Riot Games’ shooter Valorant is now live in Australia and around the world. Having spend some time in beta in North America and Europe, Valorant has launched as of 9 am AEST today and it’s free-to-play for everyone. Now that Valorant has launched, Riot Games has announced the new features available and the changes made.
Available at launch is the new map Ascent, new Agent Reyna, new mode Spike Rush and the Battle Pass (Story Contract). A free and premium track is available as part of the Battle Pass and players will unlock cosmetics and optional extras as they play and level up.
Ascent has been designed to be a “standard tactical map.” Riot says it has “with a traditional Mid that provides flank routes to both sites. This should help ease the transition for FPS players from other games.” It features three lanes and an open middle section with doors that can be opened and closed or destroyed.
New Agent Reyna
New Agent Reyna hails from Mexico and “dominates single combat.” Her skills and abilities are;
- DISMISS – Consume the life force of a killed enemy to turn invisible and invulnerable for a short duration.
- DEVOUR – Consume the life force of a killed enemy to restore your health.
- LEER – Send out an Ethereal, destructible Orb that Nearsights any enemies that look at it.
- EMPRESS – Enter a heightened state of bloodlust, giving you Rapid Fire and making enemies easier to see for the duration. Scoring a kill resets the timer.
New Mode – Spike Rush
Spike Rush is in beta and requires the attacking team to plant the spike. The difference here is, everyone on the attacking team has a spike. It’s a best of 7 and games should last between 8 and 12 minutes. After 3 rounds, teams swap Attack and Defense and everyone on both teams gets the same random weapon.
Additionally, in Spike Rush, every player gets all basic abilities free and every kill and death grants you two Ultimate Points. Finally, in every round, 3-5 powerp orbs are randomly placed on the map. They include spood boosts, gun upgrades and bonus damage.
Valorant Battle Pass
The Battle Pass in Valorant is split into chapters. Ignition: Act 1 is the first Battle Pass and it’s split into 10 Chapters. In each chapter, players are able to earn five items with a Premium Battle Pass and one or two free items.
To purchase the Premium Battle Pass costs 1000 Valorant Points.
Items earned through the Battle Pass include weapon skins, ornaments, Radianite Points, Player Cards and more.
There are eleven Agents in Valorant at launch. In addition to Reyna (above), players can select from;
Phoenix’s star power shines through in his fighting style, igniting the battlefield with flash and flare. Whether he’s got backup or not, he’s rushing in to fight on his own terms.
- HOT HANDS – Throw a fireball that explodes after a delay or upon impact with the ground. The fire zone damages enemies, and heals you.
- BLAZE – Cast out a flame wall that blocks vision and damages anyone passing through it. You can bend the wall when casting by turning while holding left click. The flame wall damages enemies, and heals you.
- CURVEBALL – Cast a curving flare that bursts into brilliant light after a brief delay, temporarily blinding all looking at it. Left click curves it left, right click curves it right.
- RUN IT BACK – Mark your current location. If you die during this ability’s duration, or when this ability’s duration expires, you’ll be reborn at the marked location with full health.
Jett’s agile and evasive fighting style lets her take risks no one else can. She runs circles around every skirmish, cutting enemies up before they even know what hit them.
- CLOUDBURST – Throw out a cloud of fog that obscures vision on impact. Hold down the ability button to bend the cloud’s in-flight trajectory.
- UPDRAFT – After a brief wind up, propel yourself upwards.
- TAILWIND – Immediately dash a short distance in the direction you’re moving.
- BLADE STORM – Arm yourself with several deadly throwing knives that deal moderate damage and kill on headshots. Scoring a kill restores all daggers. Left click throws a single dagger. Right click throws all remaining daggers in a short-ranged burst. The blades are perfectly accurate, even while moving.
Viper deploys an array of poisonous chemical devices to control the battlefield and cripple the enemy’s vision. If the toxins don’t kill her prey, her mind games surely will.
- SNAKEBITE – Fire a projectile that explodes into a pool of damaging acid.
- POISON CLOUD – Throw a gas emitter that you can reactivate to create a poisonous smoke cloud at the cost of fuel. The emitter can be picked up and thrown again after a short cooldown.
- TOXIC SCREEN – Deploy a long line of gas emitters that you can reactivate to create a tall wall of toxic gas at the cost of fuel.
- VIPER’S PIT – Emit a massive toxic cloud in a large area that lasts as long as Viper stays inside the cloud. Enemies inside the cloud are highlighted to Viper.
Sova tracks, finds, and eliminates enemies with ruthless efficiency and precision. His custom bow and incredible scouting abilities ensure that even if you run, you cannot hide.
- SHOCK BOLT – Fire an explosive bolt that emits a damaging pulse of static energy upon impact.
- OWL DRONE – Deploy a pilotable drone that can fire a dart that will Reveal enemies who are hit.
- RECON BOLT – Fire a bolt that deploys a sonar emitter. The sonar pings tag nearby enemies, causing them to be revealed. Can be destroyed.
- HUNTER’S FURY – Fire up to three deadly energy blasts that spear across the entire map. Each hit enemy takes heavy damage and is marked.
Cypher is a one-man surveillance network who keeps tabs on the enemy’s every move. No secret is safe. No maneuver goes unseen. Cypher is always watching.
- TRAPWIRE – Place a stealthed tripwire between two walls. Triggering enemies are restrained and revealed for a short time. If the trap is not destroyed, it activates to daze the trapped victim. Can be picked up.
- CYBER CAGE – Toss out a remote activation trap. Reactivate to create a cage that makes a noise when an enemy passes through it. Look at a trap and press USE to detonate it, or hold ACTIVATE to detonate all.
- SPYCAM – Place a remote camera. After placing, reactivate to view the video feed. Left click while in camera to fire a tracking dart. Recharges when picked up or killed.
- NEURAL THEFT – Extract information from the corpse of an enemy, revealing the location of their living allies.
Brimstone’s orbital arsenal ensures his squad always has the advantage. His ability to deliver utility precisely and safely make him the unmatched boots-on-the-ground commander.
- INCENDIARY – Launch an incendiary grenade that deploys a damaging field of fire.
- STIM BEACON – Target a nearby location to call in a Stim Beacon, giving all players near it improved firing speed and better recoil.
- SKY SMOKE – Use your map to call in orbital deployment smokescreens that obscure vision. Click to set the locations, and confirm to launch.
- ORBITAL STRIKE – Use your map to target a location, launching a devastating orbital strike that pulses for high damage over several seconds.
Sage creates safety for herself and her team wherever she goes. Able to revive fallen friends and stave off forceful assaults, she provides a calm center to a hellish battlefield.
- SLOW ORB – Cast out a radianite orb that breaks into a slowing field upon impact with the ground. All caught in the field are slowed, grounded, and make noise when moving.
- BARRIER ORB – Conjure a large, solid wall. Right-click to rotate the wall before casting.
- HEALING ORB – Heal an ally or yourself to full health over a few seconds.
- RESURRECTION – Target a friendly corpse. After a short delay, revive them with full health.
Omen hunts in the shadows. He renders enemies blind, teleports across the field, then lets paranoia take hold as foes scramble to uncover where it might strike next.
- PARANOIA – Send out an Ethereal shadow in a straight line, Nearsighting anyone it touches.
- SHADOW WALK – After a delay, dematerialize and teleport a short distance.
- DARK COVER – Enter a shadow realm to cast out a stealthed, ethereal orb that bursts into an obscuring sphere of shadow at its final location. Can be charged to increase distance.
- FROM THE SHADOWS – Select anywhere on the map to teleport and reform. After a delay, you’ll arrive at that location. Pressing the button again will cancel the teleport.
The bionic Swede Breach fires powerful, targeted kinetic blasts to aggressively clear a path through enemy ground. The damage and disruption he inflicts ensures no fight is ever fair.
- FLASH POINT – Launch a radianiate energy blast through a wall that after a brief delay erupts on the other side in a double flash of light, blinding all who see it.
- AFTERSHOCK – Launch a lethal energy blast through a wall that after a brief delay erupts on the other side, dealing heavy damage to anyone in its range.
- FAULT LINE- Charge up and release a fissure of radianiate energy that concusses anyone in its range. Charge to increase range.
- ROLLING THUNDER – Launch a massive rolling eruption. Anyone caught in its path is concussed and gets knocked into the air.
Raze explodes out of Brazil with her big personality and big guns. With her blunt-force-trauma playstyle, she excels at flushing entrenched enemies and clearing tight spaces with a generous dose of “boom”.
- BOOMBOT – Deploy a seeker bot that ricochets from wall to wall searching for enemies. Upon detecting one, the bot rushes forward and explodes for lethal damage.
- BLAST PACK – Toss a destructible satchel that can be reactivated to boost yourself and deal moderate damage to nearby enemies. Automatically detonates after a short time.
- PAINT SHELLS – Throw a cluster grenade that explodes, creating three additional explosives.
- SHOWSTOPPER – Equip and aim a rocket launcher that fires a large-radius explosive for devastating damage.
In addition to new map Ascent, there are three other maps available at launch.
- Two bombsites with no Mid; two direct paths into each bombsite for Attackers; teleporters connect the two sites
- Design Goal: What if a map had no true Mid, but used one-way teleporters to facilitate fast rotations?
- Three bombsites (with Mid as a bombsite)
- Design Goal: What if Mid was so important, it was another site?
- Elevated center – “King of the Hills (Towers);” vertical map orientation – symmetrical center; features ascenders (rope ladders)
- Design Goal: Could we build off-site positions that are essential to defending or capturing each site? These secondary objectives are towers that overlook each objective.
Being a competitive shooter, weapons are pretty important in Valorant. Here are the weapons available at launch;
- Classic (the base pistol you start with)
- Shorty (a 2-round sawed-off shotgun)
- Frenzy (an automatic pistol)
- Ghost (a silenced, more accurate pistol)
- Sheriff (a powerful revolver)
- Bucky (a pump shotgun)
- Judge (an automatic shotgun)
- Stinger (a high rate-of-fire, high recoil submachine gun that can burst-fire when aimed down sights)
- Spectre (a submachine gun)
- ASSAULT RIFLES
- Bulldog (a high recoil rifle that can burst-fire when aimed down sights)
- Guardian (a semi-automatic designated marksman rifle)
- Phantom (a silenced, accurate, high rate-of-fire rifle)
- Vandal (a powerful rifle with high recoil)
- Marshal (a fast lever sniper)
- Operator (Op) (a powerful, slow bolt sniper)
- MACHINE GUNS
- Ares (a light machine gun)
- Odin (a heavy machine gun)
Riot has attempted to create weapons in a way that doesn’t create a ‘best’ gun.
Radianite Points earned in-game can be used to evolve some weapon skins. These new levels of weapon skin will add features like visual effects, animations, finishers and more.
Players will find two Contract Slots that they progress through while playing Valorant. All XP earned is applied equally to both Contract slots so players are free to add a Battle Pass and Agent unlock to the slots.
The first Contract Slot can be equipped with an onboarding pass or an Agent Contract. New players earn an onboarding pass of 10 tiers. Once the onboarding pass is completed, players unlock two New Agents of their choice. After that, players can equip an Agent Contract and earn Agent specific rewards.
Agent Contracts have 10 tiers that reward players with items and a new Agent. Reaching tier 5 unlocks the Agent and is purchasable. However, tiers 6-10 will need to be earned through play.
The second Contract Slot is always equipped with the Battle Pass, also known as Story Contract.
Valorant Hardware Specifications
Valorant has been designed to be playable on a wide range of hardware. Specs required are;
- Recommended Specs – 60 frames per second:
- CPU: Intel i3-4150
- GPU: Geforce GT 730
- High-end Specs – 144+ frames per second:
- CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2GHz
- GPU: GTX 1050 Ti
- Minimum Spec – 30 frames per second:
- CPU: Intel i3-370M
- GPU: Intel HD 4000
- PC hardware recommendations:
- Windows 7/8/10 64-bit
- 4GB RAM
- 1GB of VRAM
Riot has applied some pretty cool tech in the rollout of Valorant in an attempt to keep the game experience smooth and fun for everyone. Valorant uses dedicated 128-tick servers which upsample all player movement to 128fps. This means that even if a player is lagging due to a poor connection, the servers smooth their movement to 128fps.
Additionally, most players should have less than 35ms ping. Riot says at least 70% of global players should see this ping as it has worked with ISPs to set up a Riot network called Riot Direct.
Riot Direct has a presence in 35 global cities and so most players should see 35ms ping or less. Riot is working hard to remove ‘Peerker’s Advantage’ from Valorant and Riot Direct is one way it’s going about it.
Valorant is a free-to-play, 5v5 competitive first-person shooter that includes hero characters and abilities. It is available for PC and requires a Riot Account.