In addition to revealing gameplay changes, Valorant’s 0.5 changelog reveals insight into the plans of the development team. Because the team copied combat from their competition, Counter-Strike (CS), it will have to distinguish itself elsewhere. The developers are connecting with the community while they struggle to balance the game for its official release.
Emulate the enemy or a distinguished identity
Valorant has been poaching professional players by emulating the mechanics of their competition. Taking heavy influence from CS’s gun mechanics, Valorant’s learning curve is flattened for players of Riot’s top competitor. In fact, many players even refer to the guns that make up Valorant’s arsenal by the name of their CS counterparts. Valorant’s emulated mechanics and made-for-esports gameplay have enticed many CS players to try the game out. However, not all aspects of a successful shooter can be emulated easily.
The development team will have to prove to their playerbase that they are capable of more than emulating other games. Similar to CS, Valorant’s economy and map design are critical to competitive play. The development team has implementing severe changes to both aspects of gameplay:
- Total credit cap is is [sic] reduced from 12,000 to 9,000… players/teams who manage to bank a high amount of credits are maintaining a rich economic state for too long, and it becomes a monumental challenge for the opposing team to dethrone their economy
- [On the map, Split,] attacking teams have been having difficulty finding a foothold in territory control across the map. We’ve made a few changes that should allow attackers better opportunities to contest A Main, Mid Top, and B Tower.
Aspects of the game that can’t be emulated from an established competitor will define the development team. The development team will have to toil in-house to figure out how to distinguish itself with economy and map design. Although Valorant is still in its beta, casual players and popular streamers have already expressed their disdain for its map design.
Machine guns prove that Valorant values communication and community
Regardless of its effect on the game, the development team made it clear that they want this patch to have a positive effect on the community. Providing players with extra information, the team detailed their findings and intent throughout the changelog. The changes to machine guns demonstrate the team’s dedication to their players.
Valorant’s 0.5 changelog
Aiming to make machine guns “shoot lots and lots of bullets,” but admitting that they “are significantly underperforming other weapons at their price points,” the team is being honest with the playerbase. After stating their intent and admitting their failure, the team promised they will keep working to fix the issues:
“Machine Guns are meant to be bullet hoses—powerful once they get going. This is a difficult balance to strike in a game where a single bullet from the Vandal will put you down. Our hope here is to make Machine Guns better at what they do.”
Valorant’s future won’t be determined by the team’s ability to balance machine guns, but their relationship with players will likely play a role. If the development team maintains its communication and continues to foster a positive relationship with the playerbase, CS may finally have met its match.