The official launch of Riot Games’ tactical shooter VALORANT is tomorrow, and no keys are needed as players get the chance to hop into the full release. The launch is coming with a fresh start for those who played the closed beta, as well as a new map and character. The character Reyna, boasts a high-risk, high-reward playstyle that requires players to move aggressively. Two of her abilities rely on soul orbs, which can only be collected from kills. Her final ability is a blinding area of effect (AoE) that will continue to blind enemies until it’s destroyed.
The new map, Ascent, adds a bit more complexity to a player’s movement and strategy. The blueprint of the map showcases the many twists and turns that separate the A and B sites, and at first-glance, the paths look less straight-forward and more maze-like. The spaces will promise a lot of different types of battles, AoE methods, and strategies that could break up what has been demonstrated inside the three maps unlocked during closed beta. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of gunfights Ascent will promote compared to Haven, Bind, and Split.
The game is a promising addition to the esports realm, if the response to the beta is a predictor of how popular the title will become. Despite being a closed beta, nearly three million people were playing it daily, according to Riot. The game’s viewership on Twitch was groundbreaking, with over 470 million hours watched.
And with VALORANT already welcoming tournament play, the numbers may only increase. Riot Games and Twitch are collaborating to create a $200,000 Twitch Rivals tournament on June 2 to help promote the release. Esports support will only drive more organizations to construct professional rosters that will compete against newly established teams like TSM, Dignitas Female, and Sentinels.
If done right—something Riot is fully capable of doing—VALORANT could carry the potential to become a Tier-1 esport.