Riot Games are changing the FPS meta up with Valorant, with Agent abilities being at the forefront of that movement. Here’s how abilities will provide a fresh look on a utility system akin to that of Counter-Strike.
Riot Games have vowed to usher the first-person shooter genre into the “modern era” with Valorant. Bringing in high tick-rate servers, Riot Direct and anti-cheat are just some of the steps that the developers are taking to ensure all Agents are on a level playing field.
So if Riot is doing their bit to keep everyone on the server level pegging, players will be seeking the tactical advantage over their foes. And the protagonist to this narrative will be Agent abilities.
We already know 8/12 members of Valorant’s founding roster, with another four rumored to be in the pipeline for launch in Summer 2020.
Each of these 12 Agents will have the same character stats (i.e. baseline health and hitbox size) to ensure “tight, lethal tactical gameplay.”
What this means is that Agent abilities will be key in gaining the upper-hand over your opponents, especially since there is no equipment to facilitate this as per CS:GO and other leading tactical shooters.
So, how will Agent’s ‘support abilities’ act as a replacement for utility in Valorant? First, let’s take a look at Phoenix’ abilities.
Agent abilities acting as utility
Phoenix is a fiery character and will light up the server with his array of fire-based abilities. The British Agent’s abilities each provide an equivalent to Counter-Strike’s utility, so let's take a look.
Phoenix’ ‘Hot Hands’ ability is one of their purchasable abilities which will essentially act as an incendiary grenade, while his other purchasable ability called ‘Blaze’ will essentially work like a smoke grenade to obscure enemy vision.
The British Agent’s ‘Curveball’ Signature ability will essentially work as a flashbang — facilitating those ‘breach and clear’ moments that will most definitely happen during Reactor Site takes.
In Phoenix’ gameplay trailer, the Agent utilizes Curveball to clear two corners while using Blaze to block the line of sight of his enemy.
— VALORANT (@PlayVALORANT) March 5, 2020
Phoenix is a prime example of an Agent who essentially possesses an entire utility belt of equipment through his abilities. But this isn’t exclusive to Phoenix, since the vast majority of Agent abilities operate in the same way.
Take Jett, for example… While the vast majority of her abilities aid in rapid escape from enemy engagements (e.g. Updraft and Tailwind), her purchasable ability of ‘Cloudburst’ allows Jett to deploy a cloud of fog which will work to cut off key choke points around the map.
Of course, only time will tell how these abilities play out in Riot’s tactical shooter, but it appears that the character selection will be especially important given the dependence on Agent abilities to gain the tactical edge in Valorant.