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    Valorant is Live!

    A 5v5 tactical shooter from Riot Games
    Valorant artwork featuring agents Sova, Phoenix, Viper, Jett, and Cypher

    Load up, Let’s Become Valorant!

    It seems like only a few months ago that Riot teased us with an upcoming shooter, only referred to as “Project A“. Since then Riot has made it a solid entry into the FPS market and dubbed it Valorant. The game is a tactical 5v5 shooter flaunting a good array of playable characters, a variety of play styles, and, in true Riot fashion, a beautiful art style. After a hyped beta season the game is ready for an early launch, worldwide, starting today!

    How to Play the Game

    When you load into Valorant you’ll have a starting group of agents to choose from. Each agent has their own set of abilities that make them unique and provide different advantages in the field. There are 11 total agents currently: Sage, Phoenix, Sova, Jett, Viper, Raze, Brimstone, Breach, Omen, Cypher, and the new addition, Reyna.

    There are four maps: Bind, Split, Haven, and the new addition, Ascent. Each map is unique and gives different ways for the player to use their agents skills. There are a lot of interesting ways to do trick shots or really hinder enemy teams with certain skills in each map.

    Everyone has access to the same equipment: 1 pistol, 1 automatic firearm, and 2 levels of armor. You also begin with your special ability. Everyone starts round 1 with the same amount of credits to purchase abilities and gear. Each round you earn more credits based on performance.

    Each match of Valorant is up to 25 rounds long. You begin on either attackers (bomb planting) or defenders (defusing). The first half is 12 rounds, then you change sides. The first team to reach 13 wins is declared the winner of the match.

    Every round has a 100 second timer in which to plant the bomb. Once the bomb is planted you have 45 seconds to defuse. That means a drawn out match can last close to an hour.

    At the end of the match you’ll get to see a data rundown. Who got MVP, how your team did, and how well you did. You’ll also see what XP you earned and if you completed any daily objectives (extra XP tasks that change every 24 hours).

    New Mode: Spike Rush

    Don’t have time for an hour long game? The new Spike Rush mode speeds things up with added power ups, randomized weapon load-out, and a shorter duration. Be the first team to 4 wins!

    Might just be a great way to get your bearings if you’re new!

    Valorant Phoenix & Jett artwork

    Valorant’s Beta Period

    Instead of following the usual route of emailing players beta invites, Riot pulled a genius move. Valorant beta access was awarded by linking your Riot account to your Twitch account and then watching someone stream the game with drops enabled. This move brought thousands of viewers out to streams and put Valorant on the radar for pretty much everyone on Twitch (of which there are millions).

    I got my access a few days or so into the beta period after hardcore lurking in channels. I’ve been a “Riot Fangirl” since the beta of League of Legends, I’ve played every game they’ve made. So I wasn’t about to miss out on this one – which I’d been eagerly awaiting since “Project A” was revealed.

    I’ve played a fair bit of Counter Strike, beginning with Source and then Global Offensive. Though the past few years I’ve only hopped in to play Arms Race, I enjoy the premise of the bomb plant/defusal mode. I just found it was lacking something to keep my attention.

    Valorant filled the hole by making unique agents with abilities to use in the match. It brings added difficulty and raises the skill level in addition to making the game mode just more interesting. And I’m definitely not alone. Many others say they’ve fallen in love with Valorant way more than they ever liked CS:GO for this exact reason.

    The beta period had several patches as well as a test of the competitive scene. There have been a few small tournaments and Riot’s teaming up with Twitch for a big one after Launch. Riot’s done a good job of breaking ground to lay a solid foundation for years of esports for the game.

    While the game had bugs, like all games do, I had very little issues while playing Valorant. My machine is by no means top of the line (sorry grandpa but you’re 6 years old now), but it handled everything smoothly. I never had issues with lag and rarely any connection issues. Nothing that kept me from having fun with the game, technically at least – we’ll talk about the bad apples later on.

    All in all, I think Valorant had a successful beta. I think they got a lot of feedback, were able to squash a lot of issues and bugs, and built hype for their game. There will be a period where everyone gets to learn the game before competitive opens up, almost like a beta 2.0.

    I wish Riot a wonderful, smooth, server crash free launch!

    Valorant loading screen featuring Brimstone and Sage entering the portal

    Beginner Advice

    For those just learning to play Valorant, I recommend picking up Sage, Phoenix, or Jett. In comparison to other agents, these four are easier to learn and each has skills that can get you out of a bind. Sage is a healer with a wall that can use to block off corridors and save yourself if needed. Phoenix has a blind and if he stands in his fire skills he heals. Jett has a dash skill that can be used to get out of close quarter fights or zoom across a vulnerable opening to gain cover, she also has smoke spheres to take away vision.

    There are guide videos and articles you can use to get an idea of what each agent does but the best way to learn is by getting in a match and actually trying to use their skills. Take your time and stick with other teammates in the game when you’re new.

    You’ll want to learn the layout of each map as well as learn what certain chokepoints are called. You’ll hear a lot of different names for these places that are not what they’re called on the map. Things like “heaven”, “hookah”, “showers”, etc. Over time you’ll start understanding what each is and be able to call out better to your team as well. Communication is key to a game like this. If you aren’t comfortable using your mic in-game, use the chat, or learn the built-in ping commands.

    Another pointer is to pay attention to your econ, or economy – your credit spending on guns and abilities. Don’t just fling out and waste your abilities. And don’t just buy the most expensive gun you can every time or you’ll run out of money fast (unless you’re murdering everyone every round, in which case buy your favorite pew pew). Pay attention to what guns drop on the ground when someone dies. You can pick them up and use them!

    Lastly, find a buddy. It’s pretty obvious, but team games are easier and funner when you’ve got a good team with you. If you don’t have friends to play with, try adding friendly players after a match. You’d be surprised how many people will accept the request and queue up with you!

    See You in Game!

    Valorant is Free-to-Play so there’s no excuse not to try it out! Sign up and download the client at PlayValorant.com.

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