Riot's team shooter Valorant leaves beta with new character and map

Cal Jeffrey

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Riot officially launched its hero shooter, Valorant, on Tuesday. Developers had planned to run the closed beta for longer, but two weeks ago, they announced they had decided to release the game much earlier. Riot's reasoning was that it is a much-needed distraction in these "tough times."

In their public address, Executive Producer Anna Donlon and Director Joe Ziegler mentioned that the launch would come with new content, including a character, map, and game mode, but didn't go into specifics. Now that the game is available to all, we know what that new content entails.

The new character, or Agent as they are called, is a vampire named Reyna. Reyna's abilities include a self-healing power and the gift of overcharging her health bar for a short time. As a vampire, her abilities naturally involve absorbing "soul orbs" from defeated enemies. You can see her in action in the above character trailer.

The new map the developers spoke of is called "Ascent." You can get a distance glimpse of it at the end if the cinematic launch trailer (below). It has a large open arena in the center with Italy as its backdrop. Riot said that it tweaked the matchmaking code to favor Ascent in the rotation so that players can have extra opportunity to become accustomed to its layout, but this is just temporary.

Unfortunately, the new competitive mode Riot mentioned was coming is absent from the Version 1.0 patch. it is called "Spike Rush" but not much else is known. It has been delayed and will be coming sometime down the road. Riot said it wanted to give new players time to learn the game before activating the mode.

"Similar to our closed beta launch, our initial focus is making sure our service is stable before activating competitive matchmaking," said Riot. "This is also a way to give new players the same courtesy that closed beta players had to learn the game ahead of turning on Competitive. We'll also make some adjustments to Competitive based on remaining closed beta player feedback. Our plan is to turn on Competitive a few patches into our launch."

Valorant's day-one patch did not only bring new content. A ton of balancing and quality of life tweaks have been made, including adjustments and changes to existing Agents. You can check out all the updates in the Version 1.0's extensive patch notes.

Valorant is free-to-play and is available to download directly from Riot after creating an account.

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