Valorant – we tried the Riot shooter and we’re totally there for it!
We skinned for 3 days the FPS, formerly referred to only as Project A, which Riot is very confident about. There is a reason for this, because the game is already very promising.
I’m a little sorry that the COVID-19 epidemic deprived Paca of a foreign outing, but at the same time I’m so glad I was honored to try out a new game of Riot Games as part of a three-day online bootcamp. A clear lesson from the unusual event is that the team has once again snuck into something big. Today, it is no longer a question of whether a competitive game wants to be e-sport, as there is also a huge amount of extra advertising and revenue coming from competitive gaming. After the League of Legends, Riot has an undisguised goal of suppressing Valve’s golden egg laying hen in the FPS market sooner or later.
We’re still a long way from making that happen, and no matter how much I liked the game, it would be premature to shout “CS: GO Killer.” Rather, let’s take a closer look at why it took everything to grow Valorant into one of the most popular competitive shooters in the world in a few years.
Tactics are important, I understand?
Let’s start with the basics: Valorant is a team-based, 5v5 tactical shooter located somewhere in the middle of the Counter-Strike – Overwatch – Rainbow Six: Siege triangle. Players choose from a variety of agents with special abilities at the beginning of the game (and they play through it, you can’t swap in the process), and then, like CS, they try to drop the bomb (or prevent it as a defender). After 12 rounds comes the substitution, 13 must be brought to win.
I deliberately did not compare the game to CS: GO, but to Counter-Strike in general, mainly because it is more reminiscent of 1.6 at several points. For the weekend, not only journalists and top streamers, but also CS: GO, Rainbow Six: Siege and Overwatch pros invited Riot, and if anyone, well they can probably decide if there is a future for Valorant, which impressed everyone pretty uniformly. Agents only bring with them unique abilities, we have to buy weapons every turn. The economy of the game is very similar to Counter-Strike, we have to buy weapons and armor (if we haven’t brought anything from the previous round), but there are no grenades, instead we can buy from our agents’ own abilities. Everyone has a total of 4 tricks, of which we get the signature ability in each round, we can recharge two for money (these are not lost on death anyway), and the ultink is constantly charged after the kills and the orbs picked up on the field.
Riot made it!
Already during the first performance, it turned out that Riot put a lot of energy into the game and not only stole the ideas, but also hired designers who really understood their stuff. Valorant is scheduled to operate with relatively few tracks (only 4 will be available when released), but developers want them not to be bothered by them even after 1,000 hours of play, so they’ll be tailored to be as competitive as possible. Although the tracks are unique, there are general track design principles that apply to each. For example, the texture of the walls is kept relatively clean at the height of the characters (between about half and 3 meters) so that they do not melt into their surroundings. Remember how much of a scandal there was in CS: GO about the new skins completely hiding the players? This cannot happen in this game.
During the bootcamp, we were able to try out two tracks that were designed along different principles. In the Bind map, the middle part of the track is so irrelevant that it is practically non-existent, we can travel with one-way teleporter, while in the Haven track the mid section is so important that it has its own landfill, so the attackers can place the bomb in 3 places. Sorry, not a bomb, but a spike, because that’s the official name, but not only in its name, but also in terms of gameplay is different. Disarming takes 7 seconds, but if we manage to roll to 50%, it won’t fall back below that, so we can finish faster if we were forced to abort the operation for some reason. (Of course, a teammate can continue in our place.) This puts a little extra pressure on the attackers, it’s not necessarily a good idea to wait until the last minute.
Same, but different
And how does it feel to play? Fantastic. Gunplay is one of the best I’ve come across lately, even with having to re-learn a lot of everything. It’s hard to explain exactly how it works: most guns have ADS (when you lift it over your shoulder and look into the aimer), but that doesn’t necessarily have to be used. Hip squatting doesn’t scatter as much as, say, in a Call of Duty, and the targeted shot isn’t as accurate as in Siege. In addition, ADS changes the way certain weapons work: the Bulldog, for example, changes from a vending machine to a burst fire, but for most, the fire rate is reduced anyway.
The recoil patterns are not completely fixed anyway as in CS: GO, they may differ from the usual after a few balls. Thanks to this pseudo-random solution, it is not possible to learn a stucco perfectly, because it is smooth that after the eighth ball it starts to pull not to the right, but to the left. The handling of machine guns and sniper rifles have also been most likened to 1.6 by many: you can’t play very dynamically with binoculars either, because if you walk in zoomed out, you’re sure not to hit the target.
The abilities of the characters form a very strong synergy, and although the movement itself is slightly slower than in most modern shooting ranges, the image of the game is still dynamic. The difference between the weapons is noticeable, and while the balance of power is obvious, none seems useless. Mainly because this game, despite its special abilities, is a down-to-earth shooting range where a single head of most weapons is enough to send someone to the ground.
And to make sure that technology doesn’t get in the way, Riot is trying to create e-sports-level conditions for all players. Valorant matches, for example, will run on strictly 128 tick dedicated servers, where players ’movements will also be scaled up to 128 fps, meaning not only our accuracy is guaranteed, but also that the lagging opponent will not jump back and forth on the screen. In addition, they have worked with data centers and service providers to build a global network that they plan to keep 70% of players under 35 ms ping. We wrote more about individual anti-cheat solutions here.
I personally am very excited about Valorant. The characters are exciting and varied, the controls are responsive, the gunplay super. It really seems that not only did an outstanding game come together by accident, but it is the result of careful planning and careful execution that Valorant is in such a dingy state already, months before its release. The epidemic may still have a say in the summer, but nothing can stand in our way for the beta, which starts on April 7th.
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