Riot Games is taking action against Valorant players that have offensive in-game IDs with its new Forced Name Change system. The system requires both a manual report from another player and an automated check from Riot before any action is taken.
The move aims to create “a sportsmanlike environment” and foster “respect” between players. Valorant also promises “swifter justice” when players report offensive names. The process will be entirely automated: reported IDs are passed through a profanity filter, and if deemed offensive, the offending player will be forced to change their Riot ID on their next login to the client.
While the rules are likely intentionally vague so players cannot look for easy loopholes, it seems that general profanity is allowed, but hate speech and slurs will result in a Forced Name Change. However, without any human element in the process, it’s easy to see where things could go wrong.
Riot hopes this change will make Valorant “truly welcome for all”, but many replies to the announcement highlight wider issues of abuse via text and voice chat in-game – especially in Valorant ranked matches. While there is a report option dedicated to the problem, it’s clear that players don’t think Riot is doing enough to stamp it out.
As @RiotSuperCakes has said, keeping a sportsmanlike environment where players respect one another is one of our top priorities. Today we're launching Forced Name Change for in-game Riot IDs.
— VALORANT (@PlayVALORANT) September 22, 2020
Hopefully, this move will eliminate the most offensive names from Valorant matches – but it will require the automated system to be completely foolproof to be effective.
The other question is whether this is tackling the root of the problem – it’s undoubtedly a positive change, but is it enough? Players with slurs or hate speech in their IDs are surely more likely to repeat those words over voice chat or over text comms, so perhaps a stronger punishment would further deter these players.