Valorant systems for battling toxicity and trolling need a serious update
Valorant faces an especially prevalent problem with player toxicity/trolling. As many would have already experienced, when teammates are toxic or decide to troll, the enjoyment of a game severely drops. This is often the case regardless of the game’s outcome, with either a highly stressful win, or an even more untasteful and infuriating loss. The community’s continuous experience and dissatisfaction of toxicity and trolling within the game is clear from the numerous highly upvoted posts on Reddit gaining resonance with players.
Do Valorant players get banned for trolling and being toxic?
The simple answer is yes, however, the system is riddled with holes that allows toxicity and trolling to run rampant throughout Valorant. Due to the size of Valorant’s large player base, Riot have adopted a similar punishment system to their other flagship game, League of Legends. This has unfortunately meant they primarily rely on one of two automated methods to ban players. First would be through mass reports from others, which often automatically suspends the player. Secondly, there is also a system that flags a select list of bad words typed in chat, and once a player gets reported, they are almost assured to get banned within the hour. There are some cases where Riot manually reviews reports, however, these are highly limited and punishment is only dished out extremely blatant instances.
Why is toxicity and trolling so prevalent in Valorant?
Aside from the punishment system being riddled with holes and Riot lacking the drive to place more resources in it, there is also the fact it is simply difficult to detirmine and ban. This is because those who make bad plays or incorrect decisions cannot simply be classified as trolls, as no one is expected to play perfectly. All players also tend to have bad games every now and then, so even if teammates decide to take and lose every duel consequently ending 0-20, it is not a punishable offence. This makes gameplay performance based bans extremely hard to implement, as trolls will not be banned unless one of a few things happen. Firstly, the player who has been reported by multiple players must have undergone a manual review process and admitted to trolling in chat. For example, “I’m running it down, I don’t care about this game”. Secondly, the player has been mass reported across multiple games, leading Riot to investigate not only the single game, but their recent past performances. If they are constantly throwing and go 0-20 across multiple games and days, possibly dropping even multiple divisions, it is clear the account is attempting to de-rank at the expense of other players and will be punished harshly. Thirdly, the player stays in spawn and makes no effort at all to play the game, instead, moving only slightly to prevent being kicked from the auto afk detection system.
What can be done to fix the system?
First of all, the existing mass reporting system that at times automatically suspends players should be removed. This system has cause numerous false bans, and is extremely infuriating if you simply have a bad Valorant day, or inversely a good one and get accused of hacking.
Riot should also place more resources in its tribunal department. The number of reports a player receives should only be a trigger of priority for manual review. This will ensure all reports are manually reviewed, reducing the likelihood of false bans. To reduce the strain on resources, Riot should also penalize players who make deliberately make misleading or false reports. While a manual process is certainly more subjective, at least a more human approach will rid of teammates who throw but do not AFK or type.
The current toxicity detection system is only limited to text chat. With Valorant being a game that encourages voice chat, there are also numerous instances of toxicity verbally. Riot look to implement a system that can sift through voice communication upon reports.
Types of punishment
Currently, there are three different types of punishments in Valorant: Communication restriction, competitive queue ban and account suspensions. Communication restrictions are applied to players who are toxic in chat. This restricts their ability from typing in chat and using team voice communications with the exception of those in their party. Competitive queue bans prevent players from player in competitive matches, instead, restricted to only play on other modes for a number of days or even games. Account suspensions are only reserved for exceptional or frequently repeated cases, thereby removing access to the account.