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Ali Jones

League of Legends is getting Valorant's always-on Vanguard anti-cheat software

League of Legends.

Vanguard, the initially controversial anti-cheat software attached to Valorant, is coming to League of Legends.

In a preview ahead of the game's new season, head of League studio Andrei van Roon announced that Vanguard would be coming to League of Legends. In an accompanying press release, Riot said that the decision was "a response to the feedback around high number of bots in games, disruptive smurfs in Ranked, and an increase in scripting." As in Valorant, Vanguard implementation will allow for live matches to be terminated if cheating is detected, with ranked points being refunded to players affected.

Vanguard seems to have been pretty effective - I'm not a regular Valorant player, but while I don't imagine there's no cheating whatsoever in Riot's tactical shooter, it's rare - if ever - that I get to hear about it. That's likely because of the greatest controversy around Vanguard at launch: the fact that it's always on.

Vanguard runs in the background, booting up with your PC and working constantly - the Vanguard client tackles in-game cheater, but the 'kernel-mode' driver behind it is at work whenever your PC is on. The idea is that the anti-cheat will assess other programs on your PC, blocking them if they have a known vulnerability that could mess with its active anti-cheat systems. If you don't let Vanguard start up at the same time as Windows, then it won't trust your PC, and you won't be able to play Valorant, or, now, League of Legends.

At launch in particular, Vanguard was seen as too intrusive. Always-on technology is rarely popular, especially when there's the sense that it's policing what you can and can't do on your own hardware, and there were reports that Vanguard was getting in the way of software attached to keyboard and mouse control, and even tech designed to control the temperature of your PC. Since its launch in 2020, however, Riot has walked back the number of programs that its software interacts with. In the meantime, Valorant has gone from strength to strength, becoming a growing part of the global esports scene and a staple of Twitch, with anti-cheat concerns fading largely into the background. There'll likely be some teething issues with the LoL integration, but Riot's had plenty of practice ironing out those problems over the years.

Elsewhere, League of Legends' 2024 season will see some substantial overhauls, but the really exciting aspect of the LoL universe this year is the return of critically acclaimed animation Arcane Season 2. That will be partnered with the arrival of one of the show's characters within League of Legends itself, a first for the game.

This "forbidden" League of Legends build infinitely buffs almost every stat in the game, and it's probably going away forever next month.

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