- Is there really a hit reg problem in Valorant? What exactly is the issue and how is it affecting play? Hint, it mostly isn’t hit reg.
- TL;DR: there are clearly some hit reg issues with the game, but a lot of what at first appear to be hit-reg errors look a lot more like mild-latency, bad hit-box/model misalignment, or false animation issues to me. So, there are hit-reg issues in Valorant, but they aren’t nearly as bad as some are claiming.
First up, I made a mistake in my last article: I said the hit-reg related issues would be fixed by this week because there was no way Valorant would release “Ranked” when there were still issues affecting gameplay. Well, I was wrong. I’m sorry. But I’m going to make up for it now with the most comprehensive review so far of the hit-reg problem in Valorant, and the surprising answer is that these mostly aren’t hit-reg issues.
Are there actually hit-reg problems?
To start, we have to ask the most basic question: is there really a hit reg problem in Valorant? It’s always possible some players think they made a headshot when they narrowly missed, that they were moving when they fired, or even that the occasional problem is being blown out of proportion. So what’s the rub?
Two things point us towards the issue being real (besides the numerous clips you can find online). The first is that a quick search of valorant hit reg on social media brings up hundreds of comments from the last week alone, almost all of which are negative. This tells us two things: it’s happening to a lot of players and they are annoyed enough about it that they are trying to get someone’s attention.
The second, far more reliable measure, is having a look at google search queries, where we can see that players looking for information about “hit reg” in Valorant has hit its all time high. There were spikes in mid-April and towards the end of May, but searches hit a peak high over the last two weeks.
This is objective reliable data, and it means that there’s definitely something going on here. There absolutely is a problem, and at this point that can’t be denied. But as we’ll see in a minute, this isn’t necessarily a hit-reg problem, and the issue of hit-reg might be being somewhat overblown.
So what are the issues and how are they affecting play?
Ok, so now we’ve established that there really is a problem, let’s get into the what’s really going on here and what that problem actually is. My suspicion is that we’re actually seeing a few different problems, some to do with hit reg and some more innocuous issues that have nothing to do with it but are getting lumped in with it anyway – but I’ll get onto that later.
A number of clips are doing the rounds, and this post on reddit has received a lot of attention with over 10K upvotes. What we can see are numerous instances of bullets connecting, blood-animations being activated, and the post-death graphic showing either an incorrect number of headshots, body damage when the tracer animation played on the head, or simply no damage at all.
This is deeply frustrating and I’m not surprised players are getting frustrated. Something is wrong here and whatever it is, Valorant need to fix it (and comment on it publicly) because it’s going to damage their relationship with the player-base and turn players away from the game.
Are these hit-reg issues or something else?
Now, I hinted earlier that my suspicion is that a lot of what are being called hit-reg issues by players are actually something else. Open up that reddit video and lets do a play-by-play.
Clip 1: The first few bullets actually miss completely. Only the final bullet is actually a headshot. My guess is that by this time the player is already dead and that the bullet never actually gets sent off. I guess we could maybe call this a latency issue, but it’s not hit-reg. Conclusion: not hit-reg.
Clip2: Again, the first spray of bullets just misses, and by time that final shot hits the head my call is the player is dead and the server is just taking its own sweet time to let the player know about it. Conclusion: not hit-reg.
Clip 3. With all of these it’s hard because the video may not show the exact reality of the situation, but my call on this is it’s a body shot (shoulder to be precise), with the massive blood splatter confusing the issue. Conclusion: not hit-reg.
Clip 4: Now this one is legit. I’m almost certain I see at least one good headshot here that fails to register. What makes it look ever worse (I think – it’s hard to be sure) is that three shots that barely miss the head seem to be causing blood animations when they should just fly into the wall behind (though I’m not 100% on this). Conclusion: 25% hit-reg and 75% bad blood animation/model.
Clip 5: I’ll stop at this one, but I think you can more easily see what I mean by the blood/hit animation being the main issue in some of these clips. That shot clearly hits the enemy shoulder, but the enemy crouches into the blood splatter making it look like he is getting a successful headshot animation. Conclusion: bad blood/hit animation.
So, as I’ve hopefully shown here, a lot of the problems players are noting and (rightly) becoming frustrated over just don’t have anything to do with hit-reg. This isn’t me calling out the player in those clips. One way or another, the game is telling him he has a headshot that isn’t registering and its tilting. I’d be equally frustrated!
So does the game have hit-reg issues or not?
I’m going to stick my neck out here and say that in a good half of these complaints by players we are looking at a kind of latency issue. The player has been killed and get’s off one last shot that hits the head but it’s too late, he’s already dead. The other issues could be a bad overlay of hitbox and model. I’m just guessing here but it looks to me like there’s an invisible part of the model that doesn’t overlap with the hitbox and it’s causing blood/hit animations where they shouldn’t be.
So on one level, these aren’t technically hit-reg issues and that’s good. That means that in a lot of these clips if the player had successfully made the headshot it would have counted, and that isn’t nearly as impactful on gameplay as genuine shots not counting. But it’s still a really serious issue. If you get three headshot animations in the middle of a firefight you are going to stop shooting that enemy and transfer your spray to the other player… except those weren’t really headshots, and now you’re dead. And that is a serious gameplay issue.
With all that said, it doesn’t mean we aren’t also seeing hit-reg issues here and there. That clip from Obey Para shows two very clear headshots in my opinion. So my point isn’t that there aren’t hit reg issues. There are. But a lot of what appear to be shots not registering is actually a combination of latency and bad models or animations. I’m also not trying to say these other issues aren’t serious. They aren’t nearly as impactful as hit-reg, but they’re still bloody annoying, they do affect gameplay and they need to be fixed.
So If you slow this down My First shot Literally shots on the viper I Hit her in the head, also hit a couple shots after but still no headshot. Still personally feel like hit reg needs to be worked on :/ Literally can see where it hits but doesn't count @PlayVALORANT pic.twitter.com/8e8lEdb0FE— Obey Para ?? (@NaParamore) June 16, 2020
How long do I have to wait for a hit reg fix and what can i do now?
My big worry was that they’d been trying to fix hit-reg for the last few months, put out two patches and still hadn’t been able to fix it with countless players still being affected. This would have suggested some deep problem with the fundamentals of the design. Thankfully, most of these problems seem to be related to other issues, which means I have hope they’ll get it done with the next patch (and they may have dealt with some of the older hit-reg issues already with these improvements being masked by other issues).
If you feel like you are being particularly affected by this it may be that you have issues with your internet connection or setup, so get your connection info on screen: go to your settings menu video subheading, and click stats where you can enable connection stats and check for things like packet loss.
If this isn’t your problem then you may well be experiencing issues like the false animations and overextended models discussed in this article. While there isn’t an actual fix for this right now you can significantly mitigate the impact by aiming at the centre of the head or throwing a few extra bullets at your enemies. Just being aware of this problem should enable you to spot the false animations when you are playing and adjust your play on the fly. Good luck!
To conclude . . .
So to bring this all together, Valorant does suffer from some hit-reg issues, but they aren’t nearly as serious as some players believe, despite what other esports publications might be saying…! What we do appear to be seeing, however, are some very mild, non-gameplay affecting latency, and some more serious headshot animations and invisible model overlap problems (I could of course be wrong, but we’ll be reaching out to Valorant to see if we can get any confirmation of this).
I also don’t want to appear to be downplaying the hit-reg issues that do exist. For a game that wants to be the next big FPS e-sport, any significant gameplay affecting issues or RNG are totally unacceptable. The good news is that the Valorant team do seem to be proactive in rectifying these issues, and the game is still just a few weeks old. They’ve done significantly better than a number of other games that shall remain nameless, so for now I’m going to remain patient. But as I’ve said before, where some improvement is necessary is communicating what’s going on to the player-base with these issues: identifying the problems, letting everyone know a fix is on the way and that they’re working hard to resolve them. On the other hand, if they did that I wouldn’t have anything to write about…
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