The biggest addition to the game in this patch is the new Escalation game mode. This mode is a team-based twist on the classic Gun Game mode from other shooters. Teams of players start with powerful weapons — or abilities, because this is Valorant — and every few kills they’ll progress to weaker weapons, making kills even harder to come by. Whichever team gets the right number of kills with the match’s weakest weapon wins.
As for balance changes in this patch, Reyna seems to have been Riot’s first target. Reyna has always been strong, especially if you wanted to carry your team, but now Riot’s taking away a bit of her power. She can now only carry two charges of her Devour and Dismiss abilities, rather than four, and both are now more expensive. To counteract this a bit, she now gains Soul Orbs any time an enemy she damages is killed, even if she wasn’t the one to land the final shot, which should let her use her abilities a little more often.
The Stinger also got a few adjustments this patch that should make it a little less valuable. The SMG was one of the cheapest weapons in Valorant and one of its most effective, especially for the price. To help counteract this, Riot raised the price slightly from 1000 up to 1100, slowed the gun’s fire rate, and made the recoil a little less forgiving. This won’t make the Stinger useless, but it will mean that if you’re not at close range there should be some better options.
For a look at all the changes coming to Valorant in patch 2.03, you can take a look at the full patch notes.
Valorant patch 2.03 patch notes
- Maximum Devour(Q) and Dismiss(E) charges reduced 4 >>> 2
- Slain enemies that Reyna has damaged in the last 3 seconds now drop Soul Orbs, even if Reyna does not land the killing shot
- Cost of Devour and Dismiss charges increased 100 >>> 200
Reyna gets a dual nerf and buff in hopes of reigning in some of her “pubstomp” potential, while still keeping her viable in balanced and coordinated play. The charge reduction should limit how much impact she can have round over round when she’s heavily out-gunning her opponents—but allow enough room for the 1v5 dream when Empress(X) is active.
The price increase of Devour and Dismiss in tandem with the Frenzy price increase (see below) should also push some tougher economic decisions during pistol round. Now, she’ll no longer be able to buy a charge or Leer(C), her Soul Orb abilities, and upgrade her pistol. On the flip side, Reyna getting Soul Orbs from recently damaged enemies should help her reliability when playing around teammates, and reduce the animosity when an ally lands the final blow and Reyna goes empty handed.
- Gatecrash now displays the range at which the tether can be seen by enemies while moving on the minimap
- The range that enemies are able to hear the audio of a Gatecrash teleport is now displayed on the minimap
- While in Dimensional Drift, Yoru’s minimap is now visible
- Enemies within Yoru’s vision range, while in Dimensional Drift, are now revealed to ally minimaps, as well
- Dimensional Drift can no longer body block enemies
While we investigate future changes to Yoru that target his power and ability to achieve his core promise, we wanted to make a few changes that we felt would improve his use today. Gatecrash wasn’t providing much information about when enemies could see or hear his teleport fragment, so we added a few pieces to make that easier. As far as the ultimate, we’ve noticed a burden on Yoru having to communicate threats between his allies and his destination and wanted to make it easier for him and his team to understand the state of the round when they set up the ultimate pincer.
- The audio of the Incendiary’s lingering fire zone will be easier to hear when other actions and sounds occur nearby.
- The audio of the Hot Hands lingering fire zone will be easier to hear when other actions and sounds occur nearby.
We wanted to sharpen the Marshal’s strength as a sniper with a movement speed buff when zoomed. The intent is to carve out a strong, agile, hit-and-run identity for the weapon. There’s a price buff too, because the weapon is not as versatile as others in its range.
- Movement speed when zoomed is now at 90% of unzoomed movement speed (previously, zoomed movement speed was 76% of unzoomed)
- Price decrease 1100 >>> 1000
- Zoom magnification increased 2.5x >>> 3.5x
Stinger (full auto)
The Stinger’s been strong for some time and while we like that it is threatening at any stage of the game, it’s proved to be too potent in too many areas. We’re taking a swing at raw DPS with the fire rate reduction (full auto only) and made spread and/or recoil adjustments to both firing modes. The intent is to better designate optimal ranges for the respective firing modes as well as introduce degrees of mastery to the weapon. The price increase is meant to bump the premium a bit on the Stinger’s now nerfed, but still potent, versatility.
- Price increased from 1000 >>> 1100
- Full auto fire rate reduced from 18 >>> 16
- Full auto fire now reaches max spread at bullet 4, instead of bullet 6
- Adjusted pitch (vertical) recoil curve for full auto, recoil climbs more aggressively past the 3rd bullet
- Decreased yaw switch bullet protection at full auto count from 4 >>> 3 on Full-Auto
Stinger (burst fire)
- Adjusted pitch (vertical) recoil to be more aggressive after the first burst
- Added more error on bursts after the first one
- Improved recovery time on burst mode from .45 >>> .4
Frenzy has surged into popularity recently and while we’ve enjoyed to see that, it feels like it’s pushed out a lot of other options on pistol rounds. We’re interested in seeing what a price bump does to purchase rates. As usual, we’ll monitor this weapon for any follow up tuning.
- Price Increased from 400 >>> 500
Escalation goes live! (Read our full game mode rundown)
- This is a quick (approx. 7–9 min.) and fast-paced 5v5 game mode where you must race through progressively less lethal loadouts with your team. The loadout gamut varies from match to match, but always features a mix of both weapons and abilities. The same list of loadouts is always used by both teams throughout the match.
- Our biggest goal for Escalation is to offer a quick, fun mode that encourages social play and provides a chance for you to practice using new weapons in a lower-stakes environment. We’re also excited to offer a uniquely short and kinda crazy mode to round out what we have!
- This was one of our more highly requested game modes, so we’re especially excited to bring this one to you.
- TBD on exactly how long this will be live, but we’d like to keep this one out for as long as it makes sense, depending on your engagement
- AFK-ing in Competitive games for a prolonged period (currently defined as 6 or more rounds) will now result in a penalty of 8 rank rating points
- We understand that sometimes your computer, ISP, etc. may have some issues during a game, so we won’t punish you for missing some rounds—but we want to encourage players to come back from those AFKs and play through their Competitive matches.
- Act Rank Badges will now be based on your highest rank win, instead of your ninth best win
For more context around these changes, read our overall E2: A2 rank plans.
Quality of Life
- All sprays will now be destroyed on round start.
Death sequence improvements and updates
Two changes have been made specific to the death sequence, that is, all the stuff that happens once you are killed and before you become a spectator from beyond. We hope these changes improve the experience and game feel by addressing the smoothness of camera movement and general timing of the sequence. We cannot, however, bring you back to life. That’s Jett’s job.
- Fade to black start time decreased 1.75 seconds after death >>> 1.5 seconds after death
- Time spent on a full black screen increased ~0 seconds >>> 0.25 seconds.
- The total time of the death sequence has not changed, it remains at 2.75 seconds
- Camera movement smoothed significantly, especially for those under poor network conditions
- Prior to patch 2.03, any of you (but especially those with high ping or packet loss) could experience camera jitter during the death sequence.
- Based on our investigations of this issue, you can rest assured this camera jitter did not impact combat performance—anyone experiencing this issue was already dead during the unsmooth movement.
- Now everyone, regardless of network conditions, will have smooth camera movement during the death sequence.
- Fixed issue where Yoru’s decoy had slightly different sounding footsteps than Yoru himself
- Fixed issue where the in-world indicator for Cypher’s Cyber Cage disappeared if it took damage
- Fixed issue where Sova’s Owl Drone could clip through specific map geo and view the other side
- Fixed issue where players already affected by nearsight would momentarily see inside smokes that should instead nearsight them
- Fixed issue where Skye’s Seekers would no longer work if she was killed at a very specific moment while casting them
- Fixed issue where Yoru was unable to equip a weapon or ability if he cancelled out of Dimensional Drift right as its buffs activated
- Killjoy’s Lockdown can no longer be placed inside Sage’s Barrier Orb in some instances
- If Barrier Orb is placed on top of Killjoy’s ult, the section of the wall covering the ult will now be destroyed.
- Fixed issue where teleporting to Yoru’s Gatecrash right as it expires caused him to fall through the map to his death (rip)
- Fixed issue where Yoru’s Bait could sometimes fall through the floor when the stationary version was placed
- Fixed issue where Sova could sometimes get the voice over for Hunter’s Fury to play, even though it isn’t used, by trying to equip the Owl Drone at the same time
- The End of Game screen will no longer display “Average Abilities Cast per Round” as 0
- Fixed a couple input bugs around possessing and unpossessing objects (Cypher camera, Sova drone, etc.) in the same frame which lead to locking all inputs or locking view direction
- Sorry Cypher mains—thanks for all the reports!
- Fixed an issue where certain settings would not display while in game
- Your player icon color on the minimap is now white if you turn on any color blind settings
- Fixed a few input issues that were causing players to get stuck using orbs or planting the Spike