Valorant: Start observing Voice Chats initiating July 13th

Riot Games, the developer after the free first-person shooter Valorant, will begin tracking players’ voice communications on July 13th.

In addition, the game company says it assists in training the language models it will eventually use when assessing player reports across all its games.

Riot initially reported this change in April 2021 after updating its privacy policy. The new terms allow Riot to “record and potentially evaluate voice data when using Riot-owned voice comms channels” to combat hate speech and harassment over voice chat.

For example, Riot says it will analyze recordings when a player reports someone for abusive or offensive comments. It should help the company determine whether the reported player violated its policies and act accordingly.

Riot isn’t going to begin assessing player reports based on these recordings just yet — it’s utilizing the information it contains to help build the system’s beta it expects to roll out later this year. So, for now, Riot will only assess the conversations of English-speaking Valorant participants in North America. The only mode to opt out of this approach is to disable voice chat altogether or use another communication means, like Discord.

“We know that before we can even consider expanding this tool, we’ll have to be confident it’s effective. So if mistakes happen, we have systems to ensure we can correct any false positives (or negatives, for that matter),” Riot notes in its statement.

When this system is rolled out, Riot says that it won’t “actively monitor your live game comms” and will only “potentially listen to and review voice logs” if you’re reported for disruptive behavior. It also adds that it will delete this information after resolving the situation, much like it does for reports made over its text-based chat systems. Even still, it’s attached to raise some players’ concerns about privacy, much like the always-on Vanguard anti-cheat system that monitors your activity inside and outside Valorant.

The scheduled reporting system isn’t the only way Valorant attempts to crack down on toxic players. Earlier this year, Riot began letting Valorant players add specific words or phrases to a “muted words list” to help block out abusive content in chat.

Valorant was conceived and published by Riot Games, the studio behind League of Legends. Development began in 2014 within their research and development division. Valorant’s game director, Joe Ziegler, is credited with the initial concept of Valorant while formulating probable games with other Riot developers. David Nottingham is the innovative director for Valorant. Trevor Romleski, a former League of Legends designer, and Salvatore Garozzo, a former professional player and map creator for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, are game designers for Valorant. Moby Francke, a former Valve developer, who has been an art and character creator for Team Fortress 2 and Half-Life 2, is the art director.

Valorant was devised with two main focuses: making tactical shooters and e-sports more accessible to new players and creating a game. It would attract a sizeable competitive scene while solving many of the points of criticism expressed by professional players from fun in the genre.

Games aimed at prominent, active residents and player bases, typically free-to-play games like Fortnite or Riot’s own League of Legends, tend to emphasize a more comprehensive array of system performance improvements and game stability. Rather than more recent technologies or graphics to ensure they’re as accessible as possible.

In interviews conducted up to the game’s launch, game director Joe Ziegler and producer Anna Donlon expressed. Valorant was made for people recreating their first tactical shooter just as extensively as it was for professional players and the accessibility of the game was a substantial priority.

Riot created Valorant using Unreal Engine 4, which the development team said would permit it to concentrate on gameplay and optimizations rather than expending time on core systems. To fulfill the goal of a lower performance barrier so more people could play Valorant, the team set notably low minimum and suggested hardware requirements for the game. To get 30 frames per second on these small needs, the game’s engineering team, directed by Marcus Reid, who previously performed on Gears of War 4, had to create several modifications to the engine.

These transformations included editing the renderer using the engine’s mobile rendering path as the base or reworking the game’s lighting systems to provide the fixed lighting that tactical shooters often require to not interfere with gameplay. Unreal’s modern underpinnings also helped solve many of the issues Riot set out to translate from other games in the genre.

Additional modifications helped meet the game’s other goal of creating a fair, competitive environment, including optimizing server interpretation by disabling character animations in non-combat conditions and removing unnecessary evaluations in the hit registration process.

During development, Riot Games promised to work towards a ping of fewer than 35 milliseconds for at least 70% of the game’s players. To achieve this, Riot promised 128-tick servers in or near the most significant cities worldwide and worked with internet service providers to set up reliable connections to those servers. Unfortunately, due to increased internet traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic, Riot has had trouble optimizing links and ping to their promised levels.

Valorant is a team-based first-person hero shooter set shortly. Players play as one of a set of Agents, characters based on several countries and cultures worldwide. In the primary game mode, players are assigned to the attacking or defending team, with each team having five players.

Agents have unique abilities, each requiring charges and a unique ultimate ability that requires charging through kills, deaths, orbs, or objectives. In addition, every player starts each round with a “classic” pistol and one or more “signature ability” charges.

Other weapons and ability expenses can be purchased using an in-game economic system that awards money based on the outcome of the previous round; any kills the player is responsible for, and any objectives achieved. The game has various weapons, including secondary guns like sidearms and primary firearms like shotguns, machine guns, submachine guns, assault rifles, and sniper rifles.

There are automatic and semi-automatic spears that each have a distinctive shooting pattern that the player must control to be able to shoot accurately. It currently offers 19 agents from Brimstone, Viper, Omen, Cypher, Sova, Sage, Phoenix, Jett, Raze, Breach, Reyna, Killjoy, Skye, Yoru, Astra, KAY/O, Chamber, Neon, and Fade.