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VALORANT Vanguard Anti-Cheat: Full Overview

Competitive online gaming has taken off in the past decade to become a profession for millions and a hobby for even more. With the increasing player count, monitoring and maintaining a fair and anti-cheat environment has become even harder. There are tons of third-party and proprietary software game developers use to control the infestation of online game cheaters, but only a few stand out from the rest. One of them is Riot Game’s proprietary anti-cheat system, Riot Vanguard, which has gained both acclaim and controversy since its release with Riot’s tactical shooter, VALORANT.

In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know about VALORANT anti-cheat, Riot Vanguard, including its controversy and how it actually works.

The Necessity of Advanced Anti-Cheat Systems

The modern online gaming experience has become more frustrating than ever as cheating has plagued the industry. It has gotten even worse as cheating has become a full-fledged business getting more exposure by the day. Studies show that there are more cheaters in online video games than ever. Did you know that 30% of players in any given online game are actually cheating? This is even more prominent in the FPS genre, tarnishing the true competitiveness of the many amazing shooter games out there.

No matter the amount of anti-cheat initiatives game developers take against cheaters, they always find a way to come back even stronger. While almost all modern online shooters come with anti-cheat software, most of them are ineffective. However, Riot Games recognized the urgency to develop an effective deterrent against cheaters and developed their own proprietary anti-cheat software, Riot Vanguard. It not only catches cheaters in the act but also prevents them from disrupting the gameplay experience altogether.

What is VALORANT Anti-Cheat: Riot Vanguard?

Riot Vanguard is a custom security tool that helps VALORANT keep its competitive integrity against cheaters. The software was developed by Riot Games themselves and is currently one of the most effective anti-cheat programs out there in the ever-expanding competitive gaming world. How it differs from other anti-cheat software is that it is more intrusive, gaining kernel-level access to your system and boots up with Windows.

This intrusive architecture Riot has implemented on their anti-cheap software even raised some concerns among players, especially when it first came out. Players were concerned that Riot Games were collecting personal and sensitive data from their player base. Some even suspected it was mining crypto-currencies on their systems. But these theories have been debunked over the years and understanding how it actually works helps you get rid of any of those suspicions.

How Does It Work?

Riot Vanguard is an AI-based anti-cheat system and uses a kernel-level driver to prevent cheating in VALORANT. The client runs in the background at all times, even when the game is not running, but it has low-level access to the system despite the common belief. VALORANT anti-cheat Riot Vanguard connects to the Riot Games servers to detect any cheats or suspicious activity in your system. Its AI system not only helps investigate cheaters but has also allowed Riot Games to discover more types of cheats and keep up with the clever techniques cheaters come up with.

And when the system detects any suspicious activity or confirms any cheating, Riot hands out bans to those players which can last for 90-120 days or even be permanently banned. Since Riot Vanguard has kernel-level access to the cheaters’ PCs, it can ID the hardware and prohibit that computer from running the game again. This not only allows Riot Games to get rid of cheaters from their game but also discourages users from simply creating a new account to play the game.

VALORANT anti-cheat: What is kernel mode?

Since the word “kernel” comes up a lot when talking about the VALORANT anti-cheat, Riot Vanguard, it is important to know what it actually means. To put it simply, Kernel Mode or Kernel Level Access is a computer system privilege mode that grants full unrestricted access to a system and its resources. This means Kernel mode not only has access to software running on a system but also its hardware and memory. This mode is necessary for many low-level tasks in an operating system.

Is it safe and is it a Chinese spyware?

Riot Vanguard also requires kernel-level privilege on your PC to efficiently and effectively investigate cheaters. However, some players have expressed concerns about the level of access Riot Vanguard has to their computers. Anyway, Riot Games themselves have come forward to address these concerns claiming that it was built around game safety and personal computer safety being a priority.

Some players have even come forward to accuse VALORANT anti-cheat of being a Chinese spyware program. Given that the Chinese conglomerate Tencent owns a majority of shares at Riot Games and the fact that Riot Vanguard runs on your PC at all times, it is understandable that players have these concerns. However, there are almost zero to nothing in any sort of properly backed reports of Riot Vanguard violating any of Riot Games’ privacy policies to gather any sensitive personal data from their player base. And you can always suspend Riot Vanguard at any time or even uninstall it completely if you are still unsure.

How to Install and Uninstall Riot Vanguard?

VALORANT anti-cheat, Riot Vanguard, does not come in a separate package but alongside the game itself. This means that it automatically installs on your PC alongside the game. If you do not have VALORANT installed on your PC, head over to the official VALORANT website and download the official Installation Wizard after creating a Riot Account.

And to uninstall Riot Vanguard, there are a couple of methods. You can simply uninstall the program by right-clicking the Riot Vanguard system tray icon or by simply removing it in the installed apps section in Windows settings. If you need to reinstall the program which is essential to launch VALORANT, you can install it by opening the Riot Client and clicking the install Riot Vanguard button which can be found where the ‘Play’ button usually goes.

It is also worth noting that Riot Vanguard requires you to enable Secure Boot mode and TPM (Trusted Platform Module) in order to launch the game. To enable Secure Boot, you should head over to your PC’s BIOS settings and enable it under the Boot options. The boot mode should be also set to UEFI. And to enable TPM, you should check if your system supports it first. As most modern systems do support it, you can simply go into your BIOS and find the Trusted Computing option and set it on. This setting usually differs from system to system depending on the CPU and platform you are using. TPM usually comes labeled as Security Device, Security Device Support, TPM State, AMD fTPM switch, AMD PSP fTPM, Intel PTT, or Intel Platform Trust Technology.

Is the VALORANT Anti-Cheat Effective Against Cheating?

Now to the ultimate question: Does Riot Vanguard actually get effective at detecting cheaters and getting rid of them? The simple answer is yes; it is effective against cheaters. In fact, it is one of the best anti-cheat programs out there in modern FPS games. It employs a combination of behavioral analysis, machine learning algorithms, and heuristics to identify suspicious activities and cheats in real time. And its intrusive continuous monitoring nature allows Riot Games to identify new methods of cheating in the ever-evolving landscape of cheaters.

The stats Riot has released to the public speaks for the effectiveness of their anti-cheat system. Back in late 2020, Riot released some stats regarding their anti-cheat program’s effectiveness. They stated that 97% of players have never even received a single report. And only 0.6% of players have received more than 1 cheating report and only 0.3% have received 3 or more. Out of all the banned players at the time, only 53% of them were reported before their ban. While these numbers aren’t perfect and accurate to today’s stats, this is adequate enough to assume that Riot Vanguard functions effectively.

Play safely on GameChampions

As the battle against cheaters has become more vicious in modern FPS, developers are forced to constantly update and keep up with the constantly changing tactics of cheaters. Riot Vanguard represents Riot Games' formidable weapon in this battle and with its innovative approach, it has also become one of the most effective anti-cheats in the industry. Similarly we created a safe platform where there's no space for cheating and you can play Valorant tournaments for money

 

About the author

Marijn Laros

Spirited, 19-year-old guy hailing from the glorious tulip lands of the Netherlands. I've always been one for adventures, and my current one has taken me across borders where I've been enjoying living abroad for the past month, soaking up new experiences and cultures.

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