Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) has been sitting on a throne, unchallenged, as the eSports MOBA overlord for a very long time. If you are into eSports on a professional level, chances are you play CS:GO, at least to some extent. Though, if you’ve tried to play, and found it to be more than a bit unforgiving, you may have to rethink dreams of being a global gaming god. Pokies might be more your speed, since as far as professional gaming goes, CS:GO is the gold standard. At least for now.
But the MOBA champion faces real competition for the first time; Valorant has arrived. The eSports world has been abuzz with talk of Valorant for months, with the game officially going into closed beta on April 7th. A small army of world class gamers were called in to put the game to the test, shake it around, and see what clatters out. That beta period ended on May 28th, allowing testers to take a break, give interviews, and otherwise catch their breath. Then, as of June 2nd, Valorant was released to the gaming world at large.
So, what has the gaming world made of the so-called CS:GO killer thus far? Do we have a new eSports champion, or is Valorant destined to be just another skull outside the treacherous competitive MOBA cave?
The Low Down
So, what is Valorant? The short answer is CS:GO with super powers. There is no way to get around it, Valorant is an almost carbon copy of CS:GO at its core, with the same shooting mechanics, similar maps, and very similar weapons. The only difference is that in Valorant, players are able to choose between a handful of classes, or agents, each with a unique special ability. So, to put it another way, Overwatch plus CS:GO equals Valorant.
But, let’s all just be honest about it; in conquering the master, Valorant was wise to take this ‘the same but more’ approach. Essentially, what has been attempted is an evolution of the gold standard. The same, but with a smattering of added special features.
Either way, will the attempt be enough to make an impact in a tightly knit and competitive eSports scene?
Between the end of the beta, and the start of the worldwide release, 50 of the beta participants were surveyed in order to get a better idea of whether Valorant had a snowballs chance in hell of genuinely cracking the market.
What Makes A King?
The 50 participants were asked a set of questions to get an overall idea of their thoughts and feelings. The first question was a simple one; is Valorant ready for worldwide release? Interestingly enough 63% said that the game was ready, which is a little less than you might think, given that the game has already gone live.
The second question; which agent should be removed from the game? The answer, to the surprise of none, was Raze, by 37%. For those who aren’t aware, Raze comes equipped with two grenades at the start of each round. The little explosives can be bounced off walls, and deal above average amounts of damage. To put it in a nutshell, no one enjoys being annihilated by a sneaky grenade.
The third question; which was the beta player’s favourite map? Haven and Bind were tied with 85% of the votes.
The fourth question was an obvious one; what was the player’s hopes for Valorant in the eSports world? 62% agreed that a regional franchise approach, similar to League of Legends and Overwatch, was the way to go.
But perhaps the most telling question of all; which existing game would be most hurt by Valorant? If you thought that CS:GO would be the game most pros thought would suffer, you’d be wrong. Overwatch was pointed to as being the most at risk, with 46% agreeing it was in trouble now that Valorant was on the scene. CS:GO came in at second, with 35% of the votes. It will be some time before the real response to Valorant is known, but early signs say that it is here to stay. Thought, it likely won’t be taking the throne outright.