Valorant is a free-to-play first-person tactical hero shooter developed and published by Riot Games for Windows. Teased under the codename Project A in October 2019, the game began a closed beta period with limited access on April 7, 2020, followed by a release on June 2, 2020. The development of the game started in 2014. Valorant takes inspiration from the Counter-Strike series of tactical shooters, borrowing several mechanics such as the buy menu, spray patterns, and inaccuracy while moving.
Valorant is a team-based first-person tactical hero shooter set in the near future. Players play as one of a set of Agents, characters based on several countries and cultures around the world. In the main game mode, players are assigned to either the attacking or defending team with each team having five players on it. Agents have unique abilities, each requiring charges, as well as a unique ultimate ability that requires charging through kills, deaths, orbs, or objectives. Every player starts each round with a “classic” pistol and one or more “signature ability” charges. Other weapons and ability charges can be purchased using an in-game economy system that awards money based on the outcome of the previous round, any kills the player is responsible for, and any objectives completed. The game has an assortment of weapons including secondary guns like sidearms and primary guns like submachine guns, shotguns, machine guns, assault rifles, and sniper rifles. There are automatic and semi-automatic weapons that each have a unique shooting pattern that has to be controlled by the player to be able to shoot accurately. It currently offers 20 agents to choose from. Those include Brimstone, Viper, Omen, Cypher, Sova, Phoenix, Jett, Raze, Breach, Reyna, Killjoy, Skye, Yoru, Astra, KAY/O, Chamber, Neon, Fade, and Harbor. The player will get 5 unlocked agents (Brimstone, Sova, Sage, Phoenix, and Jett) and will have to unlock the remaining agents by activating their respective agent’s contracts.
It features the following game modes: Unrated, Spike Rush, Competitive, Premier, Deathmatch, Escalation, Replication, and Snowball Fight.
In the standard non-ranked mode, the match is played as best of 25 – the first team to win 13 rounds wins the match. The attacking team has a bomb-type device called the Spike. They must deliver and activate the Spike on one of the multiple specified locations (bomb sites). If the attacking team successfully protects the activated Spike for 45 seconds it detonates, destroying everything in a specific area, and they receive a point. If the defending team can deactivate the spike, or the 100-second round timer expires without the attacking team activating the spike, the defending team receives a point. If all the members of a team are eliminated before the spike is activated, or if all members of the defending team are eliminated after the spike is activated, the opposing team earns a point. If both teams win 12 rounds, sudden death occurs, in which the winning team of that round wins the match, differing from overtime for competitive matches. Additionally, if after 4 rounds, a team wishes to forfeit that match, they may request a vote to surrender. If the vote reaches 4 (in contrast to 5 for competitive), the winning team gets all the victory credit for every round needed to bring them to 13, with the forfeiting team receiving losing credit. A team gets only three chances to surrender: once in the first half, once in the pistol round of the second half, and once more in the second half.
In the Spike Rush mode, the match is played as best of 7 rounds – the first team to win 4 rounds wins the match. Players begin the round with all abilities fully charged except their ultimate, which charges twice as fast as in standard games. All players on the attacking team carry a spike, but only one spike may be activated per round. Guns are randomized in every round and every player begins with the same gun. Ultimate point orbs in the standard game are present, as well as multiple different power-up orbs.
Competitive matches are the same as unranked matches with the addition of a win-based ranking system that assigns a rank to each player after 5 games are played. Players are required to reach level 20 before playing this mode. In July 2020, Riot introduced a “win by two” condition for competitive matches, where instead of playing a single sudden death round at 12-12, teams will alternate playing rounds on attack and defense in overtime until a team claims victory by securing a two-match lead. Each overtime round gives players the same amount of money to purchase guns and abilities, as well as approximately half of their ultimate ability charge. After each group of two rounds, players may vote to end the game in a draw, requiring 6 players after the first set, 3 after the second, and thereafter only 1 player to agree to a draw. The competitive ranking system ranges from Iron to Radiant. Every rank except for Radiant has 3 tiers. Radiant is reserved for the top 500 players of a region, and both Immortal and Radiant have a number associated with their rank allowing players to have a metric in which they can compare how they rank up to others at their level.
Premier is a 5v5 game mode that allows players a path-to-pro competitive game mode that is aimed towards players that wish to be a professional player. Premier is currently in alpha testing in Brazil. Players will need to create a team of five to compete against other teams in divisions. Each season will last a few weeks and the top teams will be invited to compete in the Division Championship. This game mode will include a pick-and-ban system for maps, unlike all the other game modes where the players have to play the map selected by the system.
The Deathmatch mode was introduced on August 5, 2020. 14 players enter a 9-minute free-for-all match and the first person to reach 40 kills or the player who has the most kills when time is up wins the match. Players spawn in with a random agent as well as full shields, and all abilities are disabled during the match which indulges pure gunplay. Green health packs drop on every kill, which reset the player to maximum health, armor, and give an additional 30 bullets to each of their guns.
The Escalation game mode was introduced on February 17, 2021, and is similar to the “gun game” concept found in Counter-Strike and Call of Duty: Black Ops, though it is team-based rather than free-for-all with 5 players on each team. The game will pick a random selection of 12 weapons to move through. As with other gun game versions, a team needs to get a certain number of kills to advance to the next weapon and the weapons get progressively worse as the team moves through them. There are two winning conditions, if one team successfully goes through all 12 levels, or if one team is on a higher level than the opposing team within 10 minutes. Just like Deathmatch, players spawn in as a random agent, unable to use abilities, as the game mode is set for pure gun fights. Though, abilities like Sova’s shock darts, Raze’s boom bot, and rocket launcher, are abilities that everyone gets to use as a weapon. After a kill, green health packs drop, which replenishes the player’s health, armor, and ammo to its maximum. The game mode also has auto respawns on, respawning players in random locations around the map.
The Replication game mode went live on May 11, 2021. During the agent selection, players vote on which agent they would want to play as. At the end of the time, or after everyone has voted, the game randomly selects one of the player’s votes. The entire team will then play as that agent, even if one of the players has not unlocked that agent. It is a best-of-nine, with the players switching sides after the fourth round. Players can buy guns and shields with a pre-set number of credits. Abilities are pre-bought. Weapons and shields are reset every round.
Snowball Fight is a limited-time game mode that was released on December 15, 2020, and is only available during the Christmas season. It is a Team Deathmatch game mode, with 50 kills to win. Abilities are not allowed to be used, and players spawn in as a random agent. The only weapon available is the snowball launcher, which is an instant kill, but slow, and uses a projectile-based arc. There is infinite ammo. Throughout the game a “portal” will spawn, delivering gifts, which each contain a random power-up.