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Riot changes Valorant's ranking system to be 'much easier to understand, more fair'

Valorant Skye
(Image credit: Riot Games)

Sweeping changes to Valorant's ranked system should make it easier to see where you stack up when Episode 2 (aka season 2) kicks off tomorrow. This week's release introduces a new battle pass and hero Yoru—a tricksy Japanese duellist designed to dominate 1v1 face-offs. But Riot has also been doing some tinkering under Valorant's hood, making dozens of minor changes to Ranked play in an effort to make everything fairer and easier to understand.

Most of these changes are minor, but hope to add a little more clarity to where you stand. Progression arrows have been ditched in favour of a progress bar showing how close you are to ranking up. Rank Rating (RR) values have also been tweaked, and a demotion protection system will now give you one last chance to salvage your rank at 0RR before crashing down a stage.

"Our current rank system doesn’t give you a great picture of where you stand in between ranks, how much you should generally expect to gain match to match, and why you are moving," Riot writes in the patch notes. "With these changes we hope the rank system is much easier to understand, more fair, and it's harder to quickly lose ranks for those days when your game is off."

Valorant will also be getting regional leaderboards for the top 500 "Radiant" players, as well as "Immortal" players—the three previous Immortal ranks now compressed into one rank representing the top 1% of players in each region. You'll need at least 50 competitive games to qualify for a spot, while those already on the leaderboards will need to play at least one game a week to keep their place.

Rank rewards have also been added for Episode 1, giving out increasingly-shiny Gun Buddies based on your highest rank attained over the past episode. Episode 2 will feature similar goodies, and a revamped info page will now show you a peek at what you can expect from any given rank.

Episode 1 ends tonight at 11pm for all regions. Should all go to plan, Episode 2 will begin with patch 2.0 sometime tomorrow. Valorant was our favourite multiplayer game of 2020, and this week's rollover should set the shooter up for another strong year.

Natalie Clayton

20 years ago, Nat played Jet Set Radio Future for the first time—and she's not stopped thinking about games since. Joining PC Gamer in 2020, she comes from three years of freelance reporting at Rock Paper Shotgun, Waypoint, VG247 and more. Embedded in the European indie scene and having herself developed critically acclaimed small games like Can Androids Pray, Nat is always looking for a new curiosity to scream about—whether it's the next best indie darling, or simply someone modding a Scotmid into Black Mesa. She's also played for a competitive Splatoon team, and unofficially appears in Apex Legends under the pseudonym Horizon.