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Valorant Beta Impressions: Old Dog, New Tricks

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Valorant Beta Impressions: Old Dog, New Tricks

If you’ve been on Twitch lately you have definitely noticed Valorant, the new competitive fps developed by Riot Games.

It blends the 5v5 tactical multiplayer of Counter-Strike with the abilities of the hero shooter genre. While both styles are familiar, together it makes for an entirely new spin on things that works very well.

After spending time with the closed beta each match I played came down to three important factors. Your team composition, your ability to make accurate and effective shots, and communication.

Currently, in Valorant, there are nine characters that all bring something unique to the table. Making sure your characters synergize well together can give you a huge advantage early on.

For instance, the character Brimstone comes equipped with smoke grenades that can be dropped from the sky. This on its own is useful, but when paired with Raze’s cluster grenades or Viper’s poison pool you can create some serious area denial to gain an advantageous position.

Valorant’s emphasis on characters are what is key in providing a fresh experience. They are brimming with personality, all look and feel different from one another, and provide witty in-game banter at the start of each round.

While the abilities help set Valorant apart and give players unique and effective ways to set up for success it still comes down to being able to make accurate shots.

As impactful as the abilities are, they are there to complement and enhance your ability to shoot your enemies; you know, the most important thing in a shooter. As a result, the guns and gunplay in Valorant is how your bread is buttered.

At the start of each round, you’ll have credits to spend on things such as weapons, shields, and abilities with the goal being picking something that you can afford that also enhances your role on the team.

I found myself trying out all sorts of different weapons, depending on the situation. Covering a narrow hallway? Grab an SMG but keep in mind that the SMG will be relatively ineffective at any sort of distance. Sometimes it’s worth it just to purchase your abilities and help support your team that way.

These choices are being made on a round by round basis and added a layer of depth to each encounter that was very compelling.

After rounds of experimentation, the Vandal assault rifle was a standout weapon with a great balance of long and short-range effectiveness, and it became my go-to in situations that didn’t’ call for something specific like a shotgun or sniper rifle.

You die fast in Valorant, like so fast sometimes you don’t even see the enemy before you’re already spectating another player fast. Peeking slowly behind corners and being able to try an anticipate when an opponent will poke their head out become second nature after a bit of playing.

This is where communication becomes key. Calling out enemy positions is vital to your success. Each match of Valorant consists of 25 rounds and the first to 13 wins the match.

These matches last long, so get comfortable and talk to your teammates. There is a contextual pinging system if you just want a quick callout and it can be remapped to any key you want.

Whatever your preferred method of communication is, just make sure you’re giving your teammates valuable information whenever you can as knowledge about enemy positions is often the deciding factor in any gunfight.

Currently, in Valorant there are three maps, Haven, Bind, and Split. They all offer different tactical routes, height advantages, and a blend of narrow hallways and open areas.

Having only three maps may feel like it’s not enough, but it turns out to be one of Valorant’s greatest strengths. A small map pool allowed me to get quickly familiar with each map’s layout. That knowledge, once everyone playing has it, adds yet another layer of strategy to the gameplay.

As the closed beta for Valorant continues I am excited to see how Riot Games supports and expands on the universe they’ve created here. Just a few days ago they announced their plans to support Valorant as an Esport.

If you’re looking to hopefully get closed beta access you can check out how to right here.

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