Competitive mode went live on Patch 0.49 of the VALORANT Closed Beta yesterday, but the ranked system is causing an unusual problem. VALORANT's skill disparity evaluations are causing players to not be able to queue up with their friends after only a few games of Competitive mode.
Competitive mode had some issues getting off the ground since the start of April 29, which is when the ranked system was originally planned to go live. However, now that everyone on the VALORANT Closed Beta can play Competitive smoothly, they're having to do it all on their own after only a few games.
The particulars are unknown in terms of how VALORANT evaluates player performance to decide one's MMR, but there are a few possibilities at what could be causing the massive disparities in ranking after only a few Competitive mode games. It is possible that the first Competitive mode games played have a larger impact on where a player is ranked, which would be similar to the placement system for a player's first 10 ranked games in Riot Games' moba League of Legends.
Another possibility is that players' MMR for Competitive mode in the VALORANT Closed Beta also includes data from unrated games played on patches past. The point of a Closed Beta is to highlight potential issues before the game's launch, and it is likely that any ranking from the Closed Beta would not carry over into the full version of VALORANT upon release.
What is most likely, however, is that individual performance is simply being valued too highly relative to other factors. In the VALORANT breakdown of ranking and Competitive mode matchmaking, the developers state: “Winning games is the most important factor in gaining rank, but if you perform exceptionally well, your rank can go up faster. Inversely, losing games and performing well below expectations (deduced from your previous matches) will reduce your rank.”
Whatever the case, it is smart for the VALORANT developers to not let players queue with teammates more than two divisions apart from themselves, but it's clear that something must be done to adjust how the matchmaking itself is being calculated. A fairly balanced match is of top importance in any type of ranked gameplay, but part of what has made VALORANT so infectious this early on is the social aspect of the game. Look for Riot Games to have a fix for this problem in the near future.
UPDATED 5/1 - Joseph Ziegler, VALORANT game director at Riot Games, has confirmed in a tweet that unrated games do not have an effect on how ranked matchmaking occurs after a player's initial rating is determined. "To dispel some myths: Taking info from your unrated play (both performance and wins) only determines the types of player we think you should play against to get rated," writes Ziegler. "Your wins and performance from there is up to you and what determines rank."
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