There’s anti-cheat software, and then there’s the program Valorant’s got under its hood. When the game’s closed beta first launched, the clandestine anti-cheat was always running in the background. Now players can disable it when they’re not playing Riot’s 60 per cent more wizard-y version of Counter-Strike, but it’s started to cause other issues. That is to say, if your PC is overheating, it might be Valorant’s fault.
Some players are reporting that the controversial anti-cheat software, called Vanguard, is interfering with software and drivers tied to PC hardware like cooling systems, keyboards, mice, and GPUs. One player detailed their struggle in a Reddit thread with over 20,000 upvotes..
“I just spent the last 3 hours figuring out why I couldn’t get into Windows because my keyboard and mouse wouldn’t work,” they wrote. “Just before that, I started smelling hot plastic—my graphics card was running +90°C because again, Vanguard disabled my cooling software (my PC case got very bad airflow, I have to decrease my GPU performance to keep it cool enough). Vanguard really needs to prevent us from launching the game while X software is active—and [it needs to ask] us to close it, even if we need to reboot just after—instead of disabling everything silently.”
Other users chimed in with similar stories involving many of the same sorts of PC components. A Kotaku tipster, Jonah Wallschlaeger, said Vanguard has also done a number on the software he uses to control his PC’s external lighting.
“I couldn’t get my RGB software to work until I chatted up support on Monday,” Wallschlaeger told Kotaku in an email. “And the guy just said, ‘uninstall Valorant’ without even asking if I had it.”
In the Reddit thread, Riot anti-cheat lead Paul “RiotArkem” Chamberlain provided a brief, albeit nonspecific response to players’ concerns.
“We’re working on ways to make the experience better,” he wrote. “Our current notification pop-ups aren’t as good as they could be and we’re looking for ways to give you more control over how Vanguard works.”
He also noted that players should expect improvements “before launch.” As of now, Valorant does not have a firm launch date. It remains in closed beta. As with all other elements of the game, its anti-cheat program is a work in progress. Kotaku reached out to Riot for more specifics, but a representative said the company doesn’t have much else to say beyond what’s already out there.
Despite general sentiment suggesting that it’s overly invasive, Riot seems committed to staying the course with its anti-cheat initiative.
“We’re happy to do anything we can to make this smoother for everyone as long as it doesn’t give an opening for cheaters,” wrote Chamberlain in the Reddit thread.