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Gameverse | August 5, 2020

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Valorant: 5 Problems That Could Ruin Riot’s Shooter

Matthew Byrd

Valorant is quickly becoming the biggest thing in PC gaming. The new shooter from the developers of League of Legends combines elements of Counter-Strike and Overwatch into a compelling and addictive experience. There is every reason to believe that Valorant could be popular for years to come.

However, Valorant is not a perfect game. In fact, there are some early problems with Valorant which not only hinder the experience in its earliest days but ccould potentially ruin the game over the long-term if they’re not addressed.

Generic Characters

Valorant isn’t quite as dependant on its characters as a game like Overwatch. In fact, Riot has clearly gone out of their way to downplay the potential impact of the game’s playable characters. We’ll talk more about that later.

While that approach has its advantages, it does result in a few problems. Namely, characters in Valorant don’t really feel that distinctive. There’s really no reason to pick a character outside of their abilities, and because there are many characters that share limited abilities, there are times when many of them can feel relatively similar.

Basically, it just doesn’t currently seem like Riot is utilizing this element of the game to its full advantage. While some people will like that Valorant‘s characters aren’t as distinctive as those in other games, it feels like some of this title’s personality problems could be solved by more interesting characters.

Ability Balancing

At the moment, Valorant doesn’t really have a balancing problem. Some characters are certainly becoming favorites amongst the early players, but it doesn’t seem like one agent is going to run away with the game at this time.

While that’s good, it’s already clear that Valorant‘s character design causes some problems. Namely, the act of balancing these characters has resulted in many of them sharing the same basic abilities (such as smoke and defensive walls). The few characters that do posess more unique abilites (especially offensive abilities) are becoming quick favorites.

The act of balancing characters insuch a way that ensures they won’t affect the general blance and design is clearly limiting the design possibilities of those characters in the early stages. Riot will need to find ways to implement new abilities without drastically throwing off the existing balance.

Long Matches

The next few problems all kind of feed into each other, but they effet the game differently enough to  make them worthy of hilighting.

Valorant matches last until one team has one 13 rounds. How long it takes to get to that point varies between matches, but matches tend to last a little longer than you may be used to in a comeptitive shooter. In and of itself, that’s not necessairly an issue. Valorant matches are even generally shorter than those in Counter-Strike.

The problem is that there’s not really such a thing as a quick Valorant match. In a game like Fortnite, you can hop in and hop our fairly quickly if you just have a little time to play a game. With Valorant, you’ve sometimes got to be able to comit about 40 minutes to a match just in case you need it. That number doesn’t even account for long queue times.

That brings us to the next potential problem with Valorant

Teammate Frustration

Anyone who has ever tried to play a competitive multiplayer game with teammates knows it can be a very rewarding experience. Unfortunately, it can just as easily be an unbelivably frustrating one.

Sadly, playing with frustrated teammates in Valorant really kills the experience. Because Valorant demands teamwork at nearly all times, just one frustrated teammate who isn’t contributing can ruin everything for everyone else and make it practically impossible to win a semi-competitive match.

Valorant is going to test the paticence of a lot of people who try to get into it. Of course, that brings us to the biggest early problem with Valorant.

A Steep Learning Curve

Valorant is not an easy game. The idea is that its emphasis on tactical action and near perfect aim will eventually pay–off and yield an incredibly rewarding experience. That is 100% true.

The problem is that it takes quite a bit of time to get there. When you hit a wall in Valorant (which most players will), you will need to really work to get past it. You’ll also ideally need to play with people who are also willing and able to work past that wall.

Simply put, there are going to be a lot of people that who won’t be able to work past that point. Once that happens, it stands to reason that said players may just give up on the game.

The only way Riot can avoid this would be to develop some kind of ranking system that accounts for these skill walls and smartly matches players based on them. That’s not impossible, but it will be incredibly challenging.