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In Valorant‘s new Dev Diary, Riot Games developers Salvatore “Volcano” Garozzo and Trevor “Classick” Romleski discuss how they worked to balance Valorant. Because Valorant is a mixture of games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CSGO) and class-based shooters such as Overwatch, Riot took careful consideration in balancing Valorant‘s gameplay.
Volcano and Classick have an impressive history of working on competitive games. Previously, Classick worked on League of Legends‘ live balance. This gives him ample experience in understanding the dynamics of balancing a game over its lifetime. Furthermore, Volcano’s expertise in FPS game design gives him an innate understanding of developing tactical shooters. His history as a CSGO map designer means he’s aware of the relationship between the player and the game environment.
“A lot of people are going to be coming from different games.”
Volcano and Classick explain how they’re conscious players from different genres are jumping into their game. From the start, Valorant was designed to be played more methodically. While gameplay mechanics like stopping to shoot are foreign to new players, the devs feel that they’re implementations necessary for tactical shooters. FPS fans may not necessarily be familiar with making use of in-game abilities either. However, including fun abilities adds another layer of gameplay, making it more distinct.
It’s essential to the team to find the proper balance between engaging gunplay and still making it advantageous to make use of the agent’s kit.
“We want it to be critical to your positioning and thinking about a fight before you get into it,” said Classick. “Things like if you’ve got to a position, it really requires some sort of agent ability or utility use, rather than just swinging out there and taking a 50/50 in the game, kind of coming down to luck.”
Volcano emphasizes how a player’s positioning, ability usage, and mechanical skill combine to “create something special” in Valorant. The purpose of abilities isn’t to take away from the mechanical talent. Instead, they hope abilities help make the best of a player’s aim and positioning.
Game balancing is more art than science
When it comes to community feedback, Classick says they don’t intend to make “knee-jerk” adjustments to weapons or agents. Their goal is to give players adequate time to fully understand agents before moving forward.
Thus far, the Riot Games developers have been transparent with fans and listened to the feedback. Players can expect adjustments to be made before Valorant‘s summer 2020 release and for devs to be conscious of how to adjust the game in the future.
Minna Adel Rubio is an esports journalist with an interest in first-person-shooter games. She specializes in class-based, arena, and tactical shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valorant, Overwatch, and Team Fortress 2. Additionally, Minna is a senior CS:GO guides writer at Dignitas and a graduate student. Catch her on Twitter for memes and more content!