Currently, the majority of PC gamers are either hearing about someone trying to get into the VALORANT beta or they are the person desperately trying to get access to Riot's newest competitive title. The studio's first FPS has, so far, received an overwhelmingly positive reception from the FPS community of pro players, semi-pro players, and fans.
The UI is clean, the quality of life improvements from CS:GO are obviously and, most importantly, the gameplay is stellar. This didn't happen by accident and, if you haven't been paying attention don't worry, I have been.
Here are the three most important reasons that VALORANT is currently wooing the entire world of esports and PC Gaming:
1. Riot placed Gameplay first.
One of the most common pieces of criticism against VALORANT is how the game looks. With only four maps playable for now, the texture and visual quality of the game are pretty limited.
It looks more like a 2013 PC game. Compared to the beautiful majesty of 2020 Triple-A games, VALORANT clearly has a lot of work to do, but Riot smartly decided that it could wait. Instead of focusing tons of resources on making the game visually perfect during the Beta, Riot developers have instead decided to focus entirely on making sure the gameplay is fun, balanced, skill-testing and enjoyable.
A task much easier said than done, but one made easier when your audience isn't too concerned about graphics settings. Riot knows that competitive players don't care about graphics fidelity unless it affects gameplay, so this was the correct move to start off the beta.
2. Riot re-embraced the hardcore FPS gamer.
Overwatch and Fortnite have enjoyed tons of success and many new PC Gamers unequivocally align both titles with competitive FPS gameplay. However, Fortnite's primary mechanics include building, jumping, and navigating a massive, open area. Overwatch has its own share of "non-fps" mechanics that end up doing a lot of the heavy lifting when defining the game's competitive strategies and feel.
In short, both of these games have gone to great lengths in order to make their games accessible to more casual FPS players. Aim is less important in these titles and thanks to an abundance of healing abilities and defensive shields, players aren't immediately murdered the moment they stick peak away from a wall.
But VALORANT isn't like these games. VALORANT is about carefully sneaking around a small map waiting for a brief but explosive moment of action and danger. Players die within seconds and "abilities" are just extra perks that ultimately enhance vicious and precise gunplay. Winston mains are going to have a very rough time hopping over to VALORANT.
This raising of the skill-floor only adds to VALORANT's FOMO snowball of momentum, as people are looking for a new challenge or a "real" alternative to the increasingly stale Overwatch and Fortnite esports options.
3. Character design is beautiful and diverse
The worst thing about CS:GO is the character design and this isn't a debate. If Overwatch and Fortnite did one thing spectacularly it was proving to the games industry that games about guns don't necessarily have to be dirty, dark, serious or military infused.
VALORANT has traded the iconic 2000 imagery of Terrorist and Counter-Terrorist for a markedly slicker, Team Fortress 2 style of character design. "Agents" in VALORANT are high-fashioned and filled with personality, despite the real gameplay options hiding in the various selectable guns.
As a result, players will be able to find an Agent, fall in love with the character, and enjoy a "main" character they can always play with comfortably. This dynamic helps content creators, fans, and new players tremendously as large, primarily draining discussions about the "meta" and character "tiers" can largely be ignored by 90% of the player-base. Everyone else can just choose their favorite character and jump in.
There are plenty of reasons why VALORANT is currently the top-game on Twitch and in the mind of esports fans. Much of it has to do with the anticipation of a Riot produced game that isn't set in the League of Legends universe and, in addition, the current COVID-19 quarantine has a lot more people gaming than ever before.
But, make no mistake, it isn't luck that gamers are so happy with VALORANT. Riot is doing an exceedingly good job at learning from the mistakes of Fortnite and Overwatch.