Valorant's official cover of the game by Riot Games

Valorant – A Beginner’s Guide to Riot Games’ First-Person Shooter

Valorant is Riot Games’ new competitive 5vs5 first-person shooter. First announced in October 2019, the game was named “Project Ares”, but later in March 2020, the official name “VALORANT” was revealed.

The game’s closed beta started on April 7. All players who would like to gain access can do so by receiving a key while watching Twitch live broadcasts of any Valorant streamer, so long that the stream has “drops enabled” tags.

It hasn’t been even a month since its release but Valorant is already making big waves, breaking a record for hours watched in its first week on Twitch. Shortly after releasing the closed beta, Riot announced a Competitive play mode and published guidelines third-party organizers have to apply to host Valorant tournaments.

But what is Valorant?

Valorant Overview – The Game at a Glance

Official artwork from Valorant by Riot Games
Riot Games

As explained, the game is a competitive 5 vs 5 first-person shooter. Some say it resembles parts of Overwatch and CS: GO – and it most certainly does. Yet, Valorant is its own creation.

Although the full storyline is yet to be revealed, Riot Games has offered some information from the kitchen. The game takes place on an alternate version of planet Earth in the not-so-distant future.

An event with global consequences, known as the “First Light,” changes the way of life, technology and people. Following the event, different people from all around the globe start gaining extraordinary abilities.

They are known as Radiants. Following the “First Light” event, an organization known as Valorant Protocol would gather those individuals, and recruit them as agents The Valorant Agents consist of Radiants as well as other people who are using the Radiant technology.

Who Are the Agents? What Do They Do?

Currently, in Valorant, there are a total of 10 characters, each with their own unique abilities. The abilities are 4 types: x1 rechargeable which is always available upon round start, x2 purchasable abilities (some have more than 1 charge) and x1 ultimate ability. Although Valorant doesn’t separate the characters in categories from the game menu, observation shows 4 categories depending on the character type. Those are:

  • Initiator
  • Controller
  • Duelist
  • Sentinel

Breach

Valorant agent Breach
Riot Games

The first Agent we will look at is “Breach“. As an initiator, he helps the team set up and enter an enemy-controlled ground by pushing them away from different angles. His abilities are:

  • Flashpoint – a blinding charge that can be used through a wall. Upon charge detonation, all players that look at it are blinded.
  • Fault line – a seismic blast that dazes all players in the line of action. The distance can be increased by holding the Fire button.
  • Aftershock – a fusion charge that can be used through a wall. The burst does damage to enemies within the targeted area.
  • Ultimate ability – Rolling Thunder – a powerful seismic charge in a form of a large cone. It dazes enemy players and knocks up players caught in it.

Cypher

Valorant agent Cypher
Riot Games

The next Agent is “Cypher” and he is from the Sentinel group. With his abilities, he can greatly help his team on both attack and defend scenarios by locking areas and watching flanks. His abilities include:

  • Cyber Cage – tossing a cyber cage that upon activation blocks the vision and slows enemies that try to pass through.
  • Spycam – taking control of a spy cam that can be attached to walls and ceilings. Viewing of the camera can be controlled and while controlling the camera, pressing Fire will shoot a marking dart that will reveal the location of the marked enemy.
  • Trapwire – Cypher can place a tripwire at the desired location. Unless destroyed in time, enemy players that trigger the tripwire will be revealed and dazed for a short period of time.
  • Ultimate ability – Neura Theft – by pointing at a dead enemy player with the crosshair, Cypher can reveal the location of all living enemy units.

Omen

Valorant agent Omen
Riot Games

Omen is a character from the controller group. With his unique abilities, he can easily storm enemy territory in order to aid his team. His abilities are:

  • Paranoia – a shadow projectile is fired that can pass through walls in a straight line that reduces the vision range of all players that it touches.
  • Dark Cover – the character can fire a shadow orb which forms a sphere that blocks vision.
  • Shrouded step – the ability lets the player teleport within an indicated distance.
  • Ultimate ability – the tactical map is equipped which allows the player to teleport to selected location. The character appears in a Shade that enemies can destroy to prevent the teleportation.

Raze

Valorant agent Raze
Riot Games

Raze is a duelist character and as such, she is looking for frags upon first engagement in order to help the team. Her abilities are:

  • Blast pack – throwing a blast pack that can stick to surfaces. Using the ability again after the pack is deployed will result in detonation.
  • Paint shells – essentially a cluster grenade. The first explosion creates small grenades that also explode and cause further damage within their range.
  • Boom bot – a small bot is deployed that travels in a straight line on the ground and bounces off walls. Upon encountering an enemy, the bot chases them and if reached – it explodes causing damage.
  • Ultimate ability – Showstopper – this is actually a big grenade launcher. Each rocket that is fired affects a huge area and damages anything within its range.

Viper

Valorant's agent Viper
Riot Games

Viper is another female character in the game that is a part of the controller group. As a part of this group, she helps the team traverse through enemy-controlled grounds. Her abilities include:

  • Poison cloud – a gas emitter is thrown on the ground that remains in location for the round. Re-using the ability creates a toxic gas cloud for a period of time that can be recharged. Picking up the gas emitters for re-deployment is also possible.
  • Toxic screen – this ability creates a long line of gas emitters. The emitters create a wall of a toxic gas for a period of time. Ability can be used upon recharging of the fuel.
  • Snake bite – essentially a chemical bomb launcher. The shell shatters upon hitting floors and creates a chemical zone that damages and slows enemies.
  • Ultimate ability – Viper’s pit – a chemical cloud is created in all directions around Viper. This reduces the vision range and health of players that enter.

Brimstone

Valorant agent's Brimstone
Riot Games

Next character is Brimstone. He is a part of the controller group. His abilities include:

  • Incendiary – equipping an incendiary grenade launcher. The launched grenade detonates and creates a fire zone that damages the enemy players.
  • Sky smoke – the tactical map is equipped that allows the player to land smoke clouds. The smoke clouds block the vision in the affected area.
  • Stim beacon – the character can throw a stim beacon in front. Upon landing the beacon will create a field that grants players with rapid-fire.
  • Ultimate ability – Orbital strike – allows the player to equip a tactical map. Orbital strike hits a selected location and does high damage to players in the affected area.

Jett

Valorant agent Jett
Riot Games

Next in line is the duelist Jett. As a part of the duelist group, this character is made for quick attacks and fast frags. Her abilities are:

  • Updraft – basically a jet jump that allows the player to get into the air. By doing so can reach strategic locations or take enemy ground.
  • Tailwind – this ability works like a jet push in the direction of which the character is moving. Can be used to push enemies or evade encounters.
  • Cloudburst – throwing a projectile that creates a cloud that blocks vision upon reaching a surface. Some can be curved following the crosshair by holding the ability button.
  • Ultimate ability – Blade storm – this ability equips the character with throwing knives They are highly accurate and recharge upon killing an enemy. The ability allows the player to throw a single knife or all at once.

Phoenix

Valorant agent Phoenix
Riot Games

Another duelist is on the line and his name is Phoenix. His abilities include:

  • Curveball – throwing a flare orb in either left or right direction that explodes shortly after throwing and results in blinding of players who see it.
  • Hot hands – allows the character to equip a fireball that sets an area under fire and damages enemies. This, however, can be used to heal the character if the fireball is dropped at his feet.
  • Blaze – creates a wall of flame that deploys only in a straight line. The wall of fire damages the players that pass through it and also blocks vision.
  • Ultimate ability – Run it back – sets a market at the character location. When the ability is active, dying or expiry of the timer will bring back Phoenix to the initial location with full health.

Sage

Valorant agent Sage

Sage is a member of the sentinel group. As one, she can help with controlling of areas as well as flank monitoring. Her abilities are:

  • Slow orb – the character can throw a slow orb that detonates upon landing. This creates a field that slows the players within the area of effect.
  • Healing orb – damaged teammates can receive a heal-over-time. Alternatively, the ability can be used for self-healing.
  • Barrier orb – places a solid wall that can block entrances or enemy movement. The wall is destroyable.
  • Ultimate ability – Resurrection – this ability allows the character to resurrect a fallen teammate. Upon resurrection, the teammate that is brought back to life is with full health.

Sova

Valorant agent Sova
Riot Games

Last but not least, we have Sova. He is a part of the initiator group. His abilities include:

  • Shock bolt – character receives a bow with a shock bolt. The bolts detonate upon collision and damage the players in the area. The range can be extended and arrows can bounce from walls up to two times.
  • Recon bolt – the character fires a recon bolt. Upon collision it activates and reveals the location of enemies nearby. Enemies can destroy the bolt.
  • Owl drone – the ability allows the character to take control of a moving drone. The drone can shoot marker darts that reveal the location of the player hit.
  • Ultimate ability – Hunter’s fury – this allows the character to equip a bow with three long-range blasts. The blasts can travel through walls, they reveal and damage the players in the line of fire. The ability can be used a total of 3 times while the ability timer is still active.

Those are all the characters and abilities in Valorant for the moment. But what about the Arsenal?

Weapons in Valorant – What you Need to Know

A set of Valorant Weapons you can buy.
Riot Games

Unlike CS:GO, Valorant has a smaller arsenal that can be purchased by the players. The categories feel familiar, too:

  • Melee
  • Side arms
  • SMGs
  • Shotguns
  • Rifles
  • Snipers
  • Heavies

Besides purchasing guns, each player can purchase abilities. Each character includes a pre-set ability that is available at each round start.

The ultimate ability, however, cannot be purchased. It can either be changed over time or by killing enemies and picking up orbs around the maps. The purchasable abilities can hold more than one charge, depending on the character.

A screenshot of the game - Valorant Weapons you can buy
Riot Games

There are also two types of armor that are purchasable – light shields and heavy shields. Similar to CS:GO, the game features a bomb planting, which in Valorant is named SPIKE.

Currently Valorant Features 3 maps: Haven, Bind and Split

The game teams are 5vs5 players, divided as attackers and defenders. Rounds are 100 seconds each and within that time the defenders have to either defuse the spike or survive until the time runs out in order to receive a point. In case the spike is planted and not defused on time, the attackers receive a point. If the whole team is eliminated, the opposite team receives a point. In order to win, the match features a best out of 24 rounds.

Personal notes

What can one expect when starting to play Valorant?

Valorant is still in a closed beta, which means that, inevitably, the game will go through some changes. This is even confirmed by Riot Games and the developers themselves. How drastic would those changes be – no one can say at the moment.

But here is an insight after a few hours of gameplay:

Although labelled as a 5 vs 5 first-person shooter, Valorant has more than meets the eye. The stunning graphics place the player in a futuristic environment. Considering that the game was released in 2020, the system requirements aren’t too demanding making it a perfect fit for the average PC user.

Currently available as “Unrated” game mode, Riot Games did announce that the Competitive game mode is due to be released, but no specific date was set. One can expect that Riot’s team can work to implement even more game modes, however, there is no official statement backing this up.

In-game characters are cool-looking but a storyline or full background for each of them is not available just yet. As with any team shooters – coordination is of key importance. Working as a part of your team and aiding your teammates with your abilities will help you win.

Getting used to the game is beneficial as the more you play, the better you will be able to tell which ability will help you best. With time you will also know what to expect from your enemies. While the gunplay is important, Valorant sets a vast landscape of opportunities with each Agent’s abilities, making each round different than the last one.

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