The time has finally come! Riot Games are starting to launch Valorant worldwide, which means that the official release-day v1.0 patch notes have arrived with all the information relating to the new Agent and map, as well as all of the other changes and updates that have been made.
As you’d expect, the notes are quite lengthy, featuring a plethora of changes to several Agents and maps, as well as quality of life improvements, bug fixes, and an update on the competitive side of things.
Of course, this means that Reyna, the game’s newest and 11th Agent, is finally live in-game. Also added is Ascent, a brand new map set in Italy “that features a large, open middle area that both teams can skirmish over.”
On the other hand, Jett was given several buffs, including her Cloud Burst now lasting longer, and Tailwind allowing her to break through Cypher’s Trapwires.
Sage was heavily nerfed in the Valorant launch-day patch.
Phoenix mains will also be happy with this balancing update, as most of his abilities – Blaze, Curveball, and Run it Back – got some positive changes, with the only exception being slight nerfs to the damage that Blaze deals and the healing rate of Hot Hands.
Last but not least we have Omen, who the devs said would receive a massive rework at launch, and they weren’t kidding. All four of the abilities got tweaked with the aim of giving players more control when operating with him.
Most of the adjustments can be considered buffs, as players will now be able to use Omen in a much more efficient manner, and be able to make split-second decisions with a clearer preview of the results.
Omen received a massive rework of all his abilities in the Valorant launch patch.
Headlining the map updates is the addition of Ascent – “a map set in Italy that features a large, open middle area that both teams can skirmish over. Mid is a playground for diverse ability use and successfully controlling the area opens additional routes for Attackers to both Spike sites.”
Riot also noted that Ascent will be featured more commonly in the main rotation for the first few days, so that players are given a better chance to try it out.
Ascent is now live with the Valorant launch patch.
The biggest change of the lot goes to Split, which the devs reworked to have a more open and favorable mid chokepoint: “We felt like Defenders were able to effectively plug up the main choke point in mid for a large percentage of the round. The new layout hopes to alleviate this issue. These changes open up the space quite a bit and provide an additional path to get around stalling abilities on the stairs. It also gives Attackers a few different angles to help siege B Tower and Vents.”
Riot made a huge change to the mid chokepoint on Split in Valorant’s day one patch.
As for the rest of the adjustments, they mostly focused on tidying things up on all four maps, including an expansion of the system that combats exploits (especially with Cypher’s Spycam) and players trying to escape the boundaries.
Valorant launch update patch notes 1.0
If you’re reading this, it’s too late—VALORANT is launching.
What’s new? Reyna is the latest Agent to join VALORANT—straight from the heart of Mexico. Ascent, an open playground for small wars of position and attrition, enters the map pool. Spike Rush (beta) also arrives to deliver a fresh and more hectic flavor of VALORANT.
Sage, Omen, Phoenix, Raze and Jett all received a decent share of buffs and nerfs respectively to get them ready for launch. This patch also targeted the framerate drops some of you were getting during combat. The devil’s in the details, but know that getting performance where we want for all players is an ongoing process we hope to nail down in the next few patches.
Improvements to hit registration, and a rework of Split’s mid chokepoint joins the healthy list of fixes and updates below.
Good game, mad patch notes.
GAMEPLAY AND BALANCE
Healing Orb cooldown increased 35 >>> 45 seconds
We like how much Sage is able to heal in a single heal, but felt she was able to use it too frequently during a round.
Barrier Orb segment health reduced 1000 >>> 800
Barrier Orb duration reduced 40 >>> 30 seconds
Friendly Barrier Orb walls now show on the minimap
Previous changes to Sage’s Barrier Orb helped give it more counterplay options in pistol/early round but it’s still having too much impact in any given round. Our hope is that the wall stays a powerful stalling tool, but asks you to think more about when in the round you want to use it.
Blast Pack maximum damage radius reduced 2 >>> 1 meters
The Blast Pack has proven to be quite strong, especially when chained back-to-back. By reducing the inner maximum damage radius, we hope to reduce the average damage output of this ability while still keeping it powerful.
We feel like Jett has a strong, irreplaceable value in terms of her ability to deny trades. But we think her team-oriented output is a little too low. This should give her and her team a little more time to work off of her smokes.
Tailwind automatically breaks Cypher’s Trapwires after being briefly revealed
Tailwind force is powerful enough that Jett should easily be able to break free of any leash. This should allow her a little more freedom to make that aggressive, but risky play that creates space for her team.
Blaze duration increased 6 >>> 8 seconds
We felt like the short wall duration, combined with the long cast time and short range, was forcing Phoenix to play a little too predictably around his wall. We’re bumping this up slightly to give him some more time to work with.
Blaze damage: 15 every 0.25s >>> 1 every 0.033 seconds
Blaze healing: 3 every 0.25s >>> 1 every 0.16 seconds
These Damage over Time/Healing over Time models are updated to match the recent changes to our other DoT abilities. Additionally, we’ve matched the damage/healing values to be half as effective as Hot Hands, primarily so that the total healing output of these two abilities is at parity (50 health each). We’re also doing this so that Blaze doesn’t become the de-facto “healing” ability compared to Hot Hands.
Hot Hands healing: 3 every 0.25s >>> 1 every 0.08s.
Updated the HoT model to match recent changes to the DoT abilities.
Curveball max flash duration increased 0.8 >>> 1.1 second
The flash duration is short given how quickly he can get his curveball out on an enemy caught out of position. Even still, it was a hair too short, especially to justify the new 200 credit price point.
Run it Back automatically reloads all weapons on respawn
This is closer to a quality of life improvement. Phoenix’s ult often puts him in a position to empty his clips right before getting sent back. It was very jarring for a Phoenix player to wait several seconds to respawn, only to then have to spend another second reloading—potentially under pressure. We think the several second respawn time is enough time to justify an automatic reload.
Paranoia is now equipped instead of quickcast, and hit detection improved, especially at close range
Changed the cast paradigm to reward more proactive use of Paranoia over its previous reactive use case. Enemies will receive a warning when the projectile is fired rather than being in the direct path of it. This should make it hit enemies more reliably.’
Dark Cover, Omen now enters a “phaser” world where he can see through walls to place his smokes and pressing RELOAD toggles between phased and normal targeting.
We wanted to provide Omen with a more precise way to place his smokes, especially when verticality is at play. We’ve provided a toggle back to the old view mode as well to make sure we still support the quick, close range smoke playstyle many Omen players have honed.
Dark Cover controls have been updated where Omen can now increase smoke distance with PRIMARY FIRE, decrease it with SECONDARY FIRE, and throw smoke with the ABILITY KEY.
Yeah, this might be a difficult control shift for players who main Omen, but in the long run—and for new players—we think it’s more intuitive for the distance to be controlled by one hand on the mouse by default.
Shrouded Step, Omen can now see his teleport location on the map and receives an in-world indicator of where he’s targeting when his vision of the point is obstructed.
We want to help Omen understand where he is targeting his teleport, especially when he’s teleporting from out of his smoke.
From the Shadow, Omen can now cancel his teleport while in Shade form by pressing the ABILITY KEY again—Omen still loses all of his ult points if he cancels.
We want Omen to attempt plays and create fear for his opponents with his ultimate. Previously, the punishment for using the ult was almost certain death if caught by an enemy, and it pushed the ability into more niche use. Allowing Omen to cancel his ult if he’s in danger at the cost of his ult points will hopefully open more possibilities and value, while still pushing him to try and pick the best teleport spots possible.
SOUND VISUALIZATION (AUDIO ATTENUATION)
We’ve brought in more sounds made by Agents under the category of sounds that display their audio distance on the mini-map via the white circle. This includes ability sounds, reloads, spike interactions and more.
Why? We wanted to provide players with the ability to understand when their noise can be heard by enemies and give them an idea of how far the sounds can be heard.
INTRODUCING A NEW MAP: ASCENT
Ascent is a map set in Italy that features a large, open middle area that both teams can skirmish over. Mid is a playground for diverse ability use and successfully controlling the area opens additional routes for Attackers to both Spike sites.
As our new map for launch, Ascent will be slightly more common in our Matchmaking rotation for the first few days so that you can get more opportunities to play on the map.
Restructured mid chokepoint
We felt like Defenders were able to effectively plug up the main choke point in mid for a large percentage of the round. The new layout hopes to alleviate this issue. These changes open up the space quite a bit and provides an additional path to get around stalling abilities on the stairs. It also gives Attackers a few different angles to help siege B Tower and Vents.
HAVEN/BIND/SPLIT/ASCENTThe train station maintenance crew was able to replace the burned out speaker system
A certain frog’s head is now a little warmer
Expanded our new system that combats map exploits to all other maps—this will eradicate anyone trying to escape the playspace
Continued to fix level collision in order to enhance the smoothness of the gameplay space
Completed draw call optimizations
Also continued to block spots for Cypher’s Spycam that prevented counter-play; as always, huge thanks to everyone who helps us find these!
COMPETITIVE MODE UPDATE
Competitive mode will not be on at launch
Similar to our closed beta launch, our initial focus is making sure our service is stable before activating competitive matchmaking. This is also a way to give new players the same courtesy that closed beta players had to learn the game ahead of turning on Competitive. We’ll also make some adjustments to Competitive based on remaining closed beta player feedback. Our plan is to turn on Competitive a few patches into our launch.
The team rallied in this patch to fix a number of performance issues. Our focus for this round is primarily on the framerate dips you may sometimes experience in combat. Simpler scenarios, where very little is happening, may not see the same dramatic gains in FPS. Rest assured, we’re not done improving performance and you can expect to see more from us on this subject in upcoming patches.
Combat Performance: Addressed multiple causes of framerate dips in combat. These improvements should help the game feel smoother, especially in combat situations on higher-end PCs.
Effect pooling added for impacts, gunshots and footsteps. This should reduce frame drops when these events occur.
Disabled bullet casings from calculating physics + audio bounces. We’re looking to bring a more optimized version of this feature back in a future patch.
Reduce cost of z-pings and death pings by 10x
Fixed bug causing 90 raycasts per second when pinging
Fixed a bug where NOT opening the options menu every game would cause framerate to drop on a regular cadence
+FPS for mid to high specs: Sped up calculations on the CPU for game and render threads. These improvements will be felt the most on machines with powerful GPUs bottlenecked by their CPU speeds.
Optimized minimap for visible elements
Fixed bug where minimap would calculate twice per frame
Fixed bounding boxes on a variety of VFX, reducing the number of VFX updating at any given time
Reduce cost of updating transform on render thread
Reworked a variety of HUD elements that were previously built on a particularly slow component
+FPS for low to mid specs: Content improvements that will primarily help low to mid tier specs when rendering the world.
Reduced draw calls on all maps
Removed non-gameplay impacting map particles on Low and Medium Detail Quality
Optimized First Person Shadows to no longer consider lights that do not impact final shadows
Removed unintentionally large textures across gun buddies, scopes, silencers
Optimized VFX for Characters
Omen : ALL ABILITIES
Sage : ALL ABILITIES
Viper: ALL ABILITIES
Closed exploit where Nvidia Inspector could be used to see through Viper and Phoenix wall abilities
Added a setting for speaker configuration
Additional tooltip clarity around what graphics quality settings actually do
GPU Time stat now correctly excludes idle time
QUALITY OF LIFE
Dying to a non-enemy player will no longer grant ultimate points. This includes dying to the spike, fall damage, a teammate’s ability, or your own ability.
Context: This should eliminate some of the weird optimization around farming ultimate points when a death doesn’t have enough economic impact (e.g., self-killing at the end of the pistol round, or team kill at the start of a save round. We’ll continue to monitor to see if we need to further dissuade these “save round self-kills.”
Added VALORANT Community Code pop-up for new players
Added chat and voice restrictions for repeat offenders of our Community Code
Chat and Voice restrictions last 72 hours
Getting a restriction will require you to log out. Please take a moment to cool down and reflect before logging back in to play VALORANT 🙂
Chat restrictions will be enforced for ‘all’ and ‘team’ chat, but your ‘party’ chat will still be available.
Voice restrictions will be enforced for ‘team’ chat, but your ‘party’ voice will still be available.
Reporting categories updated to cover a wider range of Community Code violations
Transition screens added before Character Select and In Game
The button to upgrade a gun skin now indicates what type of improvement (variant, animation, etc.) will be granted by the upgrade
Visual updates to collection and contract pages
Adjusted ping calculation to be more accurate
Added a setting to disable the spectator count widget on the HUD
Updated the death camera to avoid obscuring the screen immediately after death
Added a build version watermark
Added team-specific 1st-person fresnel highlighting for observers
Adjusted consistent coloring for Attackers/Defenders on the HUD
Attackers and Defenders don’t swap in HUD on side swap rounds
Keybinds are consistent from round to round for swapping between players
Fixed scoreboard not showing the correct score
Removed the ‘freeze time’ that would trigger when waiting for a player to reconnect at the start of the buy phase
Updated shop icons
HUD & UI
Added VFX to abilities, killfeed, and ceremonies (e.g., Ace or Clutch)
Updated Spike visuals in the inventory
Updated Armor icons in the shop
Updated character portraits
Added chat message regulation so that only send one chat message is sent when multiples of the same ping or VO command are used in rapid succession
BUG FIXES: IN-GAME
“Fixed a bug with “rewinding” for Hit Registration that could cause the client to slightly disagree with the server on where a target was when you pulled the trigger. This affected all players slightly, but scaled up in severity at lower FPS.
Fixed an issue where client-side tracers desynced when yaw switching
The server and client would sometimes disagree on where shots were landing when firing extended bursts.
Fixed a bug that let you shred the gnar at supersonic speeds using Viper’s Toxic Screen as a projectile boost
Fixed the ability to activate Viper’s Poison Cloud mid air if it has been picked up.
Removed slow from Viper’s Snakebite tooltip.
Cypher’s Spycam now shows the direction it is looking right when it is possessed.
Fixed more unintended Cypher Spycam locations
Fixed Sova’s arrows sometimes unpredictable bouncing
Fixed Sova arrows from revealing through some walls
Fixed a bug with Jett’s lower body popping out of place during her glide—thanks physical therapy!
Fixed an issue where blood was disabled
Fixed an Observer bug where dead players appeared as Phoenix on the HUD when an entire team was dead
Fixed a spectator issue where Cypher’s tracers would appear inaccurate if the spectator swapped to him after he had entered/exited his camera
Fixed an issue where a team could all disconnect on side swap rounds to surrender, but they would receive a win instead of a loss
Fixed a bug that allowed Bucky’s right click to penetrate through world geography
Fixed a bug for the comms halo above a player’s head, it should now activate with both Party chat and Team chat
Fixed an issue where credits on the HUD appeared to be much higher than the 800 you receive on side swap rounds
Fixed an issue with the scoreboard that would show enemy team above the credit cap
Fixed a bug where players were fully movement inaccurate after being resurrected or respawning
Fixed overruns on interactable objects like orbs or the Spike
Fixed an issue where ally loadouts appeared to show damaged allies at full health
Fixed issues with HUD prompts that would be cut off if the key to activate the prompt was bound to a key with more than one letter
Fixed a bug where the buy phase announcement would always say to press B to buy, even if the key to open the Armory was bound to a different key
Fixed an issue where reconnect messages would spam every round start
Fixed an observer bug where text would overlap in the buy phase announcement
Fixed an observer bug where some abilities were not appearing on the minimap properly
Fixed a bug where the ping wheel on the megamap would not grey out when ping limited
Fixed a bug in the Armory where weapon details would vanish after purchasing a weapon
Fixed a bug where the Equip Last Equipped Weapon hotkey was not functioning properly after using an ability
Fixed overlaps with instability indicators (i.e. High Ping) and the Spectator widget
Fixed overlaps and overruns in the Combat Report
Fixed an issue with dead player models occasionally flickering
Fixed an issue with animations when aiming with the Odin for spectators
Fixed flickering mouse cursor in a few places
The tooltip pointing at Contracts can now be dismissed FOREVER
Fixed a bug where half the Arsenal page would fade in when clicking on the Collection tab
Fixed a bug where the personalized Store offers would blink before fading in
Fixed a bug where various menus could overlap the lobby screen after a queue dodge
BUG FIXES: GAME CLIENT
Fixed some visual bugs in the settings menus
Fixed a bug with windowed mode where the VALORANT window would not save its location properly
While we’ve made good progress at addressing hit registration issues, there’s one known issue we haven’t gotten to yet:
In very rare cases where a player has a lot of incoming packet loss, an enemy model may appear to be crouching when they’re actually standing (or vice versa). The connection has dropped the packet that says “this player un-crouched”, and there can be a short delay before it’s resent. We have a fix for this coming asap.
We’re also looking into ways to improve the visual clarity of our hit impact effects (especially sparks). In many of the clips that we reviewed, readability issues caused shoulder shots to read like headshots, further contributing to the feeling of hit reg being off.
All impact effects (spark and blood) are pinned in world space where the hit was registered on the server. These show up after hearing back from the server, at which point the victim or attacker may have slightly shifted positions. Often, we’ve seen the target crouch into or move their head to where the hit impact renders.
It’s difficult to read the exact hit location (center point) from the spark effect when compared to blood.
The Valorant Champions Tour is set to define the outlook of Riot’s flagship FPS from 2021 onwards. The esport scene has been divided into three stages, giving players from grassroots to top-tier a chance to shine. Here’s how it works.
The Valorant Champions Tour is here to revolutionize professional play for Riot’s hit FPS. After a year of domestic tournaments and regional leagues, there’s now hope of getting a dose of international play in 2021.
However, the Valorant Champions Tour announcement is a lot to digest. If you’re left confused by the announcement, we’ve broken down each tier of play here, and how the entire system works, as simply as possible.
The Valorant Champions Tour is divided into three tiers: Challengers, Masters, and Champions.
Valorant Champions Tour regions
Before we can dive into what each tier of the new Valorant Champions Tour means, we need to break down who’s participating. There are seven regions looped into the Valorant Champions Tour ecosystem.
North America (includes Oceania)
Europe, Middle East, and Africa (includes CIS, Turkey, and MENA)
It’s a similar spread compared to Riot’s handling of League of Legends. Bigger regions, like North America and Europe, will have more slots at the bigger international events.
Smaller regions, like Oceania and CIS, don’t have a direct path to qualification through their domestic events. They will instead have to make it through specified events in North America (OCE) and Europe (CIS), on top of making it through their home region.
Here’s how the Valorant Champions Tour circuit is shaping up for 2021.
What is Valorant Challengers?
Valorant Challengers is the domestic level of Valorant competition. Each region — regardless of size — will have a Challengers event.
Each Challenger event takes place over six weeks with three open qualifiers. It’s similar to the First Strike format: play through Opens, make it to Closed Qualifiers, and if you perform well enough, you make the Challengers Final.
A step-by-step guide to the VCT format.
Eight teams will qualify for the Challengers Final. This is the path towards the international Masters-level events. The top teams from each region will earn themselves a spot at the next Masters event:
North America (and OCE): Top 3 teams
Europe (and CIS, Turkey, and MENAI): Top 4 teams
Brazil: Top 2 teams
Korea: Top 2 teams
Japan: Top 2 teams
South-East Asia: Top 2 teams
Latin America: Winner of Valorant Challengers
There will be three Valorant Challengers events throughout the year (February, May and August), each running into their respective Valorant Masters event.
What is Valorant Masters?
Valorant Masters is the first stage of international play in Valorant. The best teams from each region will qualify for one of three Masters events, spaced out across the year. The teams will be decided by their placements in Valorant Challengers.
Teams will earn points based on their performance at Masters-level events. These points will be put towards qualifying for the end-of-year Valorant Champions event — the World Championship.
Due to the current global situation, Masters events may remain at a domestic level for now, and emulate the format from Valorant Challengers. However, making it to Masters and performing well will still be the key to making the big Valorant Champions event.
What is Valorant Champions?
Valorant Champions is the biggest event on the calendar. It’s essentially the Valorant World Championship. After a year of competition, the top 16 teams around the world will duke it out for the biggest prize in the circuit. It’s set to be a “massive” two-week long event.
There will be 12 direct invites into the Valorant Champions event, based on Masters performances. However, this isn’t the end of the line.
Qualifying for Valorant Champions isn’t easy, but it’ll be worth it.
Four more slots will be up for grabs in regional last chance qualifiers. These last chance qualifiers will be split across: North America, Europe, South America, and Asia-Pacific. Here’s the regional breakdown.
North America (and OCE): 4 slots
Europe (and CIS, Turkey, and MENAI): 4 slots
Brazil: At least 2 slots
Latin America: At least 1 slot
Japan: At least 1 slot
South-East Asia: At least 2 slots
Korea: At least 1 slot
Masters 3 Winner: Direct invite
Putting it simply, the Valorant Champions Tour gives teams of all levels a chance to go from grassroots to glory. From small local Challengers events, all the way through to the Champions Final, there’s a clear path to the top no matter if you are a big organization or a small pub-stomping team. Of course, you still have to meet that Immortal 1 minimum threshold!