The company announced today that Riot will begin recording voice conversations on Valorant for moderation purposes. Other than not using voice chat, there is no other way to log out.
“We know disruptive behavior using our voice chat is a concern for a lot of players, and we’re committed to addressing it more effectively,” the developer said. “In order for us to take action against players who use voice comms to harass others, use hate speech, or otherwise disrupt your experience, we need to know what those players are saying.”
It’s no secret that multiplayer games can turn into a nasty space. In every multiplayer shooter I play, toxicity is a constant, and the Valorant is one of the worst. During the pre-beta launch, the Riot UX designer posted a video on Twitter, documenting his harassment on Valorant. In response to this tweet, Valorant executive producer Anna Donlon promised to find a “long-term solution” to help curb toxicity.
“There is a major problem in competitive gaming ‘culture’ right now when it comes to voice comms,” she wrote. “If you don’t know that, then you likely haven’t suffered the type of abuse in-game that many people suffer. Or, you just don’t care.
“I read and listen to the behaviors people report. I hear it myself in games. Stop telling me to ‘just mute.’ How about the abusers ‘just mute’ themselves? This is a meaningful step, one of many we’ll all need to take.”
Technically, you can choose not to record, but you must completely turn off voice chat to perform this operation (this is not a feature that you must coordinate in the teamwork FPS to win). If Riot takes action on a report against you and sees your voice record, that data will be provided to you and then deleted after the report is closed, similar to the way the company currently handles text chats.
Recording voice chats are not common in video games. All major multiplayer games record text chats, but voice chats are generally unsupervised (and can become a real emergency group for them). Considering that the PlayStation 5 can also record and moderate voice conversations at parties, this approach may become increasingly common.
I have always believed that, voice chat, although more harmful than text chat, has been left unmoderated. So far, gaming operators have only effectively monitored half of the ways players abuse each other. Knowing that Riot is recording my voice is nothing unusual, I already have an expectation that everyone can record my multiplayer game (and my voice) at any time.
So far, from what I’ve seen, the player’s response has been positive. In addition to this major change, Riot said it is exploring “other methods,” which it believes will improve in-game interaction.