‘We haven’t confirmed a single instance of Vanguard bricking anyone’s hardware’ after the League of Legends rollout, Riot says, but there are certainly issues for some players

In response to multiple complaints about hardware glitches following the rollout of the Vanguard anti-cheat software to League of Legends, Riot Games said it has “not confirmed a single instance of Vanguard bricking someone’s hardware,” but acknowledged that some BIOS settings can be a headache cause for a small number of players.

The controversial Vanguard anti-cheat software has been live in Riot’s shooter Valorant since the game launched in 2020, but only came to League of Legends earlier this week, as part of the 14.9 patch. Reports of serious issues soon followed, with players saying their PCs crashed, got stuck in restart loops, and in some cases became “bricked” (completely unusable) after the update.

In response to the complaints, Riot said on Reddit that “the rollout has gone well overall” and that “less than 0.03% of players have reported issues with Vanguard.” It also said that after resolving “some of the key discussions” about PC bricking, it has confirmed that Vanguard was not actually the cause.

“About ~0.7% of the player base bypassed Microsoft’s enforcement for TPM 2.0 when they installed Windows 11, but Vanguard’s rollout now requires those players to make it possible to play the game,” Riot said. “This requires a change to a BIOS setting, which varies by manufacturer. Vanguard does not and cannot make changes to the BIOS itself.”

TPM (Trusted Platform Module) 2.0 is a security feature made mandatory for Windows 11, sort of. There was initial confusion over whether “older” PCs would support this and whether TPM 2.0 was even needed prior to the Windows 11 rollout, and then Microsoft further muddied the waters by telling people how to bypass it completely while upgrade from Windows 10 to Win11. As we noted at the time, the whole thing was confusing and frustrating, but it did open the way to a Windows 11 upgrade for people who didn’t have or hadn’t enabled TPM 2.0 support on their PCs.

Unfortunately, that road has now led here. Microsoft allowed people to bypass TPM 2.0, but Riot did not: the League of Legends support page states that “if TPM 2.0 is disabled in Windows 11, League of Legends will not start correctly and players will be greeted with a VAN9001 error.” “

According to Riot, complaints about hardware bricking are rare and arise from a number of very specific scenarios. Many motherboard manufacturers ask users to switch to UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) mode when TPM 2.0 is enabled, but if your Windows 11 installation is on a Master Boot Record (MBR) partition, it won’t boot when that switch is made: to support UEFI mode, Windows 11 must be installed on a GPT partition (GUID Partition Table). The good news is that Microsoft offers a free tool that can convert MBR drives to GPT without the need for reformatting in most cases.

There is also an issue with Secure Boot, a technology that ensures that unvalidated software and firmware are not loaded. Vanguard uses the Secure Boot feature for Valorant, but Riot chose not to enable it for Vanguard in League because so many players of that game have older PCs (remember, League has been around since 2009) that have compatibility issues with Secure Boot to have.

For example, Riot said that if a GPU’s option ROM is unsigned, enabling Secure Boot (as at least one player apparently did) will prevent anything from displaying. If that happens, the only solutions are to connect your monitor to your integrated graphics card (if you have one) and then disable Secure Boot in the BIOS, or take out your CMOS battery to reset everything to the default settings.

As an old-timer, this all has a very ‘yeah, PC gaming’ feel to it, but for anyone unfamiliar with the joys of wrangling over jumpers to avoid IRQ conflicts (that is, most people), it’s a very real roadblock (and annoyance) to encountering any of these problems. Finding solutions is a challenge in itself, especially if your PC isn’t working, and even if possible solutions are found, fiddling with the BIOS settings and disconnecting the CMOS batteries isn’t something everyone is comfortable with . As one Redditor put it in response to Riot’s guidelines: “Holy hell, how is a casual player supposed to understand this?”

Update: After removing the CMOS battery and resetting the battery I was finally able to get into the BIOS and fix the PC while Vanguard was running (you have UEFI and TPM2.0 both enabled in the BIOS otherwise your PC won't load ).  However, other computer is still bricked.

Update: After removing the CMOS battery and resetting the battery I was finally able to get into the BIOS and fix the PC while Vanguard was running (you have UEFI and TPM2.0 both enabled in the BIOS otherwise your PC won’t load ). However, other computer is still bricked.

(Image credit: LSXYZ9 (Twitter))

Riot addressed this possibility in a blog post a few weeks ago, prior to Vanguard’s arrival in League, saying that while Microsoft’s enforcement of the TPM 2.0 requirement in Windows 11 is “relatively weak and easily circumvented.” Riot chose to take a more serious approach: “So a select number of Windows 11 users will find their ability to play League affected,” Riot wrote, “especially if you modify registry keys to bypass this requirement.”

And apparently there is no intention to walk it back. In response to a player who said the only option to continue playing League is to downgrade to Windows 10 or buy a brand new PC, Riot simply said, “It is required to have TPM 2.0 enabled on Windows 11.”

As for why Riot has chosen to add a new and highly unpopular anti-cheat technology to a 15-year-old game, the studio said in the pre-release blog post that while League is “a fairly safe video game” , scripting a persistent problem: Globally, 1 in 15 games were found to contain a botter or scripter in recent months, and Riot said this percentage is much higher in some regions.

“Improved client security and reduced scripting means the League team can utilize more mechanically rewarding designs such as combos, timing windows, and executions,” Riot said. “Ranked stats won’t be as poisoned by scripters, making it easier to balance high risk/reward champions, and games ruined by cheaters can eventually be ‘undone’, returning LP to those affected.

“I know it’s hard to be excited about the new anti-cheat, but this is the hard part. From here it’s all up and down the right side.” At least for most players.

In the same thread, Riot said Vanguard “doesn’t screenshot your entire computer/multiple monitors,” although it does require a photo of game clients “for suspicious activity related to ESP hacks,” something almost all of which was said to cheats. software does, and it is fully compliant with regional privacy laws.

I’ve reached out to Riot for more information on how it plans to address these issues in the future and will update if I receive a response.

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