Good news, Viper mains! The poison-themed, gas-emitting agent is slated for more buffs in the game’s future updates.
She long since been relegated to a niche pick upon the game’s official launch, although Riot devs has assured the player community that more buffs will soon be on the way to improve the Agent’s standing in the current meta.
Defining the meta
The most recent Valorant updates have changed the game’s meta, with Sage not being a crucial pick as she used to and Breach becoming more powerful.
However, Viper remained in the same status as she once were— despite a couple of buffs.
The poisonous agent has been buffed in patch 1.04 update in July, where some of her abilities were given a boost. The patch 1.07 update at early September also enabled Viper to set up her Toxic Screen in the pre-round phase.
Although these improvements were designed to improve Viper’s pick rate, the numbers remained underwhelming to date.
After the latest 1.08 patch, devs outlined how Viper is currently making a strong showing— though the Valorant player base took issue with Riot’s rather “patient” approach to improve the Agent.
Altombre, a Valorant developer, spoke about the matter with a lengthy response on the official Valorant subreddit, and confirmed more changes are on the way for the poisonous agent in the next updates:
“We expected Viper to be stronger than she was due to a couple of prolific Viper players internally,”
“Viper has underperformed for quite some time, despite a series of fairly substantial buffs.”
Starting from Valorant’s launch, the agent’s appeal fell behind Omen and Brimstone under the Controller category.
Her general pick rate isn’t improving gradually as Riot intends it to be, but the devs hope that the next in-game patches will fix that.
“We will continue to make changes to the Agent to get her into a good spot… while she is improving steadily, she’s not there yet. We’re actively playtesting further buffs to ship.”
The Riot developer explained how the team prefers a more “measured and methodical change” instead of “large, sweeping ones” in terms of giving Valorant characters a buff.
Their definition of balance is purely through data, rather than gut feels, as the team aims to bring characters into the spotlight somehow without “breaking the competitive scene.”
Take for instance how Breach was given a significant buff and how it changed the game’s current meta as most players know it.
Although the agent is still played more at the pro-level, “Breach is actually still the weakest Agent in the game” in matchmaking.
“This may seem like Breach got one big buff that catapulted him to viability, but for matchmaking, he’s still in the same place as Viper currently.”
Bottomline, the balancing decision Riot has to make is a meticulous, delicate one.
A slight Viper buff could in turn make her dominate and overwhelm Valorant’s competitive ladder, hence they need to be extra careful.
“We have a responsibility to our community to make measured changes that we feel we understand and will positively impact our game overall, and these higher burden of coordination agents make that a very tough line to tread at times while we’re still learning how changes manifest in the matchmaking scene of our game.”
Viper mains need not to worry though, as more changes are on the way to improve the agent’s current skill set and pick rate.
“We know she needs work, we just want to ensure we’re making the right changes to maintain her identity and push her into viability without warping the game in unhealthy ways.”