Everything you need to know about 'Valorant,' the huge new game that just crushed Twitch records and is poised to be the biggest gaming sensation since 'Fortnite'

Valorant

  • A huge new game called “Valorant” is rapidly becoming
    the next big thing in gaming.
  • “Valorant” broke Twitch records when its closed beta
    went live this week, with nearly 2 million concurrent viewers
    watching streams of the game.
  • It’s the first major new game from the studio behind
    “League of Legends,” and it’s a departure into a new genre: online,
    competitive, team-based multiplayer shooters.
    The gameplay
    is best-described as a mix of “Counter-Strike” and
    “Overwatch.”
  • Best of all: “Valorant” is entirely free to play.
  • Visit
    Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

You may not have heard of “Valorant” just yet, but you will soon
enough.

The free-to-play first-person shooter is almost certainly the
“next big thing” in gaming — look no further than its
record-breaking debut on Twitch this week, where nearly 2 million
people were watching streamers play the closed beta at the same
time. 

So, what’s the deal? Why is “Valorant” suddenly blowing up?
Here’s what’s going on:

“Valorant” is a free-to-play first-person shooter that’s best
described as a mix of “Counter-Strike” and “Overwatch.”

In “Valorant,” teams of five race to achieve an objective: Plant
a bomb, and guard that bomb from being diffused (or vice versa).
Whichever team is able to plant the bomb 13 times, winning 13
rounds first, wins the match — best of 25, if you will.

There is, of course, another potential outcome: Your team gets
wiped out first. 

In each round, you’ve got one life to either plant/diffuse the
bomb or kill enemies (or both). If you’re killed, you’re out until
the next round.

In the matches I’ve watched, it’s far more likely for teams to
wipe each other out before anyone touches the bomb. 

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because this kind of loose
objective-based first-person shooter gameplay is — on paper —
very similar to games like “Counter-Strike” and “Overwatch.” 

And that’s far from the only similarity.

Like “Overwatch,” each character in “Valorant” has unique abilities
— like suddenly conjuring solid walls from nothing.

Watching competitive “Valorant” play is much more similar to
watching competitive “Counter-Strike” than anything else — aiming
takes priority above all else, and line of sight is the main
concern. 

Put more simply: It’s a lot of peeking out from cover, shooting,
and creating paths for enemies (bear with me).

“Valorant” maps are intentionally designed with only a handful
of passageways from each team’s starting point to where they
intersect. As such, there are only so many potential lines of sight
where enemies could shoot from or where you can shoot them
from. 

As such, “Valorant” isn’t just about shooting — it’s about
carefully, tactically covering your angles, and working with
teammates to make sure they’ve got your back, and vice versa. 

It’s also about using each character’s unique abilities to those
ends.

At its core, “Valorant” is a competitive, team-based shooter.

In “Overwatch,” it’s entirely possible to play as a character
like Winston and be very effective — despite not being very good
at shooting.

That’s because he’s intended as a “disruption” character. He can
hurt enemies, take a lot of damage, mess up an enemy team’s plan,
and then get out of there. Even though “Overwatch” is ostensibly a
first-person shooter, Winston’s “gun” is a lightning bolt that
latches onto any enemy nearby — you don’t have to aim it so much
as wave it in the general direction of bad guys. 

There are no characters like that in “Valorant.”

Each character pulls from a pool of guns that all require some
level of aiming ability, and their abilities are intended to force
enemies in one direction or another. One such ability summons a
literal wall that stops enemy bullets or outright blocks
passageways while it’s up. Another forms a large cloud of smoke
that obscures line of sight. 

There are more traditional abilities, like air strikes and
healing teammates, but the most effective abilities thus far appear
to be the more tactical ones.

So, what’s the deal? Why is this game suddenly so popular?

As you might guess, there’s not one special something that’s
making “Valorant” such an explosively popular game. 

For one, it’s a game with a tremendous amount of hype behind it
— and that’s directly tied to its creator: Riot Games.

Riot Games is one of the most popular and
scandal-ridden
game studios in the world. It’s also the company
behind “League of Legends,” which itself remains one of the world’s
most popular games.

Aside from a few smaller projects, “Valorant” is the first major
new game from Riot since “League of Legends,” which launched in
2009 — over 10 years ago. To say that the studio’s next game is
highly anticipated is putting it mildly. 

Another critical aspect of its popularity is how it’s rolling
out.

The game is currently in closed beta, as of this week, and the
best way to get into that closed beta right now is through “drops.”
What are drops? Riot partners with a variety of game streamers on
Twitch, and watching those streamers play “Valorant” is how you get
a key to get into the closed beta.

“Drops are currently enabled on channels of influencers that
participated in our digital event at the end of March,” the game’s
PR lead, Jacqui Collins, told Business Insider.”This may be
expanded in the future, but anyone you see playing ‘Valorant’ with
drops enabled at the moment is one of the attendees of that digital
event.”

The fact that popular streamers are hyping the game has
certainly had a major effect, as well as the fact that several
professional esports players have already jumped ship from their
current games to go pro in “Valorant.”

When can you play “Valorant?” Right now, sort of! And only on PC,
and only in some parts of the world.

“Valorant” isn’t scheduled to outright launch until “summer
2020,” according to Riot.

When it does launch, it’ll run on most PCs as the game was
intentionally designed for wide compatibility. 

So, how do you play it right now? The only way at the moment is
by watching various streamers on Twitch with drops enabled,
connecting your Riot Games account to your Twitch account, and
hoping for the best. Or maybe you know someone who knows
someone? 

Regardless, the closed beta is limited to a handful of regions
for now: “Europe, Canada, United States, Turkey, Russia and CIS
countries,” according to Riot Games. 

To get a look at the game in action, check out this video from Riot
— or just head to Twitch, where it’s dominating the front page:

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Source: FS – All – Entertainment – News
Everything you need to know about 'Valorant,' the huge new game that just crushed Twitch records and is poised to be the biggest gaming sensation since 'Fortnite'