Some weeks ago Riot Games published the Beta Version of the new game Valorant. Valorant should become the new eSports tactic shooter and replace CS-Go and Overwatch. We have the chance to play during the Beta. We took this opportunity and looked into this game to see what’s all behind the hype and if it is really a threat for CS-GO.
The first clear difference to CS-Go is already visible at the start of Valorant. The design of Valorant is more inspired by Fortnite or Overwatch and is not at all comparable to CS-Go. While CS-Go impresses with detailed and close to reality graphic, Valorant’s design can be best described as comic style. The guns, the game characters and also the combat style are more abstract and out of touch with reality. This is not bad because that’s why the PEGI classification for Valorant is 16 compared to CS-GO with 18. It’s safe to say that Valorant is more child-friendly than CS-GO. This is all in the favour for riot who always wanted to connect the most people to games. The same you can see with League of Legends which thanks to design and less difficult gameplay attracts hundreds of million people. Also, this strategy of game design , showing no blood and no realistic bodies, makes it easier to show Valorant over online platforms like twitch or youtube.
What else is different? Let us take a look into the strategic part of the game. The Game has different maps, like in cs-go and overwatch but compared to overwatch there are only 2 win conditions atm, killing the enemy or planting the bomb. Also, the game is based on rounds, to win a game you need to win 13 rounds, which is more similar to cs-go and less like to overwatch. This can bring a bit of a strategic factor in the game, because you have the chance to outplay your opponents in one game many times only with your movement. The most important game mechanic in Valorant are the abilities. In Valorant every character has different abilities. Some of them can heal, others can make a lot of damage and others can make stunlocks, flashes and smokes. These abilities are a big change in the strategic sector, because it makes the game a lot harder to balance. This is a really big difference to CS-GO and again close to Overwatch. So, before the game starts you already need to think about the strategy picking your character. Some of those are really good in defending, others are good in supporting, others in the offense and only few are all-rounder, but when you picked one character you are stuck with him for the whole game. So, choose wisely.
These abilities are in my opinion on one hand good because they bring a bit more variety and fun to watch this game, but at the same time bad because the balancing and the starting sides (either defending or offensive) will it make a lot harder to get the game eSports ready. But I am sure that riot can somehow manage the balancing challenge, nevertheless, there will be still op characters in this game. Maybe we will see new features like a banning mode in which teams can decide which character they don’t want to see against them in the future like in Dota2.
How did I like the game? For me personal the start was quite easy. Thanks to my experience on high lvl cs-Go I was ableto start very good in this game. The first rounds I won with 20-30 kills and having no problems. This made the game really fun for me, the learning of the characters is easy and after some rounds on the map you understand every spot on which you can shoot through materials or where you need to use your abilities. The server problems which still exist and bring downtimes of some hours are annoying but also here I’m quite sure this will be fixed really fast after the beta is over and the game is fully released. One thing which is really bothering me are still the teammates, it happens really often that you start a game as 5 but you end as 3. Some players go afk, others have disconnects. This makes games really hard and sometimes even unwinnable. So, all in all it is for me a fun game after the work to relax a bit, as long as you don’t take the game to serious.
My summary: Despite there are already some tournaments for professional teams and amateur teams this game is still not eSports ready. There are still too many imbalanced abilities, some maps are not good enough for professional eSports as well, because they give advantage either to the defender or to the attacker. The game itself is a bit more into the direction of a casual game why I think it can attract a lot of people. Additionally, riot will have the big boost of the League of Legends community which will definitely prefer Valorant over CS-Go. I don’t think that it can replace Cs-Go or hurt it badly, but I think it can take a big part of the community from Overwatch. I’m sure we will see a big amount of tournaments in the future and the game will become an important part of eSports. For SMARACIS eSports this could be the next game title which we built up. It has all we are looking for, different genre, new game, less cruelty even it is a shooter and the possibility to get a really big community.