With its explosive closed beta launch earlier this month, Riot Games’ competitive first-person shooter Valorant raised concerns due to its shady always-on anti-cheat. Vanguard, Riot’s proprietary anti-cheat software built specifically for the new title, is installed automatically alongside Valorant and is mandatory for playing the game. Since the program runs at the kernel level, any vulnerability in the program could lead to disastrous consequences for users. As expected, the entire gaming community was divided on this topic, and Riot’s first Vanguard update aims to clear up the air.
Starting today, Riot is now allowing Valorant players to turn off Vanguard via a new system tray icon. When Vanguard is disabled, the machine will run in “untrusted mode” and users will need to reboot if they want to play Valorant. With this, users finally have an alternative to uninstalling the game if they want to stop the anti-cheat.
“Ultimately, you get to choose what software you run on your computer,” reads Riot’s latest update post. “You can uninstall or stop Vanguard to allow your software to work, but that will have the side effect of not allowing VALORANT to work until you reboot.”
Vanguard is also programmed to detect and shut down “certain incompatible or vulnerable software” automatically. In this scenario, the user will be notified via a Windows notification.
As for why all these tedious steps are necessary, Riot claims that they strive to maintain Valorant’s “competitive integrity”.
“We want to operate at the highest possible standard for our players so that they never have to question whether or not they lost to a cheater. In order to do that, we’re going to operate at the cutting edge for anti-cheat on VALORANT.”
Transparency between developers and the community is critical to a game’s success, and Riot is sure to receive some praise for this move. Finally, Valorant players feeling unsafe with the anti-cheat will have an alternative to simply ‘deleting the game’.