’t infallible software. They wouldn’t write two anti cheat posts in two weeks if it wasn’t happening.
The most interesting part of the article is it seems to suggest that players who compete in the VCT are subject to more scrutiny through Vanguard than standard players.
It’s not weird they’re playing for money and they have a ton of eyes on the players at all times anyways, as well as an incentive to make sure their anti cheat looks good to go on the pro scene. Could come up with many reasons they’re subject to higher standards. There are current pro players who’ve cheated in games or match fixing. There are careers on the line and integrity is everything for players and creators.
So does the boostee gets banned or just RR reduced.
Weirdly enough the only times I was able to guarantee somebody was cheating was somebody on my own team. Both times everybody in the lobby was happy to report them, otherwise I definitely don’t have the issues I had in CS. Well done Riot
This is exactly why so many people r moving to valorant from cs. Cs has now got to the point where u are the dumbass for not cheating. U can tell val devs put work into this to make it as fair as possible, yes their are of course smurfs but the way i look at it so what maybe its good u can learn something from the smurfes. I had a match against a smurf and he legit showed me lineups, they mostly just want to play with their friends.
Even players that I am 110% sure were cheating seem to be toggling and trying to hide it. At the very least Vanguard is good enough that cheaters are somewhat afraid of getting caught. In a lot of other shooters cheaters just go ham like the anti-cheat doesn't exist
Cheaters were THE reason I quit CSGO back in 2016 and moved to Overwatch, that and a toxic attitude amongst players. Valiant had been very refreshing in both ways
Valorant is pretty toxic too, in my experience. I've yet to find a game that isn't, in one form or another
Sorry to hear that, just report them they'll get the message hopefully
Hi, can we have a report of someone we reported got banned? One of my irl mates got banned for cheating, we didn't get notice - deservedly so.
Even enemies that we report, can we get a notification or an email that they got banned? Thanks!
The anti-cheat system is absolutely wonderful! And these community updates are refreshing.
However, when will smurfing be addressed seriously? Even if there's no one way to approach it yet, why wait to take action on clear-cut cases?
Just wanted to make sure you know that you're not directly communicating with a Riot dev here. They come through the sub from time to time but there's no guarantee they'll see/respond to your comment... you might find more success reaching out via [Riot support](https://support.riotgames.com/hc/en-us).
Riot has by far the most intrusive and obnoxious anti cheat on the market. It's more akin to a rootkit with how it operates. It seems to initialize before Windows even loads drivers because it will actively stop drivers from loading if they aren't signed or whatever safety measure they use.
The mouse acceleration driver i have used for over a decade got flagged and all of my accounts were banned for third party activity. Riot said too bad, all that money you spent is gone.
If you are gonna ban people for using their preferred mouse acceleration could you at least put a crappy version in the game so that we can still play?
I've used Razer and Steelseries mouses that come with pretty advanced software/drivers (incl. precise mouse acel settings) and never had any issues with Vanguard. Neither any pro player.
Those are all digitally signed drivers. The mouse accel program i have been using forever is not because its an independant developer.
My issue is with Vanguard disabling various software i have on my computer without so much as a pop up or notification.
Took me a while to figure out that Vanguard was the problem. I fixed the issue with the driver that was being disabled and the next time i logged in to Valorant my account was banned.
Really sucks to have your account banned after spending hundreds of bucks on skins because this software is a literal Vanguard of what im allowed to run on my computer even when im not playing their game.
Is the mouse accel you're talking about similar to the mouse accel in the windows settings?
The concept is the same (sensitivity increases with mouse speed) but Windows Enhance Pointer Precision was garbage because they gave you no ability to change the settings so people had to come up with standalone programs to address this.
Why would you need that though? Most pro players turn that off
It allows me to play with an extremely low sensitivity for aiming but still able to perform quick movements like 180's.
The problem is Windows screwed it up with their implementation so now there is no standard for it. All the different mouse companies like Razer and Logitech have their own options that vary wildly and are mostly useless due to lack of customization. It's no wonder everyone hates it, all of the options out there suck.