Olivia R. June 2, 2020
As promised, Valorant developers have released patch notes ahead of the Riot FPS' official launch tomorrow.
Despite some concern from closed beta players, Valorant has stuck with their June 2 launch date, complete with some updates, fixes, and new content.
The biggest update is the addition of Reyna, the 11th agent to join Valorant "straight from the heart of Mexico." The vampire-like pub stomper's leaked abilities were also confirmed by Riot developers. The second biggest update is the fourth map, Ascent. But that's not all that Valorant's 1.0 patch has in store for the big launch.
Highlights include buffs and nerfs to agents "to get them ready for launch" and fixing the framerate drops "some [players] were getting during combat."
With regards to the game's limited map pool, developers also reworked Split's mid chokepoint. Of course, more changes are yet to come, explained Valorant developers.
"Know that getting performance where we want for all players is an ongoing process we hope to nail down in the next few patches," they said in the official press release.
Valorant 1.0 patch notes released ahead of June 2 launch
Sage is the first agent to be balanced in 1.0 and, no surprise, it's another nerf for the S-tier agent. Valorant developers felt she was able to use her Healing Orb "too frequently" each round, so the cooldown was increased from 35 to 45 seconds. The segments of the wall created by her Barrier Orb had their health reduced from 1,000 to 800. The wall's duration was also reduced from 40 to 30 seconds. The last change to her Barrier Orb was making it visible to allies on the mini map.
"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," developers explained.
Raze had her Blast Pack's maximum damage radius reduced from two to just one meter.
In the closed beta, players felt that Jett had a generally underwhelming kit. The 1.0 patch attempted to buff her, increasing her Cloud Burst smoke duration from four seconds to seven.
"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," developers said.
They also made her Tailwind ability break Cypher's Trapwires automatically after being briefly revealed. They explained that she should be able to "break free of any leash," allowing her a little more freedom to make "aggressive but risky play" in an attempt to create space for her team.
Phoenix was another agent receiving a buff. His Blaze duration was increased from six to eight seconds, helping his plays to become less predictable. The wall will also deal 15 damage every .25 seconds and healing three every .25 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," developers explained.
Another nice quality of life improvement to Phoenix is to his ultimate. Run it Back now automatically reloads all weapons on respawn.
Omen saw a lot of changes to his kit. Paranoia is now equipped instead of quickcast and its hit detection is improved, especially at close range. Dark Cover now enters Omen into a "phaser" world where he can see through walls. He can place smokes and press 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," developers said.
Developers then changed Dark Cover's controls. Omen now increases smoke distance with his primary fire and decreases it with secondary fire. He throws smoke with the ability key. While the developers admitted this may be tricky to get used to at first, they feel it's "more intuitive" in general, especially for newer players.
Omen can now see his teleport location on the map with Shrouded Step, "receiving an in-world indicator of where he's targeting when his vision of the point is obstructed." This will help Omen players to better understand where they are targeting his teleport out of their smoke.
Omen can now cancel his teleport while in Shade form during From the Shadows by pressing the ability key again. Omen will lose all of his ult points if it's canceled, but this lets players "create fear" in their opponent's minds.
"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," developers noted.
Sound visualization changes
Competitive Valorant players learned quickly in the closed beta how important being sneaky is. In the most recent patch, developers brought in more sounds made by agents that will display their audio distance on the mini-map via a white circle, including ability sounds and reloads.
"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," developers said.
Ascent was confirmed to be set in Italy. It features a large and open middle area for skirmishes, with mid described as "a playground for diverse ability use" in an attempt to control the area and to open additional routes. Ascent will be "slightly more common" in the matchmaking rotation in the first few days so that players can get accustomed to it more quickly.
Split got a restructured mid chokepoint, as developers felt like defenders were able to plug up the main choke point in mid for a large percentage of the round a bit too easily. Now the space is opened up and provides additional paths to get around stalling abilities.
Competitive mode will not be available upon launch.
According to the press release, Valorant develoepers want to ensure that their focus is on stabilizing the game before activating competitive matchmaking, similar to how they dealt with the closed beta. They said it's also a way to give new players the "same courtesy" that closed beta players had of learning the game before competitive modes are turned on.
They will also be making changes to competitive based on closed beta player feedback. Competitive will be turned on "a few patches into" the game's launch.
Valorant performance updates in 1.0
"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," developers discussed in the patch notes.
When it comes to combat performance, developers addressed multiple causes of framerate dips in combat, ensuring that the game should now feel smoother.
Developers also provided some quality of life changes. Dying to a non-enemy player will no longer grant ultimate points, eliminating some of the "weird optimization around farming ultimate points."
They also added chat and voice restrictions for repeat offenders, which will last 72 hours.
Developers also outlined a lot of bug fixes, including Sova's arrow sometimes unpredictably bouncing off walls and Cypher's spycam now showing the direction it is looking as soon as it is possessed.
Check out the full patch notes here.