Valorant patch 2.0 marks the beginning of the second episode of Riot Games’ tactical shooter. The patch also introduces Yoru, the newest duelist agent, balance changes for Brimstone and Omen, more nerfs to the Classic, and major competitive mode changes.
Omen quickly replaced Brimstone as the primary smoke agent after his buffs last year. Riot hopes to bring Brimstone back in the mix with some buffs. First, his Stim Beacon now quick casts, meaning when the ability is activated, there is no equip time and he throws it instantly. Second, the Molotov cost is reduced by $100, making it a little more cost-effective, especially on save rounds. Third, and the most impactful change, his Sky Smokes has a larger cast range, and the smokes last five seconds longer. Although Brimstone is still limited to three smokes per round, the increased range and duration, along with its instant activation strengthens the agent’s ability to execute on to sites.
Speaking of Omen, the shadow hunter is receiving some fairly heavy nerfs. First, his Paranoia’s cost increases from $200 to $400. This forces Omen players to decide between the flash or a Ghost on pistol rounds, and strains the agent’s overall economy. Second, the projectile speed for Dark Cover is reduced from 4000 to 2800. This means Omen’s smokes will land significantly slower and virtually removes Omen’s ability to smoke reactively. Riot clearly wants to differentiate the roles between the agents and force players to decide between Omen’s consistent pressure or Brimstone’s instant execution. Viper is also mentioned, with the team acknowledging her weaknesses. More Viper buffs are incoming later this year but nothing is revealed here.
The Classic’s alt-fire is taking another hit. Increased jumping error and input queue should prevent players from landing shots while jumping. Riot removes the ability to consecutively right click with the weapon as the recovery error increases per shot. Basically, the time to alt-fire increases every time the player right clicks. The changes should add some consistency to the classic.
Arguably the biggest change in this patch is the competitive mode updates. Riot finally adds the long-requested top 500 leaderboard to the client. A progress bar and numerical progress, known as Valorant Rank Rating (RR), replaces the previous arrow system. Now players in lower ranks get a better understanding of the rank and how each game impacts their rank. Immortal and Radiant players can now only queue solo or with one other player. Gone are the days of a solo Immortal player matching up with TSM’s full line up. Players will also receive a gun buddy based on their highest rank in the previous episode.
The new year signals the next step for Riot’s tactical shooter. The team clearly listens to player feedback and acts accordingly to that feedback. This design philosophy, coupled with a growing esports scene should keep Valorant alive and healthy for the foreseeable future.
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