It’s a running joke in the Valorant community that skins like the Prime Vandal are “pay-to-win,” though Michael ‘shroud’ Grzesiek hasn’t believed them even as they spam it in his Twitch chat. The streaming star has changed his mind, however, claiming some skins actually do have a benefit.
Skins equals wins is a meme that spans across all types of games and genres. In some cases, it’s even proven to be a real thing.
In Valorant though, it’s much more of a myth. Sure, some players will swear by the Prime Vandal giving you the best aim in the game, but each gun is supposed to be balanced about how it shoots, not how it looks.
Some skins do have fancy effects though, ones that shroud once thought were actually to the detriment of the player.
The glitzy VFX of the Ruination bundle, for example, were “so loud [and] so annoying”.
“These skins are cool, but you’re not getting an advantage. All you’re getting is a mental ‘this skin looks cool’, but you’re getting a disadvantage because it’s so loud, it’s so annoying, it’s so in your face with the visual effects and sh*t.”
However, after a few weeks of tinkering with his collection, shroud has changed his mind. The louder skins actually do have a pay-to-win effect.
“You know what chat? I’m doing it. I’ve used skins without effects for a little bit now, and you know what? I think you guys are right. Skins are pay-to-win. You’re all right,” he said on August 10.
“I’ve been playing it wrong. I need skins that go pew-pew. They’re pay to win so time’s up.”
He then equipped some of the loudest skins — including the Elderflame Vandal and Operator (“you’ve got to use the dragon”) and the Ruination skins. After making the swaps, he said: “You guys happy? I know I am.”
While louder, some of the gun sounds are less disorientating when you equip specific skins, like the BlastX.
Plus, the mental edge shroud professed earlier can definitely play a factor. And, if his actions are anything to live by after getting destroyed by a few Prime Vandals in the process: If you can’t beat them, join them.