Riot Games officially released Valorant on Tuesday and revealed what’s changing from the game’s beta on launch day.
Along with the usual balance updates, including buffs and nerfs to a few Agents, Riot also introduced Reyna, the game’s newest character, a new map called Ascent, a new game mode called Spike Rush, and several quality-of-life updates that should make the game better for everyone.
This patch is also the beginning of what Riot is calling Episode 1: Ignition. Episodes in Valorant are a little bit like seasons in other games like Fortnite. Each episode will include new features and new content that Riot hopes will feel like a big update to the game.
The biggest changes in this patch come with the addition of Reyna and Ascent. These are the first new character and map to be added to Valorant since the public has had the chance to see and play the game. Reyna is an Agent designed for constant fighting, but if she’s not getting kills she won’t have much utility to help her team. Meanwhile, Ascent is a map set in a Venice-like city with certain areas of the map that can be opened and closed during rounds.
The patch also adds a new game mode called Spike Rush. Spike Rush keeps many of the same mechanics from the standard Valorant mode including the shooting, abilities, and Agents, but the objective is a little different. The intention of the mode, according to Riot, is give players a faster more casual mode that doesn’t take nearly an hour per match, like Valorant’s main game mode.
This patch also brought major changes to several characters. Sage got several more nerfs, continuing a trend for Riot. Sage’s Healing Orb now has a longer cooldown and her Barrier Orb is weaker than it was before. Meanwhile Jett got a few buffs including a longer lasting smoke duration for her Cloud Burst ability. Riot also update Split, Valorant’s least liked map during the beta, to have a more open middle area to make attacking a little easier.
One thing that isn’t in the game at launch is Valorant’s ranked mode. Players who participated in the closed beta had several weeks to test out ranked play, but Riot is holding off on the full release. The ranked mode will be out sometime shortly after launch to give Riot time to make sure the servers are holding up well and that there are no glaring bugs.
Valorant will go live in North America at 7 a.m. PT and 10 a.m. ET. For a full list of all the changes that arrived with Valorant’s launch you can find the full patch notes below.
Valorant patch 1.0 notes
Gameplay and Balance
- Healing Orb cooldown increased 35 >>> 45 seconds
We like how much Sage is able to heal in a single heal, but felt she was able to use it too frequently during a round.
- Barrier Orb segment health reduced 1000 >>> 800
- Barrier Orb duration reduced 40 >>> 30 seconds
- Friendly Barrier Orb walls now show on the minimap
Previous changes to Sage’s Barrier Orb helped give it more counterplay options in pistol/early round but it’s still having too much impact in any given round. Our hope is that the wall stays a powerful stalling tool, but asks you to think more about when in the round you want to use it.
- Blast Pack maximum damage radius reduced 2 >>> 1 meters
The Blast Pack has proven to be quite strong, especially when chained back-to-back. By reducing the inner maximum damage radius, we hope to reduce the average damage output of this ability while still keeping it powerful.
- Cloud Burst smoke duration increased 4 >>> 7 seconds
We feel like Jett has a strong, irreplaceable value in terms of her ability to deny trades. But we think her team-oriented output is a little too low. This should give her and her team a little more time to work off of her smokes.
- Tailwind automatically breaks Cypher’s Trapwires after being briefly revealed
Tailwind force is powerful enough that Jett should easily be able to break free of any leash. This should allow her a little more freedom to make that aggressive, but risky play that creates space for her team.
- Blaze duration increased 6 >>> 8 seconds
We felt like the short wall duration, combined with the long cast time and short range, was forcing Phoenix to play a little too predictably around his wall. We’re bumping this up slightly to give him some more time to work with.
- Blaze damage: 15 every 0.25s >>> 1 every 0.033 seconds
- Blaze healing: 3 every 0.25s >>> 1 every 0.16 seconds
These Damage over Time/Healing over Time models are updated to match the recent changes to our other DoT abilities. Additionally, we’ve matched the damage/healing values to be half as effective as Hot Hands, primarily so that the total healing output of these two abilities is at parity (50 health each). We’re also doing this so that Blaze doesn’t become the de-facto “healing” ability compared to Hot Hands.
- Hot Hands healing: 3 every 0.25s >>> 1 every 0.08s.
Updated the HoT model to match recent changes to the DoT abilities.
- Curveball max flash duration increased 0.8 >>> 1.1 second
The flash duration is short given how quickly he can get his curveball out on an enemy caught out of position. Even still, it was a hair too short, especially to justify the new 200 credit price point.
- Run it Back automatically reloads all weapons on respawn
This is closer to a quality of life improvement. Phoenix’s ult often puts him in a position to empty his clips right before getting sent back. It was very jarring for a Phoenix player to wait several seconds to respawn, only to then have to spend another second reloading—potentially under pressure. We think the several second respawn time is enough time to justify an automatic reload.
- Paranoia is now equipped instead of quickcast, and hit detection improved, especially at close range
Changed the cast paradigm to reward more proactive use of Paranoia over its previous reactive use case. Enemies will receive a warning when the projectile is fired rather than being in the direct path of it. This should make it hit enemies more reliably.’
- Dark Cover, Omen now enters a “phaser” world where he can see through walls to place his smokes and pressing RELOAD toggles between phased and normal targeting.
We wanted to provide Omen with a more precise way to place his smokes, especially when verticality is at play. We’ve provided a toggle back to the old view mode as well to make sure we still support the quick, close range smoke playstyle many Omen players have honed.
- Dark Cover controls have been updated where Omen can now increase smoke distance with PRIMARY FIRE, decrease it with SECONDARY FIRE, and throw smoke with the ABILITY KEY.
Yeah, this might be a difficult control shift for players who main Omen, but in the long run—and for new players—we think it’s more intuitive for the distance to be controlled by one hand on the mouse by default.
- Shrouded Step, Omen can now see his teleport location on the map and receives an in-world indicator of where he’s targeting when his vision of the point is obstructed.
We want to help Omen understand where he is targeting his teleport, especially when he’s teleporting from out of his smoke.
- From the Shadow, Omen can now cancel his teleport while in Shade form by pressing the ABILITY KEY again—Omen still loses all of his ult points if he cancels.
We want Omen to attempt plays and create fear for his opponents with his ultimate. Previously, the punishment for using the ult was almost certain death if caught by an enemy, and it pushed the ability into more niche use. Allowing Omen to cancel his ult if he’s in danger at the cost of his ult points will hopefully open more possibilities and value, while still pushing him to try and pick the best teleport spots possible.
Sound Visualization (Audio Attenuation)
- We’ve brought in more sounds made by Agents under the category of sounds that display their audio distance on the mini-map via the white circle. This includes ability sounds, reloads, spike interactions and more.
Why? We wanted to provide players with the ability to understand when their noise can be heard by enemies and give them an idea of how far the sounds can be heard.
- Ascent is a map set in Italy that features a large, open middle area that both teams can skirmish over. Mid is a playground for diverse ability use and successfully controlling the area opens additional routes for Attackers to both Spike sites.
- As our new map for launch, Ascent will be slightly more common in our Matchmaking rotation for the first few days so that you can get more opportunities to play on the map.
- Restructured mid chokepoint
We felt like Defenders were able to effectively plug up the main choke point in mid for a large percentage of the round. The new layout hopes to alleviate this issue. These changes open up the space quite a bit and provides an additional path to get around stalling abilities on the stairs. It also gives Attackers a few different angles to help siege B Tower and Vents.
- The train station maintenance crew was able to replace the burned out speaker system
- A certain frog’s head is now a little warmer
- Expanded our new system that combats map exploits to all other maps—this will eradicate anyone trying to escape the playspace
- Continued to fix level collision in order to enhance the smoothness of the gameplay space
- Completed draw call optimizations
- Also continued to block spots for Cypher’s Spycam that prevented counter-play; as always, huge thanks to everyone who helps us find these!
Competitive Mode Update
- Competitive mode will not be on at launch
- Similar to our closed beta launch, our initial focus is making sure our service is stable before activating competitive matchmaking. This is also a way to give new players the same courtesy that closed beta players had to learn the game ahead of turning on Competitive. We’ll also make some adjustments to Competitive based on remaining closed beta player feedback. Our plan is to turn on Competitive a few patches into our launch.
Combat Performance: Addressed multiple causes of framerate dips in combat. These improvements should help the game feel smoother, especially in combat situations on higher-end PCs.
- Effect pooling added for impacts, gunshots and footsteps. This should reduce frame drops when these events occur.
- Disabled bullet casings from calculating physics + audio bounces. We’re looking to bring a more optimized version of this feature back in a future patch.
- Reduce cost of z-pings and death pings by 10x
- Fixed bug causing 90 raycasts per second when pinging
- Fixed a bug where NOT opening the options menu every game would cause framerate to drop on a regular cadence
+FPS for mid to high specs: Sped up calculations on the CPU for game and render threads. These improvements will be felt the most on machines with powerful GPUs bottlenecked by their CPU speeds.
- Optimized minimap for visible elements
- Fixed bug where minimap would calculate twice per frame
- Fixed bounding boxes on a variety of VFX, reducing the number of VFX updating at any given time
- Reduce cost of updating transform on render thread
- Reworked a variety of HUD elements that were previously built on a particularly slow component
+FPS for low to mid specs: Content improvements that will primarily help low to mid tier specs when rendering the world.
- Reduced draw calls on all maps
- Removed non-gameplay impacting map particles on Low and Medium Detail Quality
- Optimized First Person Shadows to no longer consider lights that do not impact final shadows
- Removed unintentionally large textures across gun buddies, scopes, silencers
- Optimized VFX for Characters
- Omen : ALL ABILITIES
- Sage : ALL ABILITIES
- Viper: ALL ABILITIES
- Closed exploit where Nvidia Inspector could be used to see through Viper and Phoenix wall abilities
- Added a setting for speaker configuration
- Additional tooltip clarity around what graphics quality settings actually do
- GPU Time stat now correctly excludes idle time
Quality of Life
- Dying to a non-enemy player will no longer grant ultimate points. This includes dying to the spike, fall damage, a teammate’s ability, or your own ability.
Context: This should eliminate some of the weird optimization around farming ultimate points when a death doesn’t have enough economic impact (e.g., self-killing at the end of the pistol round, or team kill at the start of a save round. We’ll continue to monitor to see if we need to further dissuade these “save round self-kills.”
- Added VALORANT Community Code pop-up for new players
- Added chat and voice restrictions for repeat offenders of our Community Code
- Chat and Voice restrictions last 72 hours
- Getting a restriction will require you to log out. Please take a moment to cool down and reflect before logging back in to play VALORANT :)
- Chat restrictions will be enforced for ‘all’ and ‘team’ chat, but your ‘party’ chat will still be available.
- Voice restrictions will be enforced for ‘team’ chat, but your ‘party’ voice will still be available.
- Reporting categories updated to cover a wider range of Community Code violations
- Transition screens added before Character Select and In Game
- The button to upgrade a gun skin now indicates what type of improvement (variant, animation, etc.) will be granted by the upgrade
- Visual updates to collection and contract pages
- Adjusted ping calculation to be more accurate
- Added a setting to disable the spectator count widget on the HUD
- Updated the death camera to avoid obscuring the screen immediately after death
- Added a build version watermark
- Observer Updates
- Added team-specific 1st-person fresnel highlighting for observers
- Adjusted consistent coloring for Attackers/Defenders on the HUD
- Attackers and Defenders don’t swap in HUD on side swap rounds
- Keybinds are consistent from round to round for swapping between players
- Fixed scoreboard not showing the correct score
- Removed the ‘freeze time’ that would trigger when waiting for a player to reconnect at the start of the buy phase
- Updated shop icons
HUD and UI
- Added VFX to abilities, killfeed, and ceremonies (e.g., Ace or Clutch)
- Updated Spike visuals in the inventory
- Updated Armor icons in the shop
- Updated character portraits
- Added chat message regulation so that only send one chat message is sent when multiples of the same ping or VO command are used in rapid succession
Bug Fixes: In-Game
- “Fixed a bug with “rewinding” for Hit Registration that could cause the client to slightly disagree with the server on where a target was when you pulled the trigger. This affected all players slightly, but scaled up in severity at lower FPS.
- Fixed an issue where client-side tracers desynced when yaw switching
- The server and client would sometimes disagree on where shots were landing when firing extended bursts.
- Fixed a bug that let you shred the gnar at supersonic speeds using Viper’s Toxic Screen as a projectile boost
- Fixed the ability to activate Viper’s Poison Cloud mid air if it has been picked up.
- Removed slow from Viper’s Snakebite tooltip.
- Cypher’s Spycam now shows the direction it is looking right when it is possessed.
- Fixed more unintended Cypher Spycam locations
- Fixed Sova’s arrows sometimes unpredictable bouncing
- Fixed Sova arrows from revealing through some walls
- Fixed a bug with Jett’s lower body popping out of place during her glide—thanks physical therapy!
- Fixed an issue where blood was disabled
- Fixed an Observer bug where dead players appeared as Phoenix on the HUD when an entire team was dead
- Fixed a spectator issue where Cypher’s tracers would appear inaccurate if the spectator swapped to him after he had entered/exited his camera
- Fixed an issue where a team could all disconnect on side swap rounds to surrender, but they would receive a win instead of a loss
- Fixed a bug that allowed Bucky’s right click to penetrate through world geography
- Fixed a bug for the comms halo above a player’s head, it should now activate with both Party chat and Team chat
- Fixed an issue where credits on the HUD appeared to be much higher than the 800 you receive on side swap rounds
- Fixed an issue with the scoreboard that would show enemy team above the credit cap
- Fixed a bug where players were fully movement inaccurate after being resurrected or respawning
- Fixed overruns on interactable objects like orbs or the Spike
- Fixed an issue where ally loadouts appeared to show damaged allies at full health
- Fixed issues with HUD prompts that would be cut off if the key to activate the prompt was bound to a key with more than one letter
- Fixed a bug where the buy phase announcement would always say to press B to buy, even if the key to open the Armory was bound to a different key
- Fixed an issue where reconnect messages would spam every round start
- Fixed an observer bug where text would overlap in the buy phase announcement
- Fixed an observer bug where some abilities were not appearing on the minimap properly
- Fixed a bug where the ping wheel on the megamap would not grey out when ping limited
- Fixed a bug in the Armory where weapon details would vanish after purchasing a weapon
- Fixed a bug where the Equip Last Equipped Weapon hotkey was not functioning properly after using an ability
- Fixed overlaps with instability indicators (i.e. High Ping) and the Spectator widget
- Fixed overlaps and overruns in the Combat Report
- Fixed an issue with dead player models occasionally flickering
- Fixed an issue with animations when aiming with the Odin for spectators
- Fixed flickering mouse cursor in a few places
- The tooltip pointing at Contracts can now be dismissed FOREVER
- Fixed a bug where half the Arsenal page would fade in when clicking on the Collection tab
- Fixed a bug where the personalized Store offers would blink before fading in
- Fixed a bug where various menus could overlap the lobby screen after a queue dodge
Bug Fixes: Game Client
- Fixed some visual bugs in the settings menus
- Fixed a bug with windowed mode where the VALORANT window would not save its location properly
- In very rare cases where a player has a lot of incoming packet loss, an enemy model may appear to be crouching when they’re actually standing (or vice versa). The connection has dropped the packet that says “this player un-crouched”, and there can be a short delay before it’s resent. We have a fix for this coming asap.
We’re also looking into ways to improve the visual clarity of our hit impact effects (especially sparks). In many of the clips that we reviewed, readability issues caused shoulder shots to read like headshots, further contributing to the feeling of hit reg being off.
- All impact effects (spark and blood) are pinned in world space where the hit was registered on the server. These show up after hearing back from the server, at which point the victim or attacker may have slightly shifted positions. Often, we’ve seen the target crouch into or move their head to where the hit impact renders.
- It’s difficult to read the exact hit location (center point) from the spark effect when compared to blood.
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