Change is difficult to accept, but one thing is for certain: the Operator is in line for the firing squad. This week’s new patch includes changes to Raze, a map rotation adjustment that will hopefully mean the end of playing on Haven four maps in a row, and surprising buffs to the under-utilized Guardian rifle.
Raze continues to be a burden on the balance team, and for good reason. The Duelist skirts the line between Valorant’s dichotomy of being a guns-based game and also using a system of unique characters and activatable abilities. We like to poke fun at “guns should get kills, not abilities” as Riot once touted, but it’s all part of a careful balancing act. In this instance, Raze has been a bowling bowl that continues to upend the system.
In the case of these Blast Pack changes, the tweaks are to not only keep Raze players from securing panic-based kills in the heat of a fight with abilities but also to tamp down on cheating. Blast Pack is a popular method for players that were looking to finish games quickly on alternate accounts and today’s changes directly address that. It also just happens to mean that Blast Pack’s damage is now based on set-up and not just hitting its activate button because you walked around a corner and directly into an enemy.
The Guardian is often the ignored child of the Valorant armory. Not an up-close weapon nor a true long-ranged threat, it’s often the most ignored gun in the proverbial clubhouse. After all, a majority of kills happen in the 10-20 meter range and that placed the Guardian at a disadvantage due to its low rate of fire and clunky weapon recovery.
The balance team is looking at this issue and deemed to increase the rifle’s rate of fire and reduce recovery time. In the case of RPS, the Guardian goes up almost a full round per second, which still doesn’t allow it space to compete with the Specter or Vandal, but doesn’t leave it in the lurch either. The price reduction is also a welcome change, providing a potential sub-full buy option in potentially low-cash rounds.
No actual changes for the game’s premier meta weapon yet, but this week’s notes do come with a word of warning from Max “Orcane” Grossman, Lead Agent Designer: “We agree that the Operator is likely having an outsized impact on match outcomes and are testing a suite of changes to address this issue.”
There you have it. While I don’t think we’ll see the Operator burned to the ground, it’s impossible to deny its overwhelming shadow lingers over unranked and low-level ranked play, as well as the professional scene. It’s hard to tell if these changes will come in the form of weapon recovery, a damage nerf, or something else entirely, but one thing is certain: change, it is a comin’.
MAP ROTATION CHANGES
Matchmaking queue for all modes has been updated to measure all your recently played maps, throughout all modes, so that for any given queue you:
Have a better chance of playing on a map you haven’t played recently
Are much less likely to play on the same map several games in a row
We’ve all been here: You’re queuing up and, whoopsie you’re playing the same map multiple times in a row. I once played Haven four times, back to back to back to back and, let me tell you: It sucks. These changes to how map rotation is handled is not only welcome but goes a long way towards making unranked solo play less of a nightmare. Just another example of the small things Riot is taking into account with these frequent patch updates.
A small batch of changes compared to last time’s absolute unit of a list, but welcome changes nonetheless. The Raze tweaks are important for the health of the game, the Guardian might actually be used for more than just memes, and the specter of death looms large over the Operator’s time in the sun What more can aspiring Agents ask for?
Patch 1.08 is now available.