Riot is planning to increase the competitive map pool for Valorant in the near future.
Valorant director Joe Ziegler sat down with G2’s Oscar “mixwell” Cañellas Colocho to talk about increasing the competitive map pool and better balancing the game’s agents. The interview gave a lot of insight into the future of competitive Valorant, which has already been growing increasingly popular throughout Europe and North America.
Icebox was just released, but Valorant developers are already planning a fifth new map. According to Ziegler, the team is trying to “accelerate” the release of the next few maps because they don’t have enough maps for “some sort of level strategic positioning” around best-of-five series play. The goal is currently is to get seven maps in the competitive pool.
“And then, once we get past that, we can begin really thinking if we’re gonna leave maps out of the competitive map pool, if that makes sense. Right now we’re sort of thinking about how do we get to the point of having about seven, just to start off that conversation,” Ziegler explained.
It seems that accelerating the map pool development has always been Riot’s objective. Icebox was released early and is already being incorporated into the competitive map pool. It will be seen in upcoming professional tournaments.
Before the addition of Icebox, a few maps just wasn;t enough for a competitive map pool. A best-of-five series would inevitably see map repeats.
Riot’s previous plan was to release one new map for every three acts, meaning one per episode. That would be one map every six months. This may not be quick enough as the competitive scene continues to expand. With more maps needed to reach the seven-map goal, Riot may try to churn them out faster than previously announced. Since one is already being worked on, Valorant players can probably expect it sooner rather than later.
The Valorant community expressed excitement over the potential for greaer map variety, but also revealed it was concerned about the map quality. Many players feel that Icebox needs further development, a complaint that’s stuck with the new map since it was released. Since Icebox seems rushed to some Valorant fans, they are worried other maps will have a similarly unfinished feel.
Over in Asia, agent bans are already becoming quite common. That’s not so much the case in Europe and North America. mixwell asked Ziegler if agent bans were coming to these regions in the future as more Valorant agents are introduced.
According to Ziegler, this is something they are contemplating for the future.
“It really depends on how much it adds to the game versus subtracts to the game. Is it more interesting to keep it zero bans and really have everybody think about who the other side is picking and who we want to pick to counter that or who we wanna pick to think about how to restrict that?” Ziegler asked. “Or, is it better to think about how do we restrict the overall pool and make it so players have to adapt to the scenarios on their end, basically from their meta choices?”
With only 14 agents currently in Valorant’s pool, agent bans are currently not on the to-do list. But soon, players will begin to have a grasp of which agent best counter each other. Some agents may begin to stand out more than others as well, depending on the meta.
“Having said that though, I think we’re learning a lot from how they handle it right now in some of those Asian tournaments, so we’re always thinking about new ways to, you know, learn from those things to think about new ways of handling the scene,” Ziegler said.