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A beginner’s Guide to VALORANT

Ever since Riot Games’ fps VALORANT hit the internet, the game has seen a big influx of players who are new to the genre. Let’s guide you through.

We’ve got some good news for you if you’re worried about spending money to play games; VALORANT is completely 100% free to play. If you already have a League of Legends account, you can use those credentials to log in to VALORANT, as Riot Games have changed the logins to be used on all of their games.

Just like the competitors in the first-person shooter niche, VALORANT’s main game type is a 5v5 defusal mode where teams take turns either attacking or defending. The team that wins 13 rounds is the winner.

The big difference between VALORANT and its biggest competitor CS:GO are the Agents, the characters you pick to play. Unlike CS:GO, VALORANT currently has 15 Agents available, each with their own unique abilities, strengths and weaknesses. This could be overwhelming at the start, but it shouldn’t take too much time to get familiar with all the quirks of the Agents.

Luckily for beginning players, there are some other game modes available to get you acquainted with the game. When first launching, you’ll be asked to complete a tutorial where you learn the absolute basics of VALORANT, such as movement, how to win a round as Attack, etc.

Your settings matter

Before jumping into a game, make sure your settings are the way you like them. Most of these settings are very straight forward,

If you’re coming from another fps title, you’ll want to recreate the sensitivity you’re used to. If you’re a MOBA player, for example, wanting to try out VALORANT, it might be a bit more difficult finding that sweet spot.

A lot of professional players use 400 to 800 dpi with sensitivities ranging from 0.4 to 0.8. These numbers are just guidelines, and you should play whatever feels comfortable to you. Be prepared to make changes to your sensitivity! The numbers you pick aren’t set in stone.

You can customize your crosshair as well. You can ask for the settings of crosshairs you’ve seen on a live stream, or you can take a little time and tinker around with the different settings yourself. The nice thing about creating your own crosshair is that you get to see the changes you make immediately in the menu. That way you can quickly see if you’re going in the right direction.

Once you’re done setting up your game, you’re finally ready to jump into a game of VALORANT!

Preparation

If you’re serious about climbing the competitive ranks, there are a few things you’ll need to do to prepare yourself for the battlefield.

One of the most important things you need to know is how to handle the different guns in VALORANT. There’s a firing range available where you can test out all the weapons against bots, and learn how to effectively use spray control to mow down your opponents. There are some challenges incorporated to bring out the competitor in you.

You can also use this firing range to play around with your Agent’s abilities. This way you can make sure you know what you’re up against, or how to use the Agent you pick.

Agent Roles

There are four big Agent roles in VALORANT, and each of them is paramount in putting together a solid lineup to battle your opponents.

Controllers provide support for their team in the form of utility. Think of smokes, slows, and walls. Viper, Brimstone, Omen,and Astra are the four controllers in the game.

Initiators also provide support for their team, but in another way than the controllers. Initiators challenge angles and push opponents back with their utility. They use stuns for example, or have abilities that gather information on the whereabouts of your opponents. They basically set up our next class to get kills. Sova, Breach, and Skye are considered initiators.

Duelists are equipped with abilities that enable them to look for a fight, get the kill, and open up one or more routes for their team. They can use flashes and other utility to clear corners themselves. These Agents should be at the forefront of engagements. This class is by far the biggest, with players having the choice between Phoenix, Jett, Raze, Reyna, and Yoru.

The last class we find in VALORANT is the Sentinels. These are the defensive experts that thrive in holding flanks when attacking or lock down a bomb site with their abilities. Because of their abilities, sentinels tend to be in the background when the fighting happens. Cypher, Killjoy, and Sage make up this class.

Available game modes

Riot Games has been careful not to scare away the casual player from their game. Yes, VALORANT is a competitive team shooter, but the developer rightfully assumed there are a lot of players out there who just want to enjoy hectic gunfights and fun game modes.

Unrated & Rated

The main game mode for VALORANT. Teams play 5v5 and alternate between an attacking side and a defending side. One half consists of 12 rounds, and the team that wins 13 rounds wins the game. This means that there is a possibility you don’t play out the second half completely.

In the event of a draw, overtime is triggered where teams alternate once between attack and defense.  This continues until there is a winner. To avoid an infinite amount of overtimes, the game will ask every player if they want to keep playing, or if they want the game to end in a draw. Be careful, because it’s a decision the entire server makes.

You might want to continue playing, but if enough of the other players vote for a draw, you’re out of luck. The same applies the other way around. You will need to win 8 games of Unrated before you can jump into Rated, the actual ranked game mode for VALORANT that follows the exact same rules as Unrated.

Deathmatch

A good game type to warm up. You’re dropped in a server with a bunch of other players in a free for all. The first player to reach 40 kills -or whenever the timer hits 0- is the winner. No abilities can be used, this is purely aimed to run around and shoot people.

Spike Rush

A fun 5v5 game mode, just like Unrated, where everyone on the server spawns with the same weapons every round, but it is completely random. You play until one team gets 4 rounds. This is a perfect pastime when you’re waiting for your friend to log on.

Escalation

Escalation is the newest addition to VALORANT’s game modes and features a fun 5v5 environment where teams have to level up by killing opponents. Every level has a specific gun, and by leveling up you unlock a new weapon to fight. The first team to complete all 12 levels, or to have the highest level when the 10-minute timer ends, wins.

There are a few more intricacies we’ll not dive into right now, but sufficive to say Escalation is an action-packed game mode. Fps veterans will see that this is Riot Games’ own take on the Gun Game mode, well known in the Call of Duty and CS:GO communities. At the time of writing this guide, Escalation is a limited game mode, which means it might not be around by the time you read this article.

Tips when playing Rated

Diversify

Know how to play at least a couple of Agents so you can pick the Agent that will fit your team composition. Sure, it’s fun to one-trick your way to the top of the leaderboards, but more games are lost than won by refusing to adapt to a successful team composition.

Focus on yourself

This doesn’t mean “play solo” or don’t look at what your teammates are doing. On the contrary, what we mean by this is you should only focus on things YOU can do to help your team win the game. Constantly ask yourself questions. “Did I really have to push mid last round?” “How can I help my teammate hold the B site better?” “How can I avoid being killed in the first 15 seconds of the round?” It is by continuously reviewing your own actions you will become a better player.

Above all, stay calm

If you’ve played any game online, you know there are some really toxic players out there. Players who will stop at nothing to try and bring you down, and ruin your competitive experience. Riot Games have a code of conduct you need to follow, and you can (and should) report players that break this code. Don’t let these players get to you.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, have fun. VALORANT is a great game to play solo and with friends. You can be competitive and still have fun at the same time. You’ll see your positive attitude be infectious to other players. For once, infectious is a good thing!

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Image Credit: Riot Games