Hold on to your TPMs, Riot’s anti-cheat Vanguard is coming to League of Legends cover image

Hold on to your TPMs, Riot’s anti-cheat Vanguard is coming to League of Legends

The Riot anti-cheat Vanguard is coming to League of Legends, and while that’s a net good it may lock some players out of playing the MOBA.

There was a flurry of announcements from Riot today about the future of League of Legends. Ranging from gameplay improvements to a new season of Arcane, there was a bit of everything to mark the game's 15th anniversary. However, of particular interest is the announcement that Vanguard, Riot's anti-cheat rootkit, will be required to play League of Legends.

In a release from Riot, the developer says the addition of Vanguard is "a response to the feedback around high number of bots in games, disruptive smurfs in Ranked, and an increase in scripting." However, it comes with the hidden consequence of Vanguard's oppressive ecosystem. This includes a requirement of being on at all times, eating resources, and in some cases keeping players with older hardware from playing.

And by players I mean 'me.' How much do y'all know about TPM protocols?

Vanguard League of Legends bound

"Riot Vanguard is Riot Games’ custom game security software, designed to uphold the highest levels of competitive integrity for our offerings," according to the Riot website. "Riot Vanguard consists of a client that runs while VALORANT is active, as well as the usage of a kernel mode driver."

The very fact that the anti-cheat exists at the kernel level and is on at all times is one of many negatives against Vanguard. The counter-argument is that cheating is an ever-evolving monster. By that logic, what better way to fight it than at the source? However, that means sacrifices in privacy and resources on the part of the player.

One of those requirements includes a specific TPM (Trusted Platform Module) module. In layman's terms, this is a hardware-level safety motherboard feature. We could get into the weeds about what this means, but simply put it's a number generator. Basically, think of it as two-factor authentication but for your hardware. This same protocol is a new requirement for upgrading and updating to Windows 11.

Which is why I have been unable to upgrade to W11, or play VALORANT... and soon will lose the ability to play League of Legends. Depending on the age of your motherboard you'll be locked out based on your TPM. In the case of my own rig, I found myself unable to play VALORANT once Vanguard required TPM 2.0 to operate.

Old systems, beware

Consider this a word to the wise: If you don't want Vanguard to interrupt your League of Legends play then it may be time to upgrade. There are side-steps to TPM protocols, but in my experience the mileage varied. There's no ETA on when Vanguard comes to League of Legends but we'll keep you updated.

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