Valorant, three years on
Want to feel old? Valorant just turned three. That’s if you count the launch of the beta as the game’s ‘birthday’ – those of us lucky enough to get in early played for the first time on April 7, 2020, with the full release landing on June 2.
Being a live service game from arguably the king of live service games, Riot Games, Valorant has naturally undergone plenty of changes since players first dropped into Bind for some intense 5v5 multiplayer action. Playing on PC gaming trends of the time, Valorant was a mash-up of two incredibly popular, but opposite games in the first-person shooter genre – Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch.
Overwatch, which was itself heavily influenced by Riot’s League of Legends, introduced the world to the concept of the ‘hero shooter’, which saw colorful characters with playful powers and abilities do battle in a variety of classic shooter modes. Valorant fused this creative spin on the shooter with CS:GO’s clinical, accuracy-focused gunplay, immediately making it one of the best competitive FPS games ever created,
With the extra addition of user-created add-ons, Valorant looks rather different today than it did back in 2020.
It didn’t take long for Valorant to build up hype, thanks in no small part to an innovative marketing campaign that saw Twitch streamers offer beta access through drops. Critics and players alike were captivated by the game’s fast pace and creative roster of playable agents, leading to huge player numbers in the beta. Five agents were available, to begin with – Raze, Breach, Cypher, Viper, and Omen – with more promised further down the line.
The game’s full launch came with updated visuals – more vibrant colors and improved lighting – as well as the first Battle Pass, full of cosmetics for players to earn. Players also got to try out the first new agent – Reyna – whose deployable orbs sap enemies’ health while replenishing her own.
Later that same summer we got a new mode – Deathmatch – as well as a new agent, Killjoy. In October, Icebox joined the map pool, which remains one of the most divisive maps to this day. The winter season brought yet another new agent – the beastmaster Skye – as well as a seasonal limited-time mode, Snowball Fight.
2021 was arguably Valorant’s biggest year, with a huge influx of changes and new content that would keep the game fresh and exciting as the player base continued to grow. The first new agent we got to meet was Yoru, a duelist who could rip holes through reality to slip past enemy lines unseen. We also got Astra, an extremely unique character whose abilities allow her to reshape the battlefield.
New modes continued to roll in starting with Escalation, Valorant’s take on Gun Game, a mode that has players cycle through a variety of weapons, racing to be the first to reach the final tier. We also got the Replication mode – a chaotic mode in which players all use the same agent, making for some unhinged matches.
Breeze brought some tropical flavor to the map pool, transporting players to an island in the Bermuda Triangle for some aiming-focused fun. Soon after, account leveling was added to reward players for their loyalty.
In June, a mechanical initiator called Kay/O joined the roster. This tanky fighter has the ability to suppress enemies with a variety of gadgets, making him a solid addition to any team. Even after all of this content, Riot still had more up its sleeve, adding the sharply-dressed sentinel, Chamber. This defensive agent is lethal at long-range, picking off opponents with a custom sniper rifle.
Valorant’s 2021 closed with one final new map – Fracture. This divisive map had an intentionally challenging layout, tied together with ziplines for players to slide along. The map introduced whole new methods of movement, adding an extra degree of challenge.
2022 also saw a slew of new agents enter the fray, starting with Neon, a duelist who shocks enemies with bursts of bioelectric radiance. Fade also joined the roster, using the power of nightmares to ensnare her enemies in traps and weaken them with nefarious curses.
Valorant got its eighth map, Pearl, in June, throwing players into an epic geo-dome. Before 2022 came to a close, Riot treated fans to one more agent, Harbor. As his name suggests, Harbor has a nautical theme, wielding ancient technology to bend the tides to his whim. His water-based abilities allow him to create shields, slow, and concuss his enemies.
2023 and beyond
So far, Valorant fans haven’t seen a tonne of new content in 2023, but we have got one new agent – Gekko. Gekko is an initiator class fighter, whose arsenal is focused on damage. His crew of calamitous creatures bound around the battlefield, scattering enemies and disrupting their attacks.
We can’t say what else Riot has in store for Valorant’s fourth year, but we can say that whether you’re a new or returning player, it can be difficult to keep up with the constantly changing landscape of this ever-evolving live service game. That’s where Overworlf comes in.
On the Overwolf fan-made app platform, you can install a handful of useful add-ons that will help you stay ahead of the curve in Valorant. TipGenius is one such app, a personal AI coach that gives you tips while you play by analyzing your matches and recommending YouTube videos with tutorials tailored to your results.
Then there’s Valorant Tracker, an all-in-one platform that gathers insights from your stats and past performances to help you improve your play. Dig into round-based analytics to get a clear picture of your strengths and weaknesses and even view intel on your friends and foes at the click of a button.
Want to capture your best plays to view and share? Try ValoHunt, the best app for capturing game highlights. Using a new AI system, ValoHunt can capture your best bits and aggregate them into one video – creating your own personal highlight reel that can document your rise up the Valorant ranks.
Finally, there’s ValoPlant, a strategy app that allows you to create strategies with your team in real time. View hundreds of lineups for different agents and situations, and quickly craft strategies in-between rounds.
Whether you’ve been a Valorant player since the beta, or are just starting your agent career in 2023, Overwolf has apps to help you achieve the best results in any match. Head over to the official website and install the desktop client to view the full library of add-ons for a huge variety of games.