Maintaining Riot Games’ tactical shooting game takes a ton of work.
VALORANT is undeniably one of the hottest FPS games on the market. And while its popularity can be attributed to pro players and streamers who enjoy playing and streaming the game online, the VALORANT team’s hard work and dedication to creating a game that caters to as many players as possible is one of the game’s greatest selling points.
The dev team loves to listen to player feedback. Instead, the VALORANT team recently released the September edition of the State of the Agents blog on the VALORANT Official website to share some planned balance changes for a few popular Agents in VALORANT.
This guide covers the planned Agent changes for future VALORANT patches.
Fade Balance Changes
Before Fade was added to the VALORANT roster, the fan-favorite Sova was the go-to Initiator Agent for many matchups and team comps in VALORANT.
Sova offered many pros and not many cons with his Owl Drone and Recon Bolt abilities – both served as key abilities that got most Attacking strategies started in tournaments and even matchmaking.
With the introduction of Fade, the devs got exactly what they wished for – a new Initiator Agent capable of all that Sova could do but offer a new and exciting way to play the recon Agent role.
Nevertheless, the devs are already planning to nerf or adjust some of her abilities since they believe Fade is overperforming just a little bit in both Matchmaking and Pro-play, as evidenced by her 54.06% pick rate (2nd best) in the ongoing VALORANT Champions 2022 Tournament.
Chamber Might Be Nerfed Again
Despite getting hit with two major nerfs in such a short time, Chamber remains a dominant force in the Sentinel role in VALORANT.
Reddit user u/Whytro shared a Champions 2022 Agent pick rates chart that shows Chamber with a whopping 67.35%, placing him well above his peers in pick rate. For reference, the closest Sentinel Agent on the list is Sage, with a 23.47% pick rate (10th place).
This data shows just how powerful Chamber still is despite the nerfs Riot Games slapped on the Sentinel Agent in the past. After all, if the pros make it a point to pick the offensive Sentinel as often as possible in a high-stakes tournament such as VCT, then Chamber must really still be packing a ton of heat despite the nerfs.
With that said, Riot does not like the dominance Chamber brings to the game and wishes to even out the pick rates between all Sentinel Agents moving forward. VALORANT Agent Designer Ryan Cousart has already expressed the VALORANT team’s intent to adjust Chamber’s abilities further to bring him more in line with the rest of the VALORANT roster in a future patch.
How the Devs decide which Agents to Balance
While the VALORANT team was on the topic of Agent nerfs and balance changes, Ryan Cousart found it fitting to discuss just how the VALORANT dev team decides when an Agent needs a change.
TL;DR – the dev team takes the following points of data as reference:
- Winrate versus Pickrate in Solo Queue
- Player Feedback
- Pro Play/Meta
- The dev team’s design principles
However, the devs have also shared how some of these data points often come in conflict with one another, which means that what players think (feedback) doesn’t always coincide with the actual numbers (win rate/pick rate).
To support this, the dev team also posted a list of Fun Facts for several popular Agents.
|KAY/O||One of the weaker Agents in Solo Queue ranked, but a popular pick among pro teams in pro play.|
|Breach, Brimstone, Neon||Together, these three Agents are a powerful pick in solo queue, even more so when played together as a team.|
|Yoru, Neon||Hard to master, yet very rewarding Agents. Popular picks amongst the highest-rated players.|
|Phoenix||The Phoenix never dies and is actually the third most powerful Agent in high-MMR solo queue games.|
|Brimstone||Has one of the highest win rates in high MMR play. Many players still believe Brim is too weak.|
|Sage||Player feedback placed Sage at the bottom part of the Agent power list. However, the numbers point towards a great Agent for all MMR levels.|
The VALORANT team is being very transparent with the community, as evidenced by the recent State of the Agents blog post. It is nice to see the devs working double time to ensure that their ultra-popular tactical shooting game stays in tip-top shape.
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