When Valorant’s Vanguard anti-cheat technology was revealed last year, it sparked outrage. The fact that it loads at boot by default and lurks quietly in the background, waiting and watching even when Valorant isn’t running, has irritated players. In response, Riot made Vanguard more visible and easier to disable, but the basic requirement remained the same: if you want to play Valorant, you must run Vanguard.
Riot’s strategy appears to be paying off a year and a half later. In a blog post today, Riot anti-cheat analyst Matt “K3o” Paoletti stated that the number of reports of cheating in Valorant is at an all-time low.
Combating cheaters is a “a continual arms race” that has seen an increase in hardware-based cheats and “machine learning algorithms,” but Paoletti claims Riot has stayed ahead of those efforts so far.
“Despite what developers may say, the words ‘artificial intelligence’ do not make a cheat undetectable,” he wrote. “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.”
Although Paoletti acknowledged that cheaters exist in Valorant and will continue to do so, he stated that Riot’s goal is to ensure that “that cheating is never a viable way to long term competitive success in Valorant.” To that end, Vanguard will be developed in tandem with more general advances in cybersecurity, such as “security upgrades in operating systems that enable us to better identify and prevent cheaters”—presumably a reference to the requirement for TPM 2.0 on Windows 11-based PCs.
It’s also going to increase focus on players who use cheating accounts to boost other players, “knowing that their account would get banned but the boostee would keep the ill-gotten gains,” Paoletti wrote. “We’ve created automated measures to take actions on the boosted account, and we’re still committing to those.”
The effectiveness of Valorant’s anti-cheat can also be seen in more subtle ways. Activision recently announced that it’s launching a kernel level anti-cheat for Call of Duty: Warzone, a testament to the overall effectiveness of the technology in itself, and this time around players seem happy to embrace it (or at least, willing to put up with it) as long as it works.