Ask VALORANT - Nov. 5
Patch stability has been really bad these days. What’s going on?
Oof, yeah this one stings. Our day zero patch stability has honestly been far below our own expectations recently. There are many different reasons for this, from internal process improvements we have to make, to some philosophical changes we should consider, investment in tooling and infrastructure. Honestly, we could even include maybe slowing down a bit.
We’ve been rigorously keeping to the two week patch cadence since even before we started our Closed Beta. Even with the logistical challenges of working from home, the team has been—and continues being—incredibly passionate to get content and features out as quickly as possible, including moving up our maps release schedule. But it’s time to take a breath and take stock of what we need to do internally to make sure that our efforts are sustainable and hitting the quality bar you, our players, deserve.
Now that the biggest fires from the 1.11 deploy (and rollback and redeploy) are out, we’re going to take a few weeks to do a thorough investigation into our processes and tools as well as make sure we have a roadmap for improvements that allow us to continue shipping all the amazing stuff we have planned—sustainably and at a higher quality bar.
We want this to be as transparent as possible so you know what improvements to expect and what to hold us accountable for, so we’ll get back to you before we leave on holiday break with an overview and roadmap of what actions we’ll be taking.
Until then, thank you for your patience, understanding, and support.
—Arnar Gylfason, Senior Producer
I noticed that the latest patch dropped during the NA Qualifiers for First Strike, but then got rolled back. Are you thinking about esports tournaments as you patch? What if these patches are too disruptive?
First: thank you for your patience with all of this. Timing esports events in between game patches is a pretty complicated process, especially since VALORANT updates...every two weeks. The dev team did think they made all the changes in time for the qualifiers (see the foreword they wrote for the patch notes), and we’ve been working closely with them to sync schedules. However, this got too squishy and some of the NA Qualifiers ended up on the wrong side of a Tuesday.
This should have been a better experience and we’re definitely looking to improve with the lessons we’ve learned. So here’s what happened: going into the end of the year, both the development and esports teams badly wanted to unlock true Best-of-Fives for the First Strike Main Event by releasing the fifth map, Icebox. We felt Icebox would need four weeks in the ranked queue to provide pros enough time to practice on the map before including it in competition.
We also wanted to keep the next patch (1.12)—which would drop midway through First Strike—light in order to minimize potential disruption. To account for all of this, the VALORANT dev team frontloaded a lot more than the usual amount of content into patch 1.11 and released a map earlier than planned. This led to an unstable experience, and ultimately the patch was rolled back.
As to the timing of the patch: Due to the super dense qualifier schedule happening around the world in the month leading up to the First Strike main event, we had few dates that could both avoid being disruptive to qualifiers and provide the runway of four weeks for Icebox. We erred on the side of releasing patch 1.11 before most of the qualifiers kicked off, but it ended up not quite stretching to account for the NA Qualifiers. We considered it painful but ‘okay,’ given all of the constraints we were working with (and shared patch notes early to those competitors). Smash cut to today, and I think we’re dealing with the worst-case scenario of disruption.
Anyway, to avoid having the first NA Qualifier played on two different patches, we’ve unlocked a separate instance where the remaining 16 teams will conclude the tournament on patch 1.10. In the meantime, the live game was updated to patch 1.11 on Nov. 2. These are definitely some growing lessons we’re learning as we stand up the esport scene and game at the same time.
—Riley Yurk, Manager, VALORANT Esports Strategy
I know you now have Forced Name Change to punish players who violate the Code of Conduct with an offensive name, but what about dealing with the awful stuff in the chat?
We knew that chat would be a problem before launch and our new systems weren't going to be ready, so while we worked on finishing that, we put an interim system in place that has been running since launch.
Today we issued chat and voice comms restrictions to the worst of the worst, focusing on language and behavior that’s so obviously bad that it’s easy to detect. We’ve recently deployed a new chat evaluation system that is running in English, which means you might run into more players who’ve received text or voice restrictions. Over the upcoming months, we’re expanding our supported languages and improving our detection so it does more than catch only the most egregious offenders.
It’s important to remember that your words have a meaningful impact on your teammates, and what you say in the confines of a match can have lasting effects on the people you’ve said it to. Hate speech, slurs, and any type of threat or bullying is not welcome in our games. Players that receive chat restrictions are reminded to use in-game comms constructively—we win and lose together!
For the rest of you: Keep reporting players who aren’t following the Code of Conduct. Each report is sent into our behavior systems to review, and having the reports helps us continue to improve our machine learning models and get better & better at dealing with disruptive behavior.
—Rae Edwards, Producer, Central Player Dynamic
Missed last week’s Ask VALORANT? Catch up on the previous post below: