Valorant has ranked play now

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Valorant ranked matchmaking has launched in North America, and Europe should get the addition shortly. The mode was teased in a recent patch, but Riot said it wanted to make sure everything was stable before flipping the switch.

Riot says it'll turn ranked play off "if things get weird," but unless that happens, those in the closed beta can select 'Competitive' from the Play menu to try it out.

Note that everything that happens in the beta is going to be wiped before Valorant launches this summer—all you'll get to keep is any premium currency you've purchased. The competitive playlist is strictly a testing ground.

Reach Immortal rank with these Valorant guides

(Image credit: Riot)

Valorant release date: When will it fully launch?
Valorant characters: All the hero abilities
Valorant ranks: How you'll be progressing
Valorant system requirements: Can you run it?
Valorant error codes: How to solve them
Valorant tips: Get more wins
Valorant beta: How to get in
Valorant guns: Damage, recoil patterns, and more

Here's something that doesn't need testing: The top rank in Valorant should not be called "Valorant." I'm not the first to make this observation, but how are we supposed to concisely talk about Valorant players at rank Valorant? Valorant rank Valorant players? Valorants? Both sound stupid!

Anyway, competitive game modes always inspire lots of opinions, so Riot should have plenty of feedback to work with. Does the matchmaking feel fair? Are highly skilled players being elevated out of low ranks quickly enough that less skilled players don't feel totally outmatched all the time? Is solo queuing fun or horrible? 

You can read about how Riot is approaching ranked play in a recent blog post. One important note is that it isn't just wins that will help you rank up. Personal performance and the decisiveness of your wins matters.

Another factor in the success of competitive Valorant will be how well Riot is able to get cheating under control. It was inevitable that people would try to cheat in Valorant—no popular competitive game is free from it—and Riot has been fairly open about the war it expects to wage against aimbotters and wallhackers. They're already in the game, so we'll see what happens from here.

If you're in the Valorant closed beta (and here's how to get into the Valorant beta if you're not), you'll have to play 20 unranked games before you're allowed to queue for competitive. If you try and it stops you, it'll tell you how many more unranked games you need to play.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.