Valorant has proven to be one of the most popular games of 2020. Riot Games and the community have put a ton of effort into bringing the game where it is now, and it has been a wild ride. But how was the game in its infancy, and how has it changed?
What is Valorant?
Valorant is a multiplayer first-person shooter made by Riot Games, the developers behind the massively popular MOBA game League of Legends. It has been called by many to be a combination of CS:GO and Overwatch, both of which share many FPS elements with Overwatch.
In a similar fashion to CS:GO, one team must eliminate the other team who are trying to plant a bomb and defend it, which is called the “Spike.” The first team to 13 rounds wins the game with the possibility of overtime if a 12-12 tie is reached.
Has the game been balanced properly since release?
Like any new game, Valorant has had its share of issues. The game had several server issues during its beta release, serving to show its popularity in its early stages. Valorant had a unique method of distributing its beta keys: by giving certain streamers the ability to drop keys during their streams. This proved to work so well, that Riot actually had to pause beta access due to overwhelming server issues.
Some of the characters’ abilities initially sparked anger and debate from the players. Raze’s Showstopper ability, a rocket launcher with massive area-of-effect damage, was one of these abilities. Sage’s healing abilities were also somewhat controversial which led to the character receiving the biggest nerf so far in Valorant.
Later on, Riot began adding new agents to the game, which also sparked discussions among the community about whether they were overpowered. No changes have been made to these new agents yet, but they might also receive an overwork much as Sage did. It seems Riot has a tendency to throw out big nerfs all at once instead of multiple smaller ones.
Overall, the server issues are almost nonexistent and Riot has shown that they listen to player feedback. If they continue to do so, it creates a healthy player-developer relationship.
How has the player base developed since the game’s release?
Riot had a strong stance against cheaters from day one. So strong in fact, that their Vanguard anti-cheat was dubbed intrusive by some due to the program running 24/7 even when Valorant was closed. Even with such a hard-working anti-cheat, Valorant still had a cheating problem like any other multiplayer game.
This issue was seemingly further amplified with the introduction of competitive mode. Despite some community backlash to the supposed cheating problem, the developers came out to say that the game actually had fewer cheaters than players thought. They also encouraged players to report suspicious behavior, acknowledging that it still existed even though the problem was smaller.
Things seem to have balanced out since the game’s launch. Even during the beta, Riot reported that it banned nearly 9,000 players from the game. The system is working, and with Riot further developing Vanguard, it can only get better.
An optimistic outlook
Valorant has grown tremendously from its beta days, and Riot has put some serious work into making sure it all works properly. The game is still young, and its esports scene is already very involved, with many top-tier organizations like T1 and Team Liquid opting to be a part of it.
Riot has also invested time into the esports scene, with the upcoming Valorant Champions Tour being the game’s biggest official tournament to date. It’s impressive to see how the game has matured in the span of six months, and I am very excited to see how much bigger it can get in 2021 once the pandemic hopefully slows to a halt.