When Riot Games first announced project A now known as VALORANT back in 2019, one of the things that they put extra emphasis on was how they were developing their in-house anti-cheat solution to combat cheaters in a modern FPS game.
During the closed beta phase of VALORANT, Vanguard which is the name of Riot’s anti-cheat solution was also launched alongside the game. And the whole community began to share their distaste towards Vanguard’s overly intrusive approach.
- More Related: Riot Games explains why footsteps in VALORANT sometimes feel closer than they actually are
As Vanguard would start at computer boot, most players were uncomfortable with a kernel-level anti-cheat solution running on their systems. Since a kernel-level program can be easily exploited to harm the users, the community’s concern over Vanguard was justified.
After some back and forth between the community and the developers, Riot Games decided to give players more visual indication on when Vanguard is running on their systems. Furthermore, they assured players that their solution was really solid and there is nothing to worry about.
As of now, Vanguard has been pretty decent in dealing with cheaters in the game. However, it is still not perfect as Pro VALORANT players have been caught multiple times using aim locks and radar hacks in online tournaments where real prize money was at stake.
No matter how robust an anti-cheat solution is, hackers can always find a workaround. This is the primary reason why Riot Games also uses manual reviews alongside Vanguard to ensure no cheaters can get by that easily.
Anti-cheat lead explains manual reviews:
Paul Chamberlain who is the anti-cheat lead on Riot Games recently explained their manual review process to deal with cheaters. According to Paul, Riot Games uses players report data alongside their automated system to ensure that there are no false positives. And they also use other data from vanguard while they are using their manual review process to make an informed decision.
“The manual reviews help us improve Vanguard’s automated reviews and Vanguard’s automated reviews help improve our manual reviews. It’s a virtuous cycle where the manual and automated can improve each other“, Paul Chamberlain on their manual and automated review process.
Therefore, manual reviews in conjunction with automated system apparently help each other in improving the overall cheat detection system. And at the end of the day, the war against the cheaters will always going to be ongoing. As a result, anti-cheat developers will also have to be really proactive to deal with them in order to ensure competitive integrity.