Valorant was released on June 2, 2023. A year later, it’s safe to say that the shooter from Riot Games is not a CS: GO killer. However, at the same time Valorant did not turn into another faded copy of Counter-Strike, becoming a good alternative for those who are tired of keeping a “banana” on Inferno. What definitely cannot be taken away from Riot Games is the company’s ability to regularly (hello Valve) release new content for games. Therefore, in just a year since the release, Valorant really managed to transform. About what happened to the shooter from Riot Games since its release – in the material



New Maps

At release, Valorant had four maps – Ascent, Bind, Split and Haven. Icebox and Breeze joined this list a year later. The latter has only recently been added to ranked matchmaking. This decision, by the way, can be attributed to the developers as a plus: after the map appeared in the game, a separate mode was created for it so that players could master it without losing the rating, and only after a while Breeze entered the main matchmaking map pool.

Breeze Map

Over the course of the year, all maps received minor changes, but Split got under a larger-scale transformation. The developers have noticeably changed point B, making life easier for the attacking team. While the defenders on Split still feel more comfortable, their advantage is not so noticeable. The developers managed to achieve a relative balance of sides on all maps in Valorant: the largest gap can be seen on Ascent – 51.9% to 48.1% in favor of defense.

But there is still no possibility to prohibit cards or choose a specific one in Valorant. And this, perhaps, remains a noticeable disadvantage of the shooter for many gamers who may not like only one particular map.

Valorant Map Statistics

New agents and balance

During the year, four new agents appeared at Valorant – Killjoy, Skye, Yoru and Astra. Thanks to this, in the game you can now see defensive turrets, a controlled wolf that can stun an opponent, and a giant wall dividing the map into two halves. The new agents turned out to be quite distinctive, their skills do not repeat the tactical skills of the existing characters, or, at least, they use different activation mechanics for the same “smoks”. The characters gave the shooter even more tactical variability, but such a frequent addition of new agents could not but affect the overall balance. And here everything is not so smooth.


For example, Agent Yoru, who looked very promising on paper due to the ability to move behind the enemy’s back or create a false sound of footsteps, ended up at the very bottom in the winrate table. The agent wins only 42.5% of ranked matches, while Killjoy was almost the first pick (with a 53.6% win rate), as it has enormous potential for map control and point retention. At the same time, there are even more broken characters: for example, Raze’s winrate is now 58.1%, and in the last patch this value reached almost 70%. Agree, for a team shooter, which is primarily built on shooting, such indicators are a clear sign of a problem. Yes, Riot Games is trying to quickly respond to such unhealthy fluctuations in winrate, however, the developers have not yet come to an optimal balance. The situation is the same with certain gameplay aspects, skill mechanics, and shooting. For example, shortly after the release, the developers nerfed the accuracy of fire on the run – the shooter was criticized for it the most, and the characteristics of the Riot heroes do change in every patch. This means that the optimal balance has yet to be found, but there is no doubt that work on it is very active.

Valorant agents winrate

Matchmaking changes

Rating matchmaking is perhaps the main headache for Valorant developers – it was he who was criticized by the community from the very release. At first, the players were annoyed by the incomprehensible system of rank progress: the user could literally win 5-7 matches in a row, and then, having lost only one, get a demotion in rank. At the same time, there was a rather noticeable variation in rank in matchmaking: users with both Bronze and Gold could be in the same lobby.

Now the situation has changed somewhat. Riot Games has introduced a more understandable promotion system: to get to the next rank, the player needs to score one hundred points; for each victory, depending on the impact of the gamer and the final score, you can usually get from 16 to 26 points and lose the same amount for a defeat. Thanks to this, the system has become more transparent and understandable, however, problems with the spread of players in the lobby persist.


Gamers with a rank higher than “Diamond 3” still experience difficulties with matchmaking, since they are subject to restrictions on playing in a group. For users from Russia, the main problem is the lack of voice chat, which is extremely critical for a team shooter. So far, gamers have two options: to contrive and change the location of the account by moving it to Ukraine, or continue to read insults addressed to them from English-speaking teammates who are dissatisfied with the presence of “silent Russians”. However, this may change in the future, as at the end of April Riot Games notified users that soon can still start recording voice chat in Valorant. In the FAQ section under this news on the company’s official website, there was such a curious hint: “- I live in Russia, and I have no voice chat. How will this innovation affect me? – More information will appear in the future. Follow the news”.

In a year since its release, Riot Games has not added the ability to view recordings of its own matches in Valorant. This, of course, complicates the process of working on errors for gamers, or at least does not allow friends to throw a video with a cool highlight in their own performance to their friends. On May 6, Riot Games brought up this topic, reporting that the developers are actively discussing adding replay viewers to Valorant. However, there was no release date for the feature or other details yet.

New modes

At the start of Valorant, in addition to the usual matchmaking, there was a “Quick Install Spike” mode. A year later, the list was joined by “Fight to the Death” and “Escalation” (an analogue of “Arms Race” from CS: GO). In addition, there were temporary modes, such as “Snowballing” in honor of the New Year and “Replication”, which ended on May 25.

Frankly speaking, Valorant is still inferior to CS: GO both in terms of the variety of modes and their fun. Riot Games’ shooter clearly lacks a 2v2 mod as a viable alternative for those tired of matchmaking. The disadvantage of the modes that are now in Valorant is that separate maps were not created for them, and playing the same “Fight to the Death” on Split, where most of the players will immediately sit in the corners, is such a pleasure. Therefore, unlike other aspects, on the issue of new modes, Valorant’s progress is less noticeable. Although it is hardly worth scolding the developers for this, because, I think, many users are waiting for new maps and agents with much greater interest. However, do not forget that in December 2023 there were rumors that Riot Games began testing the “battle royale” mode – probably over time we will get a mod that can compete with matchmaking.

New Year’s mode


In “cosmetics” Riot Games gave free rein to imagination and filled the game with a dozen different sets that not only visually decorate weapons, but also add spectacular animations for the final kills in the rounds. You still can’t get a random cosmetic pack after a match, like in CS: GO. If you want a skin, you have to fork out, and there are two ways to do this: activate the Battle Pass or buy it directly from the store.

Getting a few free skins with a lot of zeal will still work out. The battle pass, for example, has a section of free rewards, most of which are trinkets, graffiti and titles, however, having reached the highest level, you will still be able to snatch one skin for a weapon (of course, you should not expect anything super cool in this section). In addition, upon reaching the tenth level of any agent’s contract, you will also be given a free cosmetic item for a pistol.

Skin for Vandal

Now back to the quality of the skins themselves. Riot Games has not created a single stylistic concept for cosmetic items: they are all so different that sometimes it can even look comical in battle. On the one hand, we have skins that turn rifles into living dragons, with beautiful reloading animation (the dragon snatches a new store from your hands), and on the other, weapons in the form of a children’s toy or an aquarium with fish. From a commercial point of view, such experimental skins are extremely profitable, because each next set is even more unusual, which means that the motivation to buy them from the players will not dry out. However, such versatility is sometimes tiresome, and most importantly, it does not allow creating a single style for Valorant. But if the proximity of a child’s cannon and a dragon does not bother you at all, then the cool finishing effects, when the opponent is shackled after death by the chains of the afterlife or the hands from the abyss pull him into the funnel, will definitely appeal to you.

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