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Valorant boss says Riot “needs to do better” about player harassment

Valorant's executive producer says Riot needs to improve its response to in-game harassment, and that current actions are “not enough.”

Valorant EP says Riot Games "needs to do better" after harassment incident - Deadlock, an Agent in the multiplayer FPS with blonde hair.

Valorant executive producer Anna Donlon says Riot “needs to do better” in response to player harassment and in-game threats, and that its current suspension model is “not enough.” The comments come in response to a prominent incident of harassment shared by a Twitch streamer where serious threats of violence were made towards her by another player.

On Monday May 13, a prominent Valorant streamer shared a clip from her stream where she was threatened with violence by another player in her match. She quits out of the game as a result and then later notes on Twitter that she received an in-game warning and an experience penalty for leaving the match. Such cases of harassment over voice communications are unfortunately commonplace in many multiplayer games, with prominent Valorant players having highlighted the Riot game as a frequent offender.

“I’m sorry for not posting sooner, but please know I haven’t missed a word,” Donlon writes on Wednesday May 15. “This has been the top thing on my mind (a lot of our minds) since yesterday. It’s important to me that we lead with action first, so until we’d actually pressed the right buttons and made some necessary internal changes, I didn’t want to tweet out empty condolences when it’s on us to do the hard work here. I want to share some of my thoughts on the topic of player behavior in gaming at some point, but want to pull those thoughts together first.”

Valorant EP Anna Donlon: "I'm sorry for not posting sooner, but please know I haven't missed a word. This has been the top thing on my mind (a lot of our minds) since yesterday. It's important to me that we lead with action first, so until we'd actually pressed the right buttons and made some necessary internal changes, I didn't want to tweet out empty condolences when it's on us to do the hard work here. I want to share some of my thoughts on the topic of player behavior in gaming at some point, but want to pull those thoughts together first."

Responding to the affected streamer, Donlon says, “I’m so sorry you had to experience this. We’re taking actions against this account, but I also know that’s not enough. Our teams are always working on our behavior tools, but we have room to improve, and we will.” She adds, “I promise this means a lot to us and is a big priority.”

In response to another comment saying that many people face similar issues “every time they play” and that Riot should have communicated about this sooner, Donlon comments, “You’re not wrong. We have been taking actions and the systems have been improving, but we have a ways to go. We used to share updates on progress and haven’t in a while. We need to do better on both fronts.”

When asked about the potential for permanent bans for all accounts used by offenders, Donlon says, “We’ve actually considered this approach. There are some complexities we’re navigating, but it is for sure an option in the future.” With repeat offenders often making alt accounts in the free PC game, finding ways to track down and prevent such incidents is a high priority to ensure a more welcoming community for all.

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