With Valorant, Riot’s brand new tactical shooter, putting up massive numbers on Twitch and receiving an overwhelmingly positive response from players, it’s safe to say that the studio’s first foray into the competitive shooter landscape has been a success. However, this strong start hasn’t come without its issues. With many players concerned about the lethality of Raze and command of Sage, Riot has recently expressed that they want to avoid “knee-jerk reacting” to community uproar and find the “right time to step in.”
Well apparently, that right time is now.
Having been in closed beta for two weeks, Riot has released its first balance patch that aims to alleviate some of these concerns in the form of Patch 0.47.
First up, Raze. The oppressive agent will now only have one “Paint Shell” grenade, instead of two. Players will now have to earn her second grenade by getting two kills. Riot has also adjusted the audio for the agent’s “Paint Shell,” “Blast Pack,” and “Showstopper” abilities to ensure that they’re “easier to hear in hectic scenarios,” and also fixed an issue where the secondary grenade cluster “would explode quicker than intended.” As far as the reasoning for these changes, the studio explained that Raze’s cluster grenades created “overly oppressive scenarios,” and that the audio cues for her abilities weren’t appropriate for their threat level.
While the bombastic Raze has stolen most of the headlines in terms of game balance, Sage might have been the most powerful agent all along thanks to her suite of abilities that can control the pace of the game. It seems Riot may have recognized this, although you could debate whether or not these changes wind up nerfing or buffing the agent overall. Players can now move through Sage’s “Slow Orbs” without making a sound. To counteract this, “Slow Orbs” now hinder the airspeed of players moving through them, which will quell the effect of bunny hopping. Riot says that they “want the minimum slow amount to be a bit more consistent with all movement,” and that “adding a stealthy yet slow way to move through the field brings more nuance to playing against the zone.”
This looks to be a sizable first step in improving the game’s balance issues and it remains to be seen how these changes will shake out.
You can read the full patch notes here, which include map updates, bug fixes, and more.
Max is a freelance writer based in Vancouver, Washington. Armed with a BS in Game Design, he is mainly focused on covering Call of Duty, Legends of Runeterra, and streamer culture for Level Push.