As a nod to Riot Games’ 10th anniversary, this megalomaniac game developer braced itself and its beloved gamer community for a one-of-a-kind experience that now spawns beyond more than just League of Legends.
Riot Games is expanding beyond one dominating MOBA title to breaching new genres for competition, such as the classic first-person shooter (FPS).
Initially known as Project A, as Riot Games would have identified it, is the first-ever “First Person Shooter” developed under the corporation. Later on, the FPS tactical shooter game was revealed to be named Valorant.
Other Riot-backed arsenals are also currently taking the gaming world by storm, such as the LoL mobile (Wild Rift), a card game called Legends of Runeterra, the mobile version of Teamfight Tactics, and many others.
As the gaming community continues to hop on the hype of Valorant and its growing eSports scene in particular, we’re going to dig deeper into this Riot’s milestone of a game.
To satisfy early fan curiosity, Valorant went through initial teaser previews and an extremely popular closed beta across the world.
It reached the point where even the dev team couldn’t believe the flood of attention Valorant received when it first launched.
To date, Valorant enjoys a steady presence on Twitch because of its growing eSports scene and the Ignition Series of tournaments, both handled by third-party organizers and Riot themselves.
The tactical FPS shooter game has been attracting players and spectators both in casual and professional plays, making Valorant fairly successful.
With the increasing player base and generally positive critical reception from its players, Valorant is off to a great start. In an interview by Forbes, the developers also outlined their long-term plans for the game to assure its players that there will be more in store for them as the years pass by:
“We’re looking to expand the game over time with even more content and more features, something I think that will help mature the game and drive it to an even more interesting and exciting future.”
The closed beta Valorant streams also managed to surpass Twitch’s current viewership records. As recorded on April 8, 2020, Valorant garnered 1.7 million viewers and broke the record for “single-day hours watched.”
Breaking all-time best viewership records even in its beta stage only pushed gamers to be more excited for Riot’s official release of the game.
Gameplay: Best of Both Worlds
Steam’s Counter-Strike has been the benchmark for FPS games ever since the dawn of online games. If you’re a fan of the thrilling and man-hunting adrenaline rush of FPS games and can’t get enough of the League of Legends’s ability pooling— then Valorant is one to watch.
Overwatch, on the other hand, is an imaginative yet creatively ambitious FPS game that merges abilities and champion varieties to win. However, unlike the mentioned game, Valorant doesn’t allow you to switch champs.
So, what does Valorant gameplay look like? In a nutshell, you form a team of five various champs with complementing abilities. Then, you utilize those abilities to eliminate the competing group while you go out to defuse a bomb.
In a statement, Riot said that “Valorant is a game for bold strategists who dare to make the unexpected play, because if it wins, it works,” reads the official copy on the game’s website. Riot notes that the game will run at least 30 FPS on minimum specification PCs and up to 144 FPS on gaming rigs, meaning that it’s highly accessible across the board.”
The gameplay is downright impressive and unpredictable. It motivates the player to be creative and quick when it comes to responding to enemy actions. You’ll need to purchase items first before going into battle and planning with tactical strategies. The trailer was filled with explosive abilities, some that we have never seen while others have similarities with Overwatch.
You can witness Valorant champs, otherwise known as Agents use abilities like having an area filled with poisonous smoke as a defensive wall, riddling enemies with bows and arrows, throwing knives as a skill shot aside from having a weapon of choice.
Furthermore, game rounds are swift, brutal, and ever-changing. One small mistake and the other team can crush you to elimination. In Valorant, the bomb is identified as “The Spike,” some sort of a hacking mechanism or tool.
When it comes to gunplay and weaponry, Riot is determined to make it precise, accurate, and real-life-like. The team of developers spared no expense of making this game swift, correct, and excellent. A player must optimize tools and weaponry because killing an enemy happens in a blink of an eye.
As per the futuristic and shoot-to-kill UI (User Interface), it displays the rotating map, abilities, kills count, arsenal, charge rates, and items you purchased. If you have been killed, a damage count is displayed with the percentage of damage coming from various enemies or specific ones and where did the damage originate.
Seasonal battle pass
Like most games, Valorant also launched with a Battle Pass which serves as a way to reward players for the time they spend over the game with unique items that personalize their gameplays.
Players spending time playing Valorant would earn XP and progress towards unlocking exclusive cosmetic items for their own collection.
However, if you’re a free-to-play Valorant player, you’ll still be able to earn the rewards that commemorate your participation during a certain Battlepass’ duration even if you don’t opt-in to purchase the Premium Battlepass.
The devs want to emphasize that for players who purchase the Premium version of the Battle Pass, they will simply get more rewards. Valorant will not encourage a pay to win environment to keep the competitive integrity of the game.
However, many players have called out Riot on how tedious it is to complete Valorant’s previous battle passes (Act 1 and 2).
Players that finish the daily missions will get about 4,000 exp, combined with 7 days a week for approximately 10 weeks— players will get 280,000 exp. With the addition of weekly missions, the total exp is roughly around 630,000 exp which is only around 45% of the total 1,372,000 exp required to hit rank 50 for the previous Act II Battlepass.
It proved to be a burden to those who are working or studying full-time, with little time to spare on the 5v5 FPS tactical shooter.
Starting Act 3’s pass, in particular, the devs made it quite the easiest one to complete with improved missions and at a longer time frame to complete. It seems like the dev team is responsive to community suggestions and feedback— which greatly improves the general Valorant gameplay experience.
Addressing Toxicity: Anti-Cheat & Vanguard
Riot didn’t take the anti-cheat mechanisms lightly for Valorant and has admitted being stressing (more like, obsessing) over net code and protective measures against hackers and cheaters.
True to Riot Games fashion, listening to the community about gameplay feedbacks, bugs, and the unfortunate experience some players are forced into became a powerful motivator for this strategic move.
Riot offered large amounts of money as a reward for those who can offer valuable information or great details about these cheaters and hackers during the game’s early stages.. The reward ranges from $25,000 – $100,000.
The details presented by a player at the time was subject to Riot’s valuation of practicality and impact on the game. Riot Games would like Valorant to focus on fairness at all costs. This shall extend to its gameplay, which pays homage to skill and strategy alone.
This commitment can also be observed in Riot Vanguard, which is Riot Games’ in-house custom game security software. It is designed to uphold the highest levels of competitive integrity for Riot-produced titles, including Valorant.
As Valorant continues to dominate the gaming scene on a global scale, Riot Games have been working on expanding its number of newly dedicated servers for various regions.
Most recently, Valorant confirmed the official addition of dedicated servers for the North Africa and Middle East regions in October 2020. Arabic language support will also be implemented to the Riot tactical FPS and will be available across all regions.
Active esports participation from the Middle East region is rarely well-represented, with only a few players securing prominent professional positions in eSports organizations.
With Valorant’s expansion of regional servers, the developers have expressed their strong desire to better engage players from the Middle East and North Africa regions, including in the title’s growing eSports scene.
Mumbai game servers also went live during the same time frame, which was added as a part of the game’s SEA shard.
Getting to Know Valorant’s Champs: The Agents
The Valorant gameplay is immersive and exciting (even for a couch potato noob). When you continue to play, you gain experience, and as soon as you reach level five, you’ll get an agent to unlock.
The full Agent roster features a diverse group of playable characters, some are perfect for playing defense while others have abilities to sneak behind and cause havoc on unsuspecting opponents.
There is a growing list of characters for different types of Valorant players. Devs previously said that they are planning to introduce a new agent with the release of every episode– so one agent every two months and 6 new agents in a year.
Continuing to progress further on the game, once a player reaches level ten, another agent unlock is received. The remaining agents that aren’t unlocked can be obtained by completing contracts (otherwise known as missions) or buy them through in-game purchases.
If you want to get to know the current agents and their tactical advantages, here’s a brief guide on their abilities to help you decide which one you want to master first.
- Jett – If you need someone in your team that can surprise your opponents by flanking them and getting around the map swiftly, Jett is the one to recruit. She is considered as one of the most mobile agents in Valorant, and her ultimate is notorious for wiping out squads at the best of times. However, she comes at a high skill ceiling, so you will need all the time and help you can get to master Jett.
- Brimstone – Can’t seem to corner the enemies in a tight spot for a massacre? Why not utilize Brimstone’s aerial assaults and grenades to bring opponents in a chokepoint?
- Sage – Having a teammate that provides utility, heals, and barriers are essential for a winning strategy. Your primary objective as Sage is to fulfill a support role of healing and resurrecting your allies, as this will undoubtedly bring an advantage to your team.
- Phoenix – Like the mystical flames of resurrection, Phoenix can be brought to life by his flames. Having Phoenix by your side is perfect for a corner face-check. He’s a duelist, so he’s often leading the charge for the team as he can blind the enemy and can create a wall of fire to scare the enemy from coming close.
- Breach – Is that an enemy hiding behind the wall? If it is, Breach got your back for a sure takedown! With his fusion charges and seismic blasts, every opponent is bound to be dazed and confused. His abilities make him a solid choice for players looking to take objectives and clear lanes.
- Cypher – Cypher is a great addition to any Valorant team composition, especially with his multifaceted information-gathering skills. A good Cypher player can relay to his team all sorts of information on enemy location, giving the team an advantage over their opponents.
- Killjoy – is a suitable name for such a character who can easily lockout and shut down enemy teams. Her ultimate is notably something out of the world, which takes away all abilities. It also hinders the enemy’s ability to diffuse a bomb, so if they were midway with the defuse they would be booted out.
- Omen – Omen has a very strong ultimate known as “From The Shadows,” which allows him to move anywhere in the map in a moment’s notice. Basically, he can render opponents blind, teleport across, and let paranoia take hold as his enemies try to guess where he might strike next.
- Raze – is considerably one of the most fun agents to play, and with her dynamic skill set she fits just well into a number of team compositions. She’s an all-around agent and a great option for any player who likes to get explosive.
- Reyna – A duelist who’s quite risky to play, Reyna can be incredibly rewarding if you master her abilities and get things right. She also absorbs Soul Orbs from enemies she defeats, using them to fuel her own abilities, buffing her health, and increasing reload speeds.
- Sova – An Initiator-type Agent, Sova is equipped with tools that grant him and his allies vision of enemy players. His abilities make him an excellent scout that can be played both offensively and defensively.
- Skye – Another Initiator-type agent, Skye’s set of abilities revolves around animal-based trinkets that can be used for healing, flashing, and seeking enemies.
- Viper – Considered as one of the most complicated Agents, Viper has smoke that can block enemy vision, toxic pools to damage opponents, a wall that can cut bomb sites to half, and a death pit that can lock down a whole bomb site.
In short, every agent in Valorant can be used in various in-game situations and may even turn the tides of a round— if mastered correctly.
PC System Specs for Valorant: Min and Max Requirements
For those who don’t have the titan-kind of gaming PC but still want to experience Valorant, here are the minimum PC requirements for “potato” gaming (30 FPS – 60 FPS).
- CPU: Intel i3-370M or AMD Equivalent
- RAM: 4GB
- GPU: Intel HD 3000 (1GB VRAM)
For individuals who want to experience and see the crispness of Valorant at 144 FPS, here are the PC requirements.
- CPU: Intel i5-4460 3.2 Ghz or AMD Equivalent
- RAM: 4GB
- GPU: Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti (1GB VRAM)
Although Valorant was initially set to release to the PC platform only, the popular FPS title may also be coming over to iOS and Android soon according to the 1.08 patch update.
With the rumors of a potential Valorant Mobile port, this is something we’re looking forward to discovering at CTRL+ZED as self-confessed hardcore gamers!
Riot Games is unquestionably upping the level-field of gaming, and it’s making the community anticipate further when it comes to explosive shenanigans.