New ‘Valorant’ players must grind before they can play competitive games


A new playable character with an aggressive mobility-based kit isn’t the only potentially groundbreaking tweak coming to Valorant with the shooter’s Episode Four update on January 11. Once the patch is live, new players must reach account level 20 before they can queue up for competitive games. Previously, you only needed to win 10 unranked matches before you could participate in competitive matchmaking.

Many other multiplayer games, including Overwatch and Riot’s own League of Legends, have similar restrictions. They help ensure that new players have had at least some time to learn the game before entering a high-pressure match. They also discourage a practice known as smurfing. That’s when more experienced players create new accounts to avoid long queues and play against less experienced opponents.

“We believe that everyone should take the time to learn the ins and outs of the core gameplay, and have adequate knowledge of all the cards and agents Valorant will give you before participating in our ranked experience,” Riot said of the change. The customization will only affect new accounts created from this point. So if you’ve recently started playing Valorant and have at least one competitive match on your account, you won’t lose access.

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