Valorant Launches With New Map, Agent, and More

Valorant, the new, free-to-play 5v5 competitive shooter from Riot Games, is now officially available to play as a full, released video game. The launch of the title comes hot on the heels of the end of the Closed Beta, but as is typical with these sort of live-service games, there is also a rather significant patch at launch her that adds a new map in the form of Ascent, a new Agent named Reyna, and a whole bunch of other quality-of-life improvements, fixes, and more.

"Ascent is a map set in Italy that features a large, open middle area that both teams can skirmish over," Valorant's 1.0 patch notes read in part. "Mid is a playground for diverse ability use and successfully controlling the area opens additional routes for Attackers to both Spike sites."

For the sake of ease of reference, we've included the major gameplay and balance updates from the patch notes below, but if you're looking to read up on absolutely everything that's been changed or added in the 1.0 patch, you'll want to peep the actual notes themselves. Regardless, now that the game is live and out to many, many more people than possible in the Closed Beta, it seems fair to say that even more change will be on the way soon.

AGENT UPDATES

SAGE

  • Healing Orb cooldown increased 35 >>> 45 seconds
    • We like how much Sage is able to heal in a single heal, but felt she was able to use it too frequently during a round.
  • Barrier Orb segment health reduced 1000 >>> 800
  • Barrier Orb duration reduced 40 >>> 30 seconds
  • Friendly Barrier Orb walls now show on the minimap
    • Previous changes to Sage’s Barrier Orb helped give it more counterplay options in pistol/early round but it’s still having too much impact in any given round. Our hope is that the wall stays a powerful stalling tool, but asks you to think more about when in the round you want to use it.

RAZE

  • Blast Pack maximum damage radius reduced 2 >>> 1 meters
    • The Blast Pack has proven to be quite strong, especially when chained back-to-back. By reducing the inner maximum damage radius, we hope to reduce the average damage output of this ability while still keeping it powerful.
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JETT

  • Cloud Burst smoke duration increased 4 >>> 7 seconds
    • We feel like Jett has a strong, irreplaceable value in terms of her ability to deny trades. But we think her team-oriented output is a little too low. This should give her and her team a little more time to work off of her smokes.
  • Tailwind automatically breaks Cypher’s Trapwires after being briefly revealed
    • Tailwind force is powerful enough that Jett should easily be able to break free of any leash. This should allow her a little more freedom to make that aggressive, but risky play that creates space for her team.

PHOENIX

  • Blaze duration increased 6 >>> 8 seconds
    • We felt like the short wall duration, combined with the long cast time and short range, was forcing Phoenix to play a little too predictably around his wall. We’re bumping this up slightly to give him some more time to work with.
  • Blaze damage: 15 every 0.25s >>> 1 every 0.033 seconds
  • Blaze healing: 3 every 0.25s >>> 1 every 0.16 seconds
    • These Damage over Time/Healing over Time models are updated to match the recent changes to our other DoT abilities. Additionally, we’ve matched the damage/healing values to be half as effective as Hot Hands, primarily so that the total healing output of these two abilities is at parity (50 health each). We’re also doing this so that Blaze doesn’t become the de-facto “healing” ability compared to Hot Hands.
  • Hot Hands healing: 3 every 0.25s >>> 1 every 0.08s.
    • Updated the HoT model to match recent changes to the DoT abilities.
  • Curveball max flash duration increased 0.8 >>> 1.1 second
    • The flash duration is short given how quickly he can get his curveball out on an enemy caught out of position. Even still, it was a hair too short, especially to justify the new 200 credit price point.
  • Run it Back automatically reloads all weapons on respawn
    • This is closer to a quality of life improvement. Phoenix’s ult often puts him in a position to empty his clips right before getting sent back. It was very jarring for a Phoenix player to wait several seconds to respawn, only to then have to spend another second reloading—potentially under pressure. We think the several second respawn time is enough time to justify an automatic reload.

OMEN

  • Paranoia is now equipped instead of quickcast, and hit detection improved, especially at close range
    • Changed the cast paradigm to reward more proactive use of Paranoia over its previous reactive use case. Enemies will receive a warning when the projectile is fired rather than being in the direct path of it. This should make it hit enemies more reliably.'
  • Dark Cover, Omen now enters a “phaser” world where he can see through walls to place his smokes and pressing RELOAD toggles between phased and normal targeting.
    • We wanted to provide Omen with a more precise way to place his smokes, especially when verticality is at play. We’ve provided a toggle back to the old view mode as well to make sure we still support the quick, close range smoke playstyle many Omen players have honed.
  • Dark Cover controls have been updated where Omen can now increase smoke distance with PRIMARY FIRE, decrease it with SECONDARY FIRE, and throw smoke with the ABILITY KEY.
    • Yeah, this might be a difficult control shift for players who main Omen, but in the long run—and for new players—we think it’s more intuitive for the distance to be controlled by one hand on the mouse by default.
  • Shrouded Step, Omen can now see his teleport location on the map and receives an in-world indicator of where he’s targeting when his vision of the point is obstructed.
    • We want to help Omen understand where he is targeting his teleport, especially when he’s teleporting from out of his smoke.
  • From the Shadow, Omen can now cancel his teleport while in Shade form by pressing the ABILITY KEY again—Omen still loses all of his ult points if he cancels.
    • We want Omen to attempt plays and create fear for his opponents with his ultimate. Previously, the punishment for using the ult was almost certain death if caught by an enemy, and it pushed the ability into more niche use. Allowing Omen to cancel his ult if he’s in danger at the cost of his ult points will hopefully open more possibilities and value, while still pushing him to try and pick the best teleport spots possible.

SOUND VISUALIZATION (AUDIO ATTENUATION)

  • We’ve brought in more sounds made by Agents under the category of sounds that display their audio distance on the mini-map via the white circle. This includes ability sounds, reloads, spike interactions and more.
    • Why? We wanted to provide players with the ability to understand when their noise can be heard by enemies and give them an idea of how far the sounds can be heard.

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