I just wrote about my experience with trying to get into the Valorant closed beta a couple of days ago. As I still had yet to gain access to the game, I decided to push out a post with thoughts about the streamed gameplay I had watched. Due to having only watched the game I couldn’t comment on certain parts of the experience, and like most things first-had experience makes a difference. Much of what I said still rings true, but having actually played the game now I can offer a few more thoughts.
Yesterday I received an email notification while I wasn’t even watching a stream. Logging onto Twitch from there, I saw my flagged status and was directed to a page where I was able to download the client. The patcher looks much like the League of Legends launcher so I would hope that eventually these are all unified into one for Riot as a whole. Anyway, the game wasn’t too large and downloaded quickly. I managed to get in a couple of rounds last night before bed and I have to say I like it.
That isn’t to say it isn’t without flaws. It does look pretty. It ran smoothly and I didn’t notice any lag, though I did have a ping sitting around 30ms the entire time which is pretty good. I’m not sure if that was due to time frame or smaller servers, but perhaps the server is in California like the old LoL servers used to be, as that was my ping then as opposed to the ~100ish ping I get sometimes now that the servers are in the middle of the country. Whatever the case, these were good conditions to test the game. There isn’t a whole lot to the menu system just yet, but you can look at the collection of weapons that will eventually all have a ton of skins, along with looking at characters and their abilities. There’s a store and all that jazz.
Getting into a live match didn’t take long either. The game loads considerably faster than LoL, that’s for sure. I ended up playing my games as the archer character, though I can’t remember names at this juncture. He had the ability to send out an “owl drone,” shoot shock bolts and recon bolts, and his ultimate allows you to shoot energy beams through walls. I managed a couple of kills with that, and the recon bolt definitely came in handy while I had them, but I learned through playing that you have to purchase your ability charges, though they don’t cost much and some rounds you won’t use any of them. Your ultimate charges over time, but can be sped up with orb drops on the map.
There are two maps currently, and both seem okay. I don’t know them like the back of my hand just yet, so figuring out blind corners and where people will hide will take a little bit. The game mode is always on attack/defend, in that one team goes a certain number of rounds being attackers before swapping sides. As attackers you plant the spike, and as defenders you either kill the attackers or defuse the bomb or both if it happens to get planted and everyone is dead. In my rounds it was mostly just deathmatch, with the spike only detonating once and being diffused once. In most rounds it was pretty even, and though I was not on the first team to reach 13 round wins, we were only behind by 1 and 2 in the games I played. I think with practice it will be more fun, and I also think it would be better with friends. Voice chat is built in, but of course you can always coordinate on Discord.
One thing I would like to see is a push mode, where an objective needs to be moved from point A to point B ala Paladins. I think these characters are set up to do this, and more characters can always be added to make for more diversity. I’m sure Riot already has plans to build upon the game once they go live and get it all stable. Hey, CSGO made a battle royale mode based off of their engine, why couldn’t Riot? I guess we’ll see what happens. Whatever the case, if you manage to get into the beta and want to get some games in, drop me a line!