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02/02/21Game Updates

Competitive Changes: 2.02 and what's next

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Hey everyone! I’m Jon Walker, aka Riot EvrMoar, and I’m here to add some extra detail behind the changes to Competitive in Patch 2.02 and talk about the ranked changes the Competitive team is working on for the rest of Episode 2.

With our ear on various channels and some time at the drawing board, we’re now ready to tell you how ranked will change based on your feedback. I’m going to explain some of the changes we’ve released, or are working on, in order to give perspective of how and why we ranked will improve in early 2021.

THE PATCH 2.01 FIX

  • Reduced the Queue time for high MMR players

The team saw (and heard) one too many of you at the highest MMR queue for more than an hour. After making some tweaks, we’ve been able to reduce that time to about 10–15 minutes, while maintaining match quality/fairness for these players.

PATCH 2.02 CHANGES

  • MMR to Rank Convergence increase.

Convergence is the multiplier that gives you more, or less, Rank Rating (RR) if your MMR is not equal to your rank. Convergence exists to push your rank to match your MMR—but we believe it wasn’t pushing you fast enough.

After this change, most of you should see an increase in RR gains if your rank is below your MMR. You should also start to see less RR losses per loss as well. Lowering the amount of RR you lose per loss will make it so you’ll have to play less games to get to the Rank you deserve, (while still giving us a few matches to test and make sure you belong at that rank).

Overall, you should feel less “hardstuck” if you’re getting matched into higher skilled games then your actual rank. Those of you with exceptionally good individual performance in games where your team wins decisively will see close to 50 RR per win.

  • Diamond 3 now Solo/Duo

We want to make sure that you can’t 5-stack all the way to the leaderboard, as well as reduce the amount of Immortal/Radiant 5-stacks you may encounter. This change, along with the convergence changes, reduces the total number of games that 5-stacks can play together before being forced to Solo/Duo.

The secondary goal of this change was to create a buffer to the leaderboards, so we can build confidence that when you get to Immortal, you’ve truly earned it.

  • Performance Bonus for Iron to Diamond

Exceptional match performance should be rewarded differently than average performance. Right now the matchmaker has an idea of how well you should perform whenever it puts you in a match. When you go above that expectation (above your average), extra RR is your reward.

This is to incentivize playing well, but get you to stop comparing yourself to your teammates. The goal of ranked is to maintain a healthy, competitive queue where you all feel like you can challenge yourself to improve. As a secondary goal, this will also help push smurfs, or players who may have seen significant skill improvements, to higher ranks quicker.

PATCH 2.03 PLANS

  • Rewards based on the end of Act leaderboard standings, or highest rank achieved

In the old system, nine games was the measure we used to test whether you earned your correct rank. The new system tests you at the rank it thinks you belong, and you converge with your MMR over a handful of matches.

We’re more confident in the new system: Once you’ve achieved a rank, you’ve been tested enough and should be rewarded the instant you reach that rank. This means your Act rank will be decided by the highest triangle rank in your Act Rank Badge, instead of your top nine wins. You still need to earn a total of nine wins to fill your Act Rank Badge, but you will be rewarded for the highest of those nine wins. This will also be what determines your end of Episode reward as well.

Regarding leaderboards, we want to make sure to properly award you for their end of Act standings. We won’t say how we’re gonna reward just yet, but we plan on rewarding you for the standing you have at the end of an Act. The plan is to still keep our reward cadence on an episode basis so you have a few chances to reach news each Act throughout an Episode.

That means those of you that climbed early, may have an Act rank of Immortal/Radiant, but if you’ve fallen or dropped off the leaderboard by end of the Act, you won’t get their specific leaderboard standing as a reward. We want to celebrate, next Act, that you were top 5, 10, etc. on the leaderboard.

We’re still discussing what this would look like for your end of Episode rewards.

  • Penalties for in-game AFKing

Yeah, AFK teammates usually ruin a ranked match, as well as make you lose RR when you don’t deserve it.

The first step for us is penalizing ranked players who AFK in-game. Players who AFK in-game will lose additional RR, which can go above our maximum caps. This is the first step to help combat AFK players, we have more things in the works and hopefully can talk about them in later updates!

We’ll share more specifics around how exactly the AFK in-game rank penalties work in the 2.03 patch notes along with a more comprehensive overview of upcoming penalty changes soon after.

EPISODE 2 ACT II PLANS

  • Act-to-Act resets will be less punishing, making it easier for players to maintain rank from Act to Act, unlike Episode soft resets

We’ve heard the feedback, and definitely agree! It can get exhausting to have your rank constantly reset, hidden from you, or feel like you’ve dropped a few sub-ranks and are forced to prove yourself again.

Not only can you lose faith if you feel like you're fighting the system, it can create a perception of matchmaking chaos during the first few weeks of a soft reset. While we believe soft resets are healthy—they help clear out high ranks of stagnant accounts or boosted players—we only want to do them once per Episode.

We need to make sure we do some housekeeping for ranks Episode to Episode, but we expect Act resets to be much less impactful to your rank. We plan on asking you to play only 1 placement match if you earned rank in the previous Act, and won’t touch your current MMR or rank. That placement game will impact your initial rank placement, however, so it may shift slightly.

While Iron through Diamond will be less affected by Act resets, we do want to make sure we are maintaining leaderboards to keep them as up to date as possible, highlighting the current top players in VALORANT. Leaderboard players will see their RR reduced to 10% of their current value. This will maintain the order of the leaderboard while also bringing everyone closer together to start, giving everyone a fair shot of getting to the top.

  • Protecting the prestige of earning Radiant Rank

We agree, before letting anyone earn Radiant at the start of the season, we should allow time to let all of you get some games in, making sure the folks who climb the leaderboard and get Radiant have really earned the rank. We’ll have more specifics on this ahead of the start of Episode 2: Act 2

  • Targeted hiding of your rank (Pre-game and in-game)

We’ve heard from many of you that you’d prefer rank not to be shown during pre-game and in-game because it can lead to an increased amount of unhealthy pressure from other players. For example, if you’re the top rank player, others might expect you to play a certain way that may not align with your style (or mood). Then you can have an off game and feel particularly bad about your performance.

We plan to keep your rank along with other players on the end of game screen, so post match you can still see how you stacked up against others, but we hope this change allows you to focus more on picking the Agent you want and playing in the way you think helps the team.

  • Relaxed group restrictions at low ranks

We understand that many of you really want to group and play ranked with your friends despite their rank. While we are busy working on some team competitive ideas, we want to loosen some of the restrictions we’ve placed on grouping up in lower ranks. The data says we have enough players in lower ranks to allow them to group up at wider rank disparities, while also maintaining fair matchmaking. More information about the exact rules for queueing as a group will come at a later date!

That’s it! The Competitive team has other changes in the works, but we’re keeping some surprises and some were not major enough to note here.

We surround ourselves with the community, jumping into channels and playing alongside you in our ranked matches. We hope to build faith in the community that we’re going to maintain a healthy and competitive space in VALORANT.

Thank you so much for providing feedback on the new ranked systems, tough discussions as a community keeps ranked healthy.

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