Valorant gameplay

Since its release, Valorant has proven itself to be a worthy contender of the competitive shooter genre. Even in its current closed beta form, it is a mechanically polished title that I have no doubt will continue to grow.

While technically not released, the game has been out for a little over a month, enough time for players to be familiar with the maps, agents, and weapons. However, even greatness can be improved to the point of something close to perfection. Last week’s Patch .50 is one of the bigger updates released, so far, and makes some very noticeable changes to the core gameplay.


Let’s talk about the most important part of the game, guns. Ever had that moment where Jett sprinted around a corner while one-tapping your face with a Vandal? Riot has tried to address by removing a “‘walking accuracy’ state when transitioning from run to stop.” To compensate, a so-called “deadzone accuracy” has had its speed threshold increased from 25% to 30%. It basically means you are now much less accurate if you try to shoot before stopping, but you now stop much sooner. This is a good change in the right direction and I think it could be improved even further by adding in an extra animation in the agent’s walk cycle to better visualize the “stop.”

Next up are the Rifles, easily the most used weapon class in Valorant. These well-rounded killing machines are good in any kind of engagement and support a variety of shooting styles. Pre-patch however, it seems as though spraying overshadowed tapping and burst firing a bit too much. To fix this, Riot did a small overhaul of their Gun Recovery Time — this the amount of time it takes for a gun’s recoil to reset — while adjusting the Tap Efficiency — the rate of inaccuracy gained after each shot; the higher the number, the better — of the Phantom & Vandal. 


    • Horizontal (Yaw) Recoil reduced by 15% while crouched and stationary
    • Gun Recovery Time: .4s >> .375s
    • Tap Efficiency: 4 >> 6


    • Fixed an issue where the Gun Recovery Time was higher than intended
    • Gun Recovery Time: .55s >> .35s
    • Tap Efficiency: 3 >> 4

Bulldog Automatic Fire

    • Fixed an issue where the Gun Recovery Time was higher than intended
    • Gun Recovery Time: .55s >> .35s


    • Fixed an issue where the Gun Recovery Time was higher than intended
    • Gun Recovery Time: .4s >> .35s

Even the machine guns, Ares and Odin, have received a buff to recoil control to improve the viability of a notoriously underperforming weapon class. The Ares’ price tag has been lowered to 1600 credits, the same price as the Spectre. Both weapons will become more stable after the 8th shot. 


    • Price reduced from 1700 to 1600 creds
    • Firing Error (this value is a curve that has intermediate values between each bullet; bullet 2 has slightly less error than bullet 1, and so on)
      • Bullet 1: 1.0° >> 0.8°
      • Bullet 5: 0.85° >> 0.75°
      • Bullet 10: 0.75° >> 0.7°
    • Reduced the amount and intensity of horizontal (Yaw) Recoil after the first 8 bullets.


    • Reduced the amount and intensity of horizontal (Yaw) Recoil after the first 8 bullets


Several agents have received some minor tweaks to existing abilities but this is most noticeable with Cypher, Sage, and Omen — some tweaks to general gameplay were made.


  • Slow Orb zone duration decreased from 9 seconds to 7 seconds
  • Slow Orb slowing amount decreased from 65% to 50%


  • Cyber Cage no longer slows enemies that move through it
  • Spycam cooldown when destroyed increased 30 >> 45 seconds


  • Dark Cover smoke duration increased 12 >> 15 seconds
  • Dark Cover smoke projectile speed increased
  • Dark Cover cooldown increased 30 >> 35 seconds


  • Snake Bite radius increased 350 >> 450


  • Height required to jump out of all damaging area-denial abilities 80 >> 12
  • Snake Bite, Fireball, and Incendiary damage tick speed increased (total damage per second unchanged)

Agent Ability Credit Cost

  • Sage Barrier Orb increased from 300 to 400 credits
  • Raze Blast Pack increased from 100 to 200 credits
  • Phoenix Curveball increased from 100 to 200 credits
  • Brimstone’s Incendiary increased from 200 to 300 credits
  • Jett’s Updraft reduced from 200 to 100 credits

Max Credit Cap

  • Total credit cap is reduced from 12,000 to 9,000

There are arguments that could be made that dominating should allow you to punish the opposing team as much as possible, but this change will now allow underperforming teams to catch up.


  • Defender barrier in B Mid has been pulled back. New barriers are in the entrance to Vent and atop the staircase in B Tower
  • Defender barrier has been pulled back at A Ramps
  • Attacker barrier has been pushed forward at A Main
  • Attacker barrier has been pushed forward slightly at B Main
  • Angled the wall on the left interior of B Tower when pushing up the stairs from Mid
  • Radianite crate in B has been changed to a metal crate to provide more cover when planting the Spike

After playing a few dozen games, it seems Patch 0.50 is a major step in the right direction towards achieving some semblance of perfect balance in Valorant.

None of the rifles seem to overpower the other and are viable, while still retaining their unique niches. With the increased stability, the Ares and Odin gain pinpoint accuracy if the user can find a narrow corridor they can crouch in front of.

I am glad Split has become a little more Attacker sided because it felt too easy for Defenders to take control of mid when the previous barrier extended out to the statues. Overall, this patch has given me more confidence that Riot has kept good on their promise to listen to their community and tweak the game as needed before the game’s official release.

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