What is Valorant? How does it work?
What is Valorant? How does it work? From gameplay basics to potential esports leagues, our guide explains all.
What is Valorant?
Valorant is an upcoming competitive first-person shooter created by Riot Games, the studio behind League of Legends.
Valorant is Riot Games’ first foray into first-person shooters, with the company attempting to break CS:GO’s current dominance of the genre within the esports market.
The game is currently in closed beta, with a limited number of players able to get access until full release in the summer.
When is Valorant going to be released?
Riot are yet to confirm an exact release date for Valorant, but the game is set to come out at some point over the summer of 2020.
The exact date of release will depend on the feedback Riot receive from the beta phase of development, which is currently underway.
How do you get a beta key?
To access the closed beta phase, you will need a key.
For a chance to receive a key, you must first link your Riot account with your Twitch account, making sure that drops are enabled.
Then you must tune into Valorant streams on Twitch and, if you are lucky, you will be dropped a key.
There is no guarantee that you will get a key, but the longer you are watching the streams for, the higher your chances are of receiving one.
How does Valorant work?
Valorant pitches two teams of five players against each other, with each team having to complete certain objectives to win rounds.
One team takes on the role of the Attackers, while the other team take on the role of the Defenders.
The Attackers must plant a bomb, known as the Spike, at a specific site on the map, or eliminate all the Defenders to win a round.
The Defenders must prevent the Spike being planted, defuse the Spike after it is planted, or take out all the Attackers to win a round.
Each round lasts 100 seconds, with each match comprising of 25 rounds – the first team to win 13 rounds is the winner.
Much like CS:GO, there is an in-game economy system through which players earn cash to spend on improved weapons and abilities.
Players earn cash for winning rounds, getting kills and planting the Spike.
The more cash you earn, the better weapons you can buy, and the more chance you have of winning rounds.
What are agents in Valorant?
Every player in Valorant takes on the role of an agent, all of whom possess different strengths and abilities.
Before each match, every player selects which agent they would like to play as. Players cannot switch agents between rounds, and all five members of each team must select a different agent.
There are currently 10 different agents to choose from – Breach, Brimstone, Cypher, Jet, Omen, Phoenix, Raze, Sage, Sova and Viper – but this list is likely to expand with time.
Not all agents are available to every player from the start – some have to be unlocked with XP that is earned by playing the game.
In the closed beta phase, there are five agents immediately available for selection, with another five requiring players to unlock them.
Each agent possesses four unique abilities that they can use during gameplay to gain an advantage over their opponent.
One ability is available for free every single round, while two are available to purchase before the start of each round.
Their final ability, known as an ultimate, requires players to earn a certain amount of skill points to use.
Skill points are earned by killing opponents and completing other objectives around the map.
Abilities range from traditional utility like flashbangs to supernatural abilities such as lightning-quick movement or slowing down time.
Each agent is geared towards a certain style of play – some are good for attacking at a fast pace, others for defending, while some are more all-round.
Will there be Valorant esports in the future?
Even though Valorant remains in closed beta, there have already been plenty of community-run tournaments taking place encompassing a wide variety of players and prize pools.
With this market already in place, there is almost certainly going to be a large esports scene created around Valorant when the game is fully released in the summer.
Considering the game’s similarities with CS:GO and Overwatch, we will also likely see a few pros switch their allegiance and attempt to pursue a new career with Valorant.
The most high-profile player to already announce his intention to do so is Braxton Pierce, known as swag, who previously played CS:GO professionally.
He has signed for T1 and is working towards a career in Valorant esports when the game is eventually released.
How will Valorant esports work?
Although the top tiers of competitive League of Legends play are run in a franchise format, Riot Games have no plans to follow the same idea for Valorant at the moment.
The studio instead wants tournament organisers, esports brands and personalities to start their own tournaments in order to build up an esports market in a more natural way.
A franchise format may then follow when the game is established in the esports market.
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