What do 128-tick servers mean for Valorant's competitive play?
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Riot Games’ debut first-person-shooter game, Valorant, is set to feature some of the best default competitive settings upon release. Valorant devs boast the game will host 128-tick servers, <35 ms for players near most major cities, and highly developed netcode. When it comes to first-person shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) and Valorant, server tick rates are of utmost importance. Riot Games’ proactive measures in ensuring high tick rates highlight how the company prioritizes competitive play.

What are tick rates?

Tick rate (measured in Hz) is the frequency with which a server “updates” what the player is seeing. For instance, a server tick rate of 64 means the server sends packets of information, such as player position and object location, upward of 64 times in a single second. Therefore, the higher a server’s tick rate, the better it is.

128-tick vs. 64-tick

High-frequency servers (128-tick) are a luxury in most competitive games. Valve servers default to 64-tick, while 128 servers are accessible, for the most part, only through FACEIT, ESEA, and LANs. Implementing 128-tick servers means that players will receive basically twice as much information as someone would on a 64-tick server.

Higher tick rate servers “see” more information than lesser ones, and this is the underlying cause of “no reg.” No reg is when a player shoots his weapon aiming at an enemy, and for whatever reason, his bullet does no damage. What’s happened is that the player shot at a time when a tick refreshed and wasn’t registered by the server. Increasing the tick rate decreases the chance that movement by objects in the game will “pass through” the server unseen.

Tick rate affects the movement of projectiles and utility as well. The difference is so obvious in the fact that there are entirely different line-ups for utility usage in CSGO depending on whether the player is on a 64- or 128-tick server.

Valorant raising the bar

Valorant tick rate 128 tick rate 128-tick vs. 64-tick gameplay riot games

For years, competitive players have urged Valve to transition its in-game servers from 64-tick to 128. Implementing high tick rate servers puts Valorant‘s competitive integrity a step or two above Valve’s from the get-go. There’s no need for players to look to third-party sites to access quality competitive servers. Furthermore, the accessibility of 128 servers for all users means Riot developers are taking careful consideration to optimize the game for computers all across the spectrum. Their high-frequency servers, low latency, and netcode are sure to bring smooth gameplay and increase competitive integrity for all players.

Minna Adel Rubio is an esports journalist with an interest in first-person-shooter games. She specializes in class-based, arena, and tactical shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valorant, Overwatch, and Team Fortress 2. Additionally, Minna is a senior CS:GO guides writer at Dignitas and a graduate student. Catch her on Twitter for memes and more content!