After Riot Games’ closed beta release of Valorant in early April, the online gaming community has taken a massive liking for the first-person shooter multiplayer. The gameplay’s aspects have drawn comparisons to Valve’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Blizzard’s Overwatch.
But at the same time, toxicity, chat abuse, and sexual harassment are plaguing Valorant like its online multiplayer counterparts. While in the physical world, it’s easier to hold the perpetrators accountable, in the virtual world, the abuse goes vastly unpunished. The game is still in the beta phase, but these harassment issues are significant already.
Just last month, Anna Donlon, an executive on Valorant, responded to a video of harassment in the game. She also admitted to avoiding solo-queuing for the same reason. Now, another video of the in-game rampant abuse suffered by female gamers has surfaced. But in heart-warming news, many people have come out to support the victim.
On May 14, League of Legends streamer Marti (onmarti on Twitch) posted a video of her encountering the toxicity in Valorant. It all started after she called out two toxic players for the crass behavior, but ended up inciting more. Eventually, she had to mute them. “They were being sexist/racist for the full three rounds. Please let me enjoy the game in peace and not have to let me worry about it just bc I’m a woman,” she wrote.
Before Marti defuses the bomb and wins the round, one of them says, “Yeah, mute me f***ing p**sy, can’t handle the heat. What a f***ing woman. Textbook woman can’t handle the heat.”
The other player replies, “Yeah, we don’t diffuse, we suck it off, so it stops.“. Speaking to the streamer’s boyfriend, he continued, “Kick that b**ch to the curb, dawg. She’s disrespectful as f**k. If she’s not complying to your every demand, then what is she doing,” as he uses his spell to teamkill after blocking her.
Marti concludes, “This is why girls don’t speak while we play Valorant.”
Broadcast host and interviewer for League of Legends Champion Series, Ovilee May, was apologetic that Marti had to endure the abuse.
Ross O’Donovan, better known as RubberNinja, took a jab at the toxic players.
Twitch streamer, QuarterJade, was disgusted at Riot Games’ inaction regarding such occurrences.
C9 Mateus (@Portilho), Senior Social Media Manager for Overwatch teams like Cloud9, London Spitfire, and British Hurricane, was livid.
Retired Brazilian League of Legends player, Mateus “yeTz” Vieira, who now streams on Twitch, had a similar reaction.
Twitter user, Darian underlined how a ‘textbook woman’ won the round, nonetheless.
Another user, Hulu, joined in her support.
The League of Legends streamer intends to keep using voice coms and encouraged others to do the same. She posted the clip, hoping to get Riot to take necessary action. It is a common problem girls face while playing multiplayer games. Instead of functioning as a unit, they have to resort to muting their toxic teammates. All that abuse ruins the experience for many gamers.
As of now, Riot hasn’t addressed the issue yet. Like most games, Valorant also has a reporting system. However, the real question is, how effective is it?
Despite assurances that the devs are working on the issues plaguing the game, toxic behavior and sexism still prevail. It appears Valorant has much to do yet, especially for female gamers. Hopefully, the harassment is dealt with appropriately sooner than later.
What are your thoughts about the rampant sexism and abusive behavior on Valorant, and how can these issues be solved? Let us know below!