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A Brief Background
VALORANT is a 5v5 tactical FPS (First Person Shooter) published and developed by Riot Games. The game was released on June 2nd 2020 and was inspired by previous games in the FPS genre. VALORANT is Riot’s first ever FPS game and is free to download and play however, similar to League of Legends, cosmetics and in-game skins come at a price.
How to Play
If you’ve ever played CS:GO or have seen some CS:GO gameplay, you should get a fair idea of what VALORANT is and how to play it. However in this article I will still be going through the basics, explaining the main goal of the game, and how to get better.
There are 5 players on each team, one team defends and the other attacks. The Attacking’s side goal is to plant the spike onto bombsite A, B or in some cases C. Whereas the Defending side’s goal is to prevent the attacking team from planting the spike. If a whole squad is eliminated before a victory condition is met (planting the spike), the opposing squad will win that round.
What about rounds and game length?
To win a game in VALORANT, a team must win 13 rounds over the course of 25 rounds. Having each round last about 100 seconds means that a standard match of VALORANT will last around 30-40 minutes. If both teams reach 12 round wins, this means that they will be heading into overtime where they will have to win 2 more rounds in order to secure the win. If both teams win just 1 round they will proceed with another set of overtime. This goes on until both teams manage to win 2 rounds in a row.
What agents does VALORANT have?
Currently there are 11 different agents to choose from, they are as follows: Breach, Brimstone, Jett, Cypher, Raze, Sage, Phoenix, Sova, Viper, Omen, and most recently, Reyna. These agents are split into 4 archetypes: Duelist, Sentinel, Initiator, and Controller.
Each agent has 4 abilities: the 1st and 2nd abilities, which are set to “C” and “Q” on your keyboard are optional abilities which you can purchase in the buy menu at the start of a round. However, your 3rd ability (signature ability) “E” on your keyboard, gets refreshed at the start of each round. After using the 3rd ability, depending on the agent’s you are currently using, will have a different cooldown method. It can either cooldown by time, or get refreshed by kills. Finally, the 4th ability, more commonly known as the ultimate ability is the most crucial ability in an agent’s tool kit. The ultimate ability gets charged up by either collecting an ult orb on the map, getting kills, or dying to an enemy. For most agents you need to reach 6 ult points in order to activate your ultimate, however for some agents you will need to reach 7.
On what platform is VALORANT on?
VALORANT as of right now is available only on PC however Riot are trying to explore opportunities for other platforms given that the game will be successful on PC. Riot have hinted that they will try their best to create a game like VALORANT which is suitable for console players, as its current version is only appropriate for PC.
What about gamemodes? Is the only gamemode bomb defusal?
With the game’s release, Riot Games have launched a secondary game mode, named Spike Rush. Spike Rush is a shortened version of a normal game, but it includes power-ups and predetermined weapons. It’s basically a fun game mode to be used as either a warmup or to have a fun time with friends. Riot are also planning on releasing a deathmatch style game mode, as per request of the community. VALORANT also has its very own practice range where you can test out agent abilities and warmup before heading into a competitive match.
What maps does VALORANT have?
VALORANT currently has 4 maps in its active map pool: Haven, Bind, Split, Ascent.
Haven consists of 3 bombsites and has very small choke points (entry points to a site) which entail that it is a Defending side favored map, however if played tactically well by the attacking side the match could easily end up fairly equal.
Bind is made up of 2 bombsites and 2 portals. These portals can be used to move around the map in a rapid manner to either fake that you’re going onto a bombsite or to out-maneuver the opposing side.
Split is composed of 2 bomb sites which are protected by vertical angles for the Defending side. This makes it extremely hard for the attacking side to enter a site to plant the spike due to the Defending side having an aerial advantage.
Ascent is the most recent map to be added to the active map pool. It’s textural design is very similar to the one used in the Range (practice map), and its overall structure is very different from all the other maps.
How does Competitive work?
There are 8 different ranks in total: Iron, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Immortal and RADIANT. Each rank (except for RADIANT) is split into three separate tiers to clearly determining the skill level of an individual, for example: Bronze 1, Bronze 2 and Bronze 3. VALORANT will also allow players to track their rank progress throughout each Act (around 2 months) in order to help players analyze where they have been flourishing and where they need to develop a change of strategy.
How to Watch
With regards to watching VALORANT esports, you can catch most of the action on Twitch, where several streamers are currently live. Whereas most VALORANT tournaments and events so far have been using the tournament organisers’ very own twitch stream, however in due time, once VALORANT esports settles in, most mainstream events will be streamed on the official VALORANT twitch channel.
VALORANT is still in its infancy, and we’re already seeing its potential as a top tier esport alongside games like League of Legends, Dota 2, and VALORANT’s very own competitor, CS:GO. We’ll just have to wait and see how it develops over the course of the next few months to fully understand if this game has what it takes to be a great esport for the years to come.