Riot explain their strategy for balancing Valorant Agents & weapons

Published: 20/Apr/2020 22:48 Updated: 20/Apr/2020 23:40

by Michael Gwilliam


In a new developer video, Valorant designers Salvatore ‘Volcano’ Garozzo and Trevor ‘Classick’ Romleski delve further into their balance philosophies for the game, and what can we expect in the future for patches.

Since the beta’s release on April 7, thousands of gamers have had a chance to test out Riot’s upcoming tactical shooter and while the results have been mostly positive, some players are wondering when certain Agents, such as Raze, will be nerfed.

“For Valorant we want to take an approach where we’re not knee-jerk reacting to whatever we see on a forum or whatever social platform,” Classick said, mentioning how he worked on League of Legends and was familiar with that game’s balance strategy. “We want to make sure that there’s time for players to problem solve, use all the systems and content in the game to see if they can figure out if something is truly OP or truly underpowered.”

(Timestamp 2:47 for mobile viewers.)

Volcano chimed in shortly thereafter. “With that being said, we’re going to find a tough balance here. We need to find when is the right time to step in and introduce a patch versus when it would be better to just let things take their course and let players solve the problem on their own.”

This is subject to change, however, as Classick noted this was their current take and they will be “feeling it out” as they go and see what the community wants.

Additionally, another big area for balance is when players begin to get used to the game and improve their muscle memory for things like recoil, projectiles and other weapons.

Riot Games
Who will be the first Agent to be nerfed?

It’s still very early in the game’s lifespan so there’s still a bit of a learning process for everything playing the title, so as the game progresses, players will have more knowledge and the devs will have more accurate data to work with.

“We want to be very, very delicate with how we approach changing those if they need to be changed,” Volcano explained.

“We definitely want to respect the knowledge that you build up over time and the muscle memory that you build from playing the game for a lot of hours,” Classick concluded. “We want to respect the time that you put into the game.”

Riot Games
Could knives be changed in a future update?

With Valorant’s ranked mode coming “soon” it will be interesting to see if there are any balance changes that accompany the first big content drop for the beta.

Until then, it’s anyone’s guess as to what the first batch of nerfs and buffs will entail.


Valorant devs confirm new Sage buff on the way in patch 1.13

Published: 2/Dec/2020 5:12

by Brad Norton


While Sage was an insta-lock in the early phases of Valorant, the Sentinel Agent dipped drastically due to a series of hefty nerfs. However, Riot Games has confirmed she’ll be getting some love in the next major update.

When Valorant launched, Sage was the only Agent in the game capable of healing allies. Others were capable of healing themselves, but her kit provided something entirely unique. Combined with an extremely chunky Barrier Orb that could block off a certain path, and you had an “out of control” Agent that was picked in almost every match.

It took multiple balance updates and various ability reworks to bring her back down a notch. Since then, along with the introduction of new characters, Sage has seen her pick-rate drop tremendously. The Agent has only seen play in two professional matches over the past 60 days, according to VLR.

In attempt to find a middle ground and get Sage back on track, Riot has confirmed a new buff is on the way. Here’s what we can expect in Valorant’s 1.13 update coming soon.

While it was a critical Killjoy bug that stole the spotlight on November 30, Sage was also in focus due to an issue with her wall. Thanks to the Barrier Orb being placed pre-round, she could help a friendly Omen teleport across the map and quite literally break the game.

As a result, the Agent will no longer be able to place a wall down before a round gets going. This may have seemed like a temporary fix, though Riot soon clarified it “will be sticking around in the next patch.”

“Don’t worry,” they stressed. Sage isn’t being properly nerfed again. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Despite this adjustment, a “small balance change” is in the works to “put a little power back into her barrier.”

There’s no telling exactly what that looks like just yet. Whether it’s more health, added size, or something new altogether, we’re yet to find out. Though it’s only a matter of time until Sage’s wall is stronger than it’s been for the past few weeks.

It’s clear Riot doesn’t want a repeat of Sage’s dominance. So they’re playing things safe for the time being. Instead of buffing the Agent in a number of ways, Riot confirmed a singular buff to her Barrier Orb and her Barrier Orb alone.

There’s no date announced for patch 1.13 just yet. Though we do already know something else on the way. The incoming update looks to address the smurfing issue once again, cracking down on those making secondary accounts.