As part of a currently 1,700 comment-long Reddit thread about Vanguard, the anti-cheat system that protects Valorant, Riot’s Paul Chamberlain – known as RiotArkem on Reddit – explained why it is important to have the anti-cheat kick in the moment you turn on your PC. In short: it is impossible for cheaters to run any cheat software before the anti-cheat loads up, which is a common way cheaters exploit other anti-cheat solutions that only run when a game is active. And no, it’s not spyware.
“Vanguard contains a driver component called vgk.sys (similar to other anti-cheat systems), it’s the reason why a reboot is required after installing. Vanguard doesn’t consider the computer trusted unless the Vanguard driver is loaded at system startup (this part is less common for anti-cheat systems),” said Chamberlain.
“This is good for stopping cheaters because a common way to bypass anti-cheat systems is to load cheats before the anti-cheat system starts and either modify system components to contain the cheat or to have the cheat tamper with the anti-cheat system as it loads,” he added. “Running the driver at system startup time makes this significantly more difficult.”
Importantly, Chamberlain emphasises that even though Vanguard is constantly running while your PC is on, it “does not collect or send any information about your computer back to us. Any cheat detection scans will be run by the non-driver component only when the game is running.” Essentially, while Vanguard is constantly running, it is only active while Valorant is active.
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It’s understandable why people are wary of a new piece of software running constantly in the background of their PC; that’s effectively the basic recipe for spyware. We’re all concerned about companies tracking our digital footprints and gathering data about us, and so it’s easy to be suspicious when new tech looks akin to what we’ve been told to avoid. In this case, however, it looks like Riot’s intentions are purely on ensuring Valorant is free of cheaters.
For more on Valorant, check out our review-in-progress of the newly launched 5v5 shooter from the studio behind League of Legends. And if you’re in the closed beta yourself, then check out our Valorant tips and tricks guide.
Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer. You can follow him on Twitter.