Riot Games announced today that 5v5 character-based tactical shooter Valorant would launch much sooner than expected on June 2.
In a few short weeks, Riot Games will open the game to most players across the world, doing away with the Twitch beta access drop system that has spawned its own set of problems.
The question is: Are we sure Riot Games is really ready to launch Valorant?
If the latest news wire is anything to go by, the League of Legends developer sure thinks so.
In answer to that very question, Riot Games produced a list detailing how well-prepared it is to deliver Valorant to a wider pool of players.
Pointing to the invaluable knowledge gleaned from the closed beta and player feedback, Riot is adopting a dynamic approach to Valorant’s development, partly thanks to a candid analysis of the shortcomings so far.
Closed Beta isn’t for getting things’ perfect’ for launch—it’s for making sure the right things are in place for us to start this journey together.
We are moving VALORANT to launch because we want to begin this relationship of service and engagement, and that means taking the first BIG step. Please continue to hold us to high standards, and help us meet them.
Riot rightly points out that the battle against cheating still has a way to go. In particular, Riot recognizes that its controversial kernel-level Vanguard anti-cheat software succeeds at tracking cheating, but has failed to deter cheaters themselves.
The developer explains that it held back a core feature of its anti-cheat tech – an auto-banning system.
Up to now, while we’ve been able to track and understand the inputs by which we identify cheaters, many of our ban waves have been manually reviewed and implemented by our anti-cheat team (and they’ve still managed to ban thousands so far). Come launch, we will be more aggressive, widespread, and automated in our ability to detect and ban cheaters.
What about the gameplay itself?
Once again, pointing to the work undertaken during the closed beta, Riot says it’s happy with balance changes so far and its ability to respond to gameplay exploits in a timely fashion. This approach will continue after launch.
And new modes are on the away to offer a welcome reprieve from the tense nature of normal matches. One is set to go live at launch, or shortly after that, alongside a new map and agent with an eye on game mode rotations for the long-term.
On the contentious issue of toxicity, Riot says that the closed beta was a “wakeup call” and reiterates its commitment to fighting harassment.
By launch, Riot promises to deliver community expectations for all players, automated analysis of chat and reports, and 72-hour chat/voice bans for behavior violations.
Finally, Riot touched on the technical aspect of shifting Valorant to a full launch.
The tone was less optimistic than previous communications, with the developer pointing to factors outside of its control, notably the difficulty of negotiations with internet support providers to ensure players are routed to the correct servers.
Nevertheless, Riot Games says it plans to deploy new servers across the United States, Europe, and South America as it drives towards offering all players 35 ms ping times or less.
If the teething issues experienced at the start of closed beta offer an idea of what to expect, then the launch will produce its fair share of hiccups. But, as full launches go, it’s hard to argue that Riot Games isn’t pulling out all the stops in anticipation.
Valorant seems ready for launch – and eager to welcome in a host of new players curious to see what all the fuss is about.