Riot Games have been experimenting with the ranked ecosystem of Valorant before launching the game into the global competitive circuit. However, with the latest changes in the ranked system of the game, we are looking at a change in the entire rank distribution.
If you take a look at the rank distribution in Valorant from back in August 2020, you would see that the middle-tier ranks are where the graphs are the highest, with fewer players on either end of the spectrum.
However, if you take a look at the rank distribution right now, you would see that the lowest tiers have the highest concentration of players, with the number of players decreasing as we move up the hierarchy.
While this distribution makes perfect sense, the fact that the player concentration at Iron 1 is higher than the others by a pretty considerable margin sows the seeds of doubt.
Now, as for the situation back in August, the reason why the middle-tier ranks have the highest concentration of players is that most players get stuck there.
However, there does not seem to be much reason for that many players to remain at the lowest end of the ranking system, as is the situation right now. But what can be the reason for it?
A major reason for this could be the abundant use of Smurf accounts in the game. For the uninitiated, a Smurf account is a backup account that a player has, which is at a lower level/rank in a game.
The reason why many players are using Smurf accounts is to play with their friends who are at a lower rank. Riot released a patch a while ago that made it so that players can only play with those who are at most 3 ranks higher or lower than theirs.
Therefore, playing with a Smurf account lets players team up with their friends while giving their team an edge since he/she belongs to a higher skill-set.
Another major reason behind the concentration of players towards the lower-end of the rank spectrum is the rank demotion system. Players now have to struggle to maintain their ranks, lest they will be demoted to lower ranks.
This concentration poses its own problems. Many players from the lower ranks have complained that either their teammates have carried them in a match, or they have been brutally defeated by players who are on a whole new level but belong to the same rank as them.
While the issue of player demotion cannot be helped, the issue of Smurf accounts might turn into a persistent problem in Valorant. Riot Games should take notice of it soon and try to nip this in the bud.