When Valorant was unveiled to the wider public back in October (then called Project A) much was made of the fact that even though their would be Agents all with their own unique abilities, these abilities wouldn't be used offsenively or in Riot CEO, Nicolo Laurent's own words: "You don’t kill with abilities. Abilities create tactical opportunities to take the right shot. Characters have abilities that augment their gunplay, instead of fighting directly with their abilities."
To be clear, in Project A, shooting matters. You don’t kill with abilities. Abilities create tactical opportunities to take the right shot. Characters have abilities that augment their gunplay, instead of fighting directly with their abilities.— nicolo (@niiicolo) October 16, 2019
This statement was an attempt to assuage fears the Valorant would be nothing more than an Overwatch style Hero shooter, where abilities with their subsequent buffs and nerfs would be the deciding factor in the game.
At the release of closed beta this statement held true, of course there was the mollys and Sova's shockdarts but these were fundamentally weapons with relatively low damage output and there was few complaints.
Then a couple of weeks into closed beta we got Raze, the explosive expert. She was a destructive force with her cluster grenade and ultimate ability - Showstopper - a rocket launcher with one-hit kill ability instilling fear and, let's be honest, confusion in the hearts and minds of Valorant players.
(Picture: Riot Games)
Here we had an Agent whose entire arsenal made her a killing machine. "You don't kill with abilities" maybe should of been, "you don't need ability to kill".
Raze was subsequently nerfed, she still has her Showstopper, but the audio cue when in use is much louder and for the most part makes it easier to counter (read: run).
Now new battle lines have been drawn, with Riot's accidental leaking of their 12th agent - Killjoy - causing dismay within the playerbase with 100Thieves' Spencer "Hiko" Martin leading the charge by coming out strongly against the agent labelling her design "hypocritical" to the messaging Riot put before release.
Killjoy, as her name suggests, enjoys killing and her abilities, all of which were erronously uploaded to the Valorant website and subsequently took down, point to a Duelist agent in the same vein as Raze with no less than three damage dealing abilities.
She has a Nanoswarm grenade that acts like a remote activated molly, an Alarmbot which chases down opponents, explodes in their vicinity causing not only the intitial damage but also applies a modifier increasing damage from other munitions and most egregiously, at least in the eyes of Hiko, is the deployable Turret which can be set up and will shoot any opponents that venture into it's sights.
Second Ability: Turret— Valorant Express - Valorant Leaks And News (@ValorantExpress) July 28, 2020
Sometimes it's good to plant some roots. Deploy a turret that fires at enemies within its 180 degree cone. Hold equip to recall the deployed turret.
With my turret, I can hold an area pretty well myself while the others cover the angles I can't. pic.twitter.com/u2iggpx2uh
"You can literally make your own cross-fire as a solo person holding a bombsite - that's insane, it's actually crazy."
Speaking on his Twitch stream the player laid out why having agents that deal damage is so problematic for the game.
"It lowers the skill gap," he explained. "Is that really the route they are going to go? Are we going to get Agents that fly around the map? We already have Jett!"
Hiko also laid out his fears for what could come after Killjoy with ability creep, the act of increasing creating new agents with more powerful abilities to counter existing ones, a real possibility: "If this is the route they want to go I don't see a world where they don't make a shield agent."
Hiko sees little room for manuevere for the developers if they continue on this path, "The only thing I can think of is some kind of tank agent, something that can actually tank more damage. Whether that means we need more healers or tanks that have shields, I don't know."
Valorant's twelvth Agent is proving controversial. (Picture: Riot Games)
"But I promise you, if they are already making more abilities that do damage, they are already thinking about making more healers."
Hiko believes the problem lies with the Agent concept in general, with the need to design and develop unique Agents putting the developers in a bind, believing their commitment to release six agents a year has, "dug themselves a hole."
It must be noted that Killjoy's abilities or the damage they deal have been officially released and could be changed before they go live, with the agent expected to be released on the 3rd August as part of the start of Act 2.
What is certain is that Killjoy will be the next agent, with Riot's leak and emergence of voicelines and now player models within the games files pointing to an imminent release.