Riot Games is best known for League of Legends. But like Blizzard before them, they understand the need to diversify what they offer to players. That’s why they are pouring time and energy into a new shooter named Valorant.
The game isn’t coming out until summer 2020, and much of it has been shrouded in mystery. Fortunately, we’ve got the full scoop on the most important aspects of this game and why it might end up redefining your summer.
A game by any other name
If you’re already a big fan of Riot Games, the name “Valorant” may be throwing you off. You’re probably asking, “wasn’t the company already working on another shooter with a different name?”
The answer is “yes and no.” In a stream last year, Riot Games referred to this game as Project A. Either that was a placeholder name or someone decided (rightfully so) that “Project A” sounded pretty boring.
Either way, the game was rechristened as Valorant. Let’s dive a little deeper into how it’s supposed to play.
It’s easy for gamers to get a bit disillusioned about new releases. For example, Valorant bills itself as a character-based tactical shooter. But in a genre crowded with so many of these types of games, how can Valorant offer anything different to audiences?
The short answer is that it’s a fusion of multiple different game types. While “tactical shooter” calls to mind games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (especially with the missions that focus on one side trying to arm a bomb), Valorant’s characters (known as “Agents”) are a bit different. They each have special abilities, which calls to mind modern games like Overwatch or Apex: Legends.
Only time will tell if this ends up being a fun fusion of gameplay styles or a disaster waiting to happen.
When and where does it take place?
Speaking of Overwatch and Apex: Legends, those games helped make futuristic shooters popular in a way we haven’t seen since Halo first came out. So, will Valorant have its own futuristic setting, or will it be a bit more down to earth?
Generally speaking, this game’s setting is our own world a few years into the future. This world has been shaped by global cataclysms which also gives certain people special powers (those abilities that we mentioned earlier).
Think of it like a superhero movie. The world is recognizably your own, but it has been shaped by a number of larger-than-life characters and events.
Don’t hold your breath for a campaign
Once upon a time, it was a given that new shooters would have both a campaign mode and a multiplayer mode. As multiplayer became more popular, though, game developers realized it would be easier and cheaper to leave the campaign mode out entirely.
Sadly, Valorant falls into this camp as well. Like Overwatch before it, this game’s story and world will be fleshed out by animated shorts and other bits of multimedia. Knowing the “outside the game” backstory will help you recognize numerous Easter eggs within the game, but it’s not necessary for you to simply enjoy the gameplay.
Unique map design
So, Valorant is trying to do something new in terms of gameplay. But in a game where maps are such a huge focus, the real question is whether the level design can offer us any surprises.
Only two maps have been previewed so far. One of them features three different bomb sites, forcing attacking and defending players to get creative. The other foregoes a middle map section in favor of making players use teleporters to get around.
It’s tough to draw serious conclusions from only two maps. But this clever design makes it seem like Riot Games has a few more fun surprises waiting for players.
Newbies need not apply
I’ve compared this game to Overwatch a few times so far. However, while Overwatch has a really competitive mode, it also offers other modes that are very friendly to newbies. With Valorant, newbies need not apply.
First, like Counter-Strike and many other tactical shooters, you die fast in this game. In fact, you die so quick that it may be a struggle to really take advantage of your abilities at first.
Second, default games are nice and long. Matches last for a whopping 25 rounds. For someone used to the more casual modes in games like Overwatch, this may as well be an eternity.
Finally, you can’t switch your character at any point during these matches. That means players will have to master every gun and every character ability to help lead their team to success.
Balancing guns and abilities
While your Agents have abilities, they are a bit more limited than in games like Overwatch. For example, characters have fewer abilities and usually can do just one main trick. This ranges from putting up smokescreens, creating walls, and reviving characters.
But the game moves very fast. If you’re not quick enough when using an ability, you can easily get shot by one of the many weapons in the game. And we’re betting that plenty of people will ignore the abilities and just focus on their gunplay.
Of course, the very best players will master both. But that’s going to take a whole lot of games!
What you will (and won’t) be paying for
Let’s say you want to play Valorant. How much will it cost? The good news is that this game will be entirely free to play.
How, then, will Riot Games be making money? While they are skipping the loot boxes, this game will have different skins for guns (although surprisingly enough, no character skins) that you can buy directly from the store.
On top of that, the game will have some sort of battle pass. As with many other games, this lets those who consistently play the game unlock a number of interesting cosmetic rewards.
How to access Valorant Closed Beta
Valorant is currently in Closed Beta. By watching specific Valorant streams highlighted on Twitch, you have a chance to gain access to the Closed Beta. Valorant Beta Keys will be available to earn through Twitch Drops. Tuesday, April 7 is your next big chance to get access to Valorant’s Closed Beta.
The official site says, “Link your Twitch Account & Riot Games Account for the opportunity to get exclusive Closed Beta Access starting on April 7th. Look for the ‘Drops Enabled’ tag, as well as the ‘Drops are enabled! Continue watching’ text below the stream for verified Drops enabled channels.”