One of the most interesting discussions regarding newer first-person shooter Valorant is how it compares with rival tactical shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Michael “shroud” Grzesiek has been on the forefront of that discussion since Valorant’s original reveal.
Over the last 18 months, shroud has flip-flopped on whether Valorant or CSGO takes more skill to reach the top. Early on, shroud was somewhat dismissive of Valorant’s skill ceiling due to its focus on agent abilities instead of gunplay, but he changed his tune later on when he discussed how every player is able to make a meaningful impact in Valorant.
shroud has now settled into the middle of the argument, essentially saying that Valorant and CSGO are about equal in terms of the skill required and their competitive depth.
“CSGO on the tactical level is nuts. [Valorant] on the tactical level is also pretty nuts to be honest, but it’s in a different way. They’re both hard in their own way. The strategy in [Valorant] is similar to CS in regards to map control, but the way you take map control is vastly different and map control is never a guarantee in [Valorant],” shroud said.
Valorant is likely easier to pick up than rival FPS Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but it’s still hard to master. It may even be harder than CSGO, depending on your perspective.
CSGO is more difficult than Valorant when it comes to the basics. The greatest example of this is CSGO’s movement, which has a big impact on aim even after trying to come to a stop. Because of this, even CSGO’s basic mechanics require intense practice to truly master.
Valorant doesn’t have as steep of a learning curve to start, but there’s a lot more to learn about the game overall. Valorant may be walking the same tactical path as CSGO, but it’s still a hero shooter with each character having its own unique set of tools that interact with allies and opponents in different ways. Add to that how each agent has different lineups and tactics for each map and it winds up being a lot to learn.
Abilities also make it so that coordination is more impactful than just being able to just rack up kills. Players can still frag out and carry their team to a win in Valorant, but individual prowess is less of a difference-maker when compared to CSGO, a game in which a highly-skilled individual can rampage over the enemy team more often than not.
Both games have strengths that will better suit the tastes of different people. shroud himself is playing much more Valorant these days, but that may have as much to do with Valorant being a fresher experience for him as anything else.