Riot believes Valorant’s Operator “isn’t overpowered” and won’t be nerfed

Andrew Amos
Operator in Valorant side by side with Sova

The Operator in Valorant is a contentious weapon. The one-shot sniper costs a hefty 4,500 Creds, but in the right hands, it’s unstoppable. Many players have called for it to be nerfed, but Riot thinks otherwise, stating they have no plans to change the Operator.

Getting killed by an Operator in Valorant can be pretty infuriating. It’s a one-shot kill to the body after all, unlike any other gun in the game. However, its cost matches its power ⁠— coming in at a whopping 4,500 Creds.

Despite all the utility Valorant players have at their disposal, many believe that the Operator is too overpowered for its good. Maybe it needs a price increase, or some other stats change, to make it so teams don’t buy two or three of them on defense.

Operator in Valorant on Haven C long cubby
People just love complaining about Snipers.

However, Riot believes otherwise. It’s not an Operator problem in Riot’s eyes ⁠— but a player problem. According to Ryan ‘Morello’ Scott, lead character designer on Valorant, the Operator is in a fine place, and if anything, Riot are looking at buffing other utility first before nerfing the gun.

“We don’t think the Operator is overpowered. We think some portions of utility might be underperforming in mid elos…but not elite elos or expert elos. We don’t think there’s a balance problem,” he said during a July 23 stream.

He explained how some players don’t approach the fights with the Operator correctly. You can’t just dry push through and hope for the best ⁠— with the right utility setup you can deny the Operator. However, in lower elos, and outside of five stacks, the coordination can be lacking.

“There’s a ‘I can’t access the tools I need to fight an operator’ [problem] in a lot of cases. ‘It’s so much harder to do the coordination for an un-coordinated team that we’re getting bodied by Operators. We don’t think the Operator is actually overpowered.”

“It’s doing what it’s supposed to do. You walk around the corner, and an OP is standing on the corner, it shoots you, and you die? That’s by design, we will not be fixing that.”

He also said the meta, which is to run Cypher and Sage while neglecting some of the best Operator counters, is exacerbating the perceived problem.

“If you’re playing double Sentinel, my expectation is that OPs body you. You have some answers, but it’s going to be much harder for you. If you’re running a double Controller comp, I think that’s much better for dealing with OPs.

Instead of nerfing the Operator, Riot are looking at the other solution instead ⁠— buffing its counters. The counterplay Riot has for the Operator might not be working as intended, and might need a leg-up if the numbers trend towards the gun being more powerful than initially thought.

“My worry is that we don’t see people running a Breach, or a Phoenix, or a Reyna who have flash-like utility, because I think our flash-like utility might just not be potent enough compared to some of the guns.

“They pop slower, they are harder to place in the right space, they have lower debuff times, they don’t go smokes ⁠— if you compare it one-to-one with CS, ours are much worse. That’s by design, but it’s maybe too much worse.”