January 15 saw the first ever wwFest: Valorant, a musical extravaganza set against the background of a Future Earth themed space. This event, though, wasn’t quite the K/DA event fans were hoping for.
It’s safe to say that when Riot Games and Amazon’s Crown Channel announced their partnership to bring us wwFest Valorant, fans across the globe were a little confused as to what this actually meant.
Promising a cornucopia of music, art, visuals and Valorant themes, long time Riot Games fans expected something akin to the likes of K/DA, League of Legends’ insanely successful K-Pop group that have become an iconic part of the LoL universe.
Would we see Yoru darting around the stage to the music of Grammy award nominee Madeon? Or Reyna dropping the beat with Whipped Cream? The reality was a very different style of event, but at the same time it lays the foundations for a Valorant music universe with a very unique style.
While the artsy style event maybe wasn’t quite what a lot of fans were expecting, it definitely wasn’t all bad.
Not only were several of the artists that were performing pretty hyped to begin with, they beautifully channeled the Agent that their setlist was based around. Whipped Cream’s Reyna-inspired set was literal perfection, with the dark, atmospheric vibes channeling the vampiric nature of the fan favorite Duelist.
Whipped Cream wasn’t the only one who put on a show though. While possibly one of the less popular parts of the event, the plethora of beautifully choreographed dance routines showcased throughout the stream were a dance teacher’s paradise. The performances during Killjoy, Raze and Phoenix’s dedicated hours were literally showstopping (get it?).
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So sure, maybe this more artistic approach to the Valorant wasn’t to a lot of people’s tastes, but it’s important to note that the event brought pure entertainment of all different forms together. It provided a nice escape for a few hours, especially given current global restrictions.
However, I’d hardly be writing this piece if everything was sunshine and rainbows though, right?
One of the main issues was that, for a Valorant event, there simply wasn’t enough Valorant.
While it’s great that the average viewer could tune in and enjoy the stream, as Valorant fans we wanted to see some Future Earth chaos. The “space inspired by the in-game world of Valorant” that Riot promised us was pretty lackluster in comparison to what we’ve seen with K/DA and True Damage. Sure the projectors were running themed backdrops with Agent voice lines and the symbols for abilities, but is that really enough?
It’s also pretty perplexing that the characters themselves weren’t really involved. Taking inspiration is great, and seeing some of the voice actors behind each Agent was a nice touch, but we’ve seen what Riot can do with visual effects. Maybe it wouldn’t be quite the same as Jonas ‘AverageJonas’ Navarsete serenading Sova, but it would have been cool to see Jett zipping around the stage with Moore Kismet.
That’s where this event fell flat. As fans of Riot’s flagship FPS we wanted an evening where we could escape into Future Earth. wwFest left us feeling a bit like we’d just dominated on Haven only to be ranked Iron 1.
The genuinely confusing
It’s a given that live art isn’t to everyone’s taste, but what made wwFest even odder was the fact that Valorant’s fanbase doesn’t seem the type to enjoy this style of event.
While the art showcased above is absolutely stunning, with the Phoenix representing its Valorant namesake, live art is a pretty polarizing thing. The title is characterized by its lightening quick rounds, sharpshooting pro players and speedy Agents. So it seems really odd to include a live art segment in a game synonymous with being fast paced.
Plus, while Valorant has a unique art style and impressive creative fanbase, it just doesn’t seem the right game for this type of event. Take LoL or WoW for instance, which has a huge artistic pool to draw from. Valorant is still in its infancy, so it would probably have been a better idea for both Riot and Amazon Crown to tap into a more established fanbase.
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It doesn’t take away from the skill of the artists involved though; quite the contrary. The show allowed these artists to show their portfolios to the world, and it’ll be exciting to see where this step in their journey takes them.
wwFest Valorant: not K/DA but not bad either
So, did wwFest Valorant flop? Clearly the 50k viewers imply that’s a no. At the same time though, it didn’t live up to fan expectations.
What it does do, though, is provide the perfect launch platform for future Valorant music events. Music is an integral part of the Riot Games universe, and it looks like it’s going to become a core part of Valorant too.
Personally, it will be exciting to watch Future Earth’s musical scene progress. After all, who doesn’t want to watch Killjoy having a rave party with her robots to ARMNHMR? I rest my case.