Valorant is Set to Release on June 2nd
From the creators of League of Legends, Valorant is new IP from Riot games. A 5-vs-5 tactical shooter utilizing differing agents with special abilities, this game takes some of the best of both Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch; where the goal is to eliminate the enemy team or plant/defuse a planted spike (like the bomb in Counterstrike). With over 3 Million daily players in Beta alone, the Riot Games first-person shooter seems prime to become the next big E-Sport Sensation. After trying out some of the Beta and listening to early reviews both online and via Riot’s blog, here are four reasons why I think Valorant will be the FPS to play in 2020.
Valorant Blends Popular FPS Mechanics
One of the immediately noticeable features about Valorant is that the game is more than your regular first-person shooter, blending the gunplay from counterstrike, with the heroic abilities of Overwatch.
In Valorant, guns have distinct spray, and thus recoil patterns, where after the first shot, the crosshairs and trajectory of a bullet’s path shakes in a uniquely different pattern per weapon. This discourages highly inaccurate spray-and-pray methods and rapid-firing shooting while in motion.
To compensate, users need to adapt what methods suit them best: ADS (aim down sights) or focused hip-fire shooting, utilizing patiently time accurate single-fire shots or disperse their rate-of-fire in bursts — all while memorizing the different patterns of a gun’s recoil. Combine this with the lethality of each distinct weapon — as time-to-kill is exceptionally low in this game — and what you have is a smart-tactical shooter where every bullet is deadly, and coordination is key.
On top of this, Valorant, much like Overwatch, has heroic ultimates and abilities. Though instead of a cool-down and charge timer, ultimates cost resources, and only the first ability is free. Abilities also focus on more things than just outright damage, incorporating various utility functions such as heals, walls, and scouting abilities, so that even players that are bad at shooting can still help their team.
In Valorant, you can play as 10 Agents with 4 unique abilities, the first of which is free, the others which you can unlock using the game’s in-game economy. Much like CS:GO, points are rewarded as a match progresses, which are then used to access weapons, armor, and different abilities available per purchase. Managing the economy is critical to a match’s success, as when certain guns or abilities come into play can very much turn-the-tide of battle.
Riot’s also trying to do something many shooters have never done before: trying its best to eliminate peeker’s advantage, essentially attempting to make the fairest FPS ever created.
Likewise, to utilize said mechanics Valorant put an effort into making smaller goal-focused maps, with unique features upon different levels, such as a portal or repel system — utilizing the differing flanking routes for uniquely distinct shooter mechanics with an emphasis on line-of-sight and coverage.
The Game is Incredibly Accessible
I think everyone unanimously agrees that Valorant’s design has a clean and polished appeal. The characters seem colorful, not unlike its Overwatch counterpart, though less bombastic and more focused, with specs that are surprisingly low.
In fact, computers from nearly a decade ago should be able to handle running Valorant, as its minimum specification requirements can even run on Windows 7. With minimal CPU (Intel i3-370M), GPU (Intel HD 3000 (1 GB VRAM)), and RAM requirements (4 GB) that prioritize low GPU over moderate CPU optimization, in terms of textures, smoothness, and skins.
Simply put: the game will look and play great on almost any device. To top it all off: Riot has even developed their own individual ISP just for the game, to optimize connectivity speeds worldwide.
The reasons for this to me seems pretty clear: Valorant’s low specification, high-online speed optimization, makes it easier to live-stream, especially as Riot seeks to utilize its large E-sports and Streaming community fanbase.
Given that the beta access keys were uniquely only distributed to those watching streams of the game for a certain amount of hours, it’s pretty clear that Valorant’s priority beyond its gameplay is that everyone can play it, but also and more importantly: that anyone can stream it.
It’s Optimizing Riot’s Skin Culture
You can see the differences of the Reaver skin’s art at different levels.
Skins are one of the biggest features at Riot, which is understandable since the company’s most profitable bread-and-butter revenue source is a free-to-play videogame. Although Valorant won’t feature character skins (at least for the time being), the game will focus upon weapon skins, gun buddies (think keychains), and spray tags.
Much like in CSGO, Valorant has a large assortment of weapons with a gun designed for almost every specific situation. Thus, the game’s gun cosmetics will feature unique yet non-game-breaking templates, blending style without granting unfair advantages. It also will feature a level up system that unlocks different custom animations, sounds, and color layouts, the more a player levels up their skin.
A lot thoughtful research and considerations are taken into the shooter, with a dedicated team seeing what aesthetics and cosmetics are chosen without ruining the game’s integrity. Such creative choices include details on almost every level, all the way down to what weapon materials the guns would be made of in said theme, and what unique features or ‘Oh Sh*t’ moments the player would experience while using this skin.
It’s Optimized For Online Play
Valorant is a game that’s meant for its online community; evident in that it broke the twitch single-day viewership record. With an average of 3 million daily players during its now-closed Beta it seems like the game, much like League of Legends, is seeking out to capitalize on its popular E-Sports community. From what I’ve seen there’s nothing but positives as Riot seems to heavily prioritize balanced and competitive gameplay, with layout plans including smaller, medium, and large-scale tournaments to incorporate all styles and types of FPS players. On top of this, Riot’s already pulled-in competitors from top FPS shooters, such as Counter-strike and Overwatch.
In terms of online play strategy, Valorant matches depend heavily on cooperation and communication, as teams of 5 strategize using microphone communication, callouts, and unique map pinging: essentially marking areas on the map for allies, both skilled and noobs. It should be noted that in Beta, it seemed like there was an advantage for those who played with friends in large teams over individuals who joined games on their own. Again, coordination is key, and in a match of 5 friends cooperating via mics versus randomly placed players, some of whom are still typing in text to chat, it’s obvious that in this game (and to be fair most modern shooters): the more coordination the better, especially given the high headshot-instant-kill risk.
I should note that in its 10-year history, Riot has only produced a single game: League of Legends. While incredibly groundbreaking and profitable, Riot has yet to prove itself outside of its staple title. Valorant is but the first foray for Riot into other types of videogames, with 7 new games planned in the upcoming future.
I’m excited as the company relies on appeasing its fanbase as its profit depends solely on E-sports and selling in-game features. I also think Valorant has enough going on to make it a unique game, with its highly competitive mechanics, accessible features and optimal streaming mechanics — priming the stage for what may be the best FPS for 2020.
But those are my thoughts, but what are your thoughts and opinion? Feel free to comment below.