Much had been made about the nature of Valorant’s anti-cheat software, Vanguard. Vanguard utilizes a kernel-level driver that loads on system startup and is always running in the background even when the game isn’t being played. The driver, entitled “vgk.sys,” runs on Ring 0 of the Windows kernel, which means it has elevated, admin-level privileges, and gives it low-level access to the system. This isn’t entirely uncommon though, as other anti-cheat software such as BattlEye and EasyAntiCheat also make use of kernel-level drivers to keep cheats at bay, but those don’t run on system startup.
All of this has understandably made people think twice about installing the game or letting it remain installed on their machines. Things were relatively quiet for a while, but recently, some of those concerns have started to come to fruition, as multiple users have begun revealing some bizarre issues that supposedly stem from Vanguard.
Until it gets so trash to the point where it blocks you from running your game better. pic.twitter.com/2klvYZ7tgT
— Eric “Silver” ❄️ (@SilverHelgaYT) May 6, 2020
One user reported that it’s interfering with their motherboard drivers, which consequently control their fan speeds. “My computer now sounds like a jet engine and I can’t do anything while Vanguard is running.” Other users reported that Vanguard was preventing MSI Afterburner from running, while some reported that it prevented them from using their mouse and keyboard because Vanguard was blocking the software. “It fully blocked my keyboard and mouse, and majority of my auto start applications weren’t launching. I have a G Pro Wireless, but even plugging in my old finalmouse gave me the ‘vanguard has blocked an application’ notification,” the user said.
It gets even worse, as some players even reported seeing the dreaded Blue Screen of Death. They did state that they “can’t prove this was Vanguard, but playing Valorant was the only change prior to the issue. Along with other reports definitely has me assuming Vanguard is the issue.” These are just a few of the problems that players are experiencing, and it’s especially upsetting since cheaters still exist in the game, despite all the advanced measures in place.
It’s important to remember that these claims are anecdotal, but it’s rather jarring that so many people are reporting similar issues, with Vanguard being a common denominator. Time will tell whether or not these issues get resolved as the software matures, but in the meantime, it might be best to exercise some caution.
Max is a freelance writer based in Vancouver, Washington. Armed with a BS in Game Design, he is mainly focused on covering Call of Duty, Legends of Runeterra, and streamer culture for Level Push.