Toxicity in online games is nothing new. Putting a group of anonymous strangers together in a charged and competitive environment can lead to some pretty awful exchanges. Valorant is known for having a widespread comms abuse problem especially at lower levels, and Riot Games is trying to fight back against this stain on the community with a series of positive steps. While it may be impossible to end the problem completely, it hopes to improve the chat and voice experience in the popular free-to-play hero shooter as soon as possible.
In a new blog post, Riot Games details the actions they would be taking going forward, while also detailing the rates of chat bans administered so far for repeated toxic behavior. In January 2022, 400,000 voice and text chat bans were doled out, while over 40,000 accounts were banned during the same timespan for “numerous, repeated instances of toxic communication.” Bans can last for as little as a few days for first-time offenders, or up to an entire year for “chronic” offenders. Regardless of these massive numbers, Riot admits that it has done little to address the root of the problem. “The frequency with which players encounter harassment in our game hasn’t meaningfully gone down,” they wrote.
Riot has introduced a Muted Words List to Valorant, allowing users to type in variations of words and phrases that they would not like to see appear in-game.
In the future, the company has plans to trial a new “voice evaluation system” in North America. This will involve recording all in-game voice communications, though Riot has made it clear that they will “update with concrete plans about how it’ll work well before we start collecting voice data in any form.”
Valorant is available to play for free on PC. In June 2021, Riot Games announced its plans to develop a mobile version of the game. This was to commemorate the game’s successful first year, with over 14 million monthly active players since launch. The mobile version will also be the first step made to expand the game’s universe. In December 2021, Valorant‘s director Joe Ziegler stepped down to start a new project at Riot.