Valorant patch 2.03 brought Escalation mode, which has proven fun. But it also shined a light on something the game’s community had largely ignored until this game mode made it more apparent: The knife is a bit wonky.
In a recent Ask Valorant blog, developers responded to complaints that the game’s melee weapon has sometimes inaccurate hit detection. In response to the issue gaining more prominence with the release of Escalation, weapons designer Nicholas Smith and modes designer Kyle Leach admitted that the knife is “a bit of a meme right now.”
The knife in Valorant is currently just used on unaware opponents to stealthily embarrass them. It can very rarely be used as a last resort when an agent is out of ammo. Either way, it’s not seen as a reliable choice.
“The hitbox is static, unintuitive, and only active for a very brief period of time. This leads to frustration and confusion when combined with visuals that imply the knife does damage during the entire slash motion. These are things we’d like to improve, but other weapon balance issues generally take priority over this work because the knife isn’t intended to be a critical part of our combat model,” Smith said.
The knife is still not the team’s top priority. Smith even added that the knife “should never be the best choice in a fight.” Still, developers are hoping to improve its reliability and “hit satisfaction.” This would make it more viable in certain situations.
Within Escalation, the dev team is hoping to give the knife “a little extra ‘oomph.'” That was its original plan, but the team allegedly ran out of time and didn’t want to delay the Escalation mode’s release. Their solution was the “BIG KNIFE,” which they hoped would offer a speed and jump boost along with longer range.
But they plan to look at the knife a bit closer in the near future and give it “the love it deserves.” They just aren’t yet sure exactly what that entails.
Outside of Escalation, competitive designer Jon Walker, producer Ian Fielding, and strategic advisor Lea Hughes tackled competitive players’ concerns about Rank Rating penalties for queue dodging. Many players have expressed that they have a “good reason” to dodge and are frustrated that they still lose RR as a result.
The developers stated that they understand how Ranked Rating education can feel like a “painful penalty” so they want to clear up this ongoing issue. The changes to Ranked Rating deduction only affect players who “repeatedly queue dodges,” developers said, noting that it will have minimal impact on players who only queue dodge occasionally.
“We hope having a small (3-point) rank rating deduction provides additional deterrence for players who frequently dodge—without being too punishing for the person who rarely dodges. We’ve also kept it quick to earn back your rank rating, while not impacting your MMR with these penalties. However, repeated queue dodges will add up, and repeat queue dodgers will feel the intended pains of this,” developers explained.
Developers said that queue dodging can help players avoid “painful situations” like toxic teammates. For this reason, they don’t want to take the “safety net” of queue dodging away from people. That’s why they have such “high forgiveness” for infrequent offenders. Still, they will be watching the impact of this change when it’s shipped in patch 2.05.
“If we missed the mark—whether we don’t reduce queue dodging enough, or we punish our more well-intentioned players too harshly—we’ll make adjustments to the system. Simple as that. And we’ll keep you updated with any changes,” developers said.