Tactical shooters like Valorant often struggle to keep the balance between attackers and defenders even. Riot’s hit FPS title is no different, with a chorus of complaints about the game being too “defender sided.” However, the developers are looking at flipping the balance.
It’s a tale of two sides, but it’s hardly a fair one in Valorant. The defenders get most of the screen time, while the attackers try to make it into the credits.
The game has swung relatively heavily into the defender side on every map. The new Agent releases like Killjoy haven’t helped the situation, with Sentinels being more available and oppressive. Players have also managed to coordinate defenses better generally.
This imbalance is too far in their hands, however. Riot is concerned with the “oppressive” nature of defense in Valorant, and are looking at how they can potentially bring the opposing forces back into equilibrium.
In an interview with Hitscan, senior game designer Max ‘Orcane’ Grossman outlined Riot’s goals with balancing out the two sides. While it was “expected,” as Riot believes players “get better at defense before they get better at offense,” the bias has slipped a bit too far into the defenders’ hands.
“The big thing we’ve been looking at is the defender-sidedness of the game. It’s one of the trends we’ve observed over the course of the game,” he explained.
“When the game launched, the maps were pretty much 50-50, but as time goes on, the maps have become more defender-sided, especially at higher ranks.
To right the ship, Riot are looking at giving attackers a bit more agency, and cull defenders’ power. This will be through a combination of Agent changes — like those planned to Killjoy and Cypher — and potentially some map changes too.
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“There’s a handful of things that we’re looking to tweak to make defense feel a little less oppressive. [This will] probably mostly target some character changes.”
The overall goal is “to not make defending harder, but more nuanced, and create more opportunities for attackers to capitalize on advantages,” according to Orcane.
The first set of these defender sided changes are expected to ship on Valorant Patch 1.11, which is due to launch on October 27. Riot wants the changes in before First Strike to ensure a “stable competitive environment” for all, so expect them to be big.