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Valorant dev reveals thought process behind new agents: "We want roster impact"

Lead Character Designer Ryan "Morello" Scott laid out the thought process and intention when introducing new agents to the game in the latest Dev Diary.
The introduction of new agents to Valorant hasn't always gone smoothly, proclamations from the developers before launch that players wouldn't "kill with abilities" proved untrue with the release of Raze causing the player base to despair at her very explosive, and very much deadly, abilities.

Raze was nerfed, but her abilities remain. Act 2's release brought in Killjoy - and questions again were asked about the direction that Riot Games was taking in the introduction of new agents - after Kill Joy's abilities proved both deadly and bugged, with the agent still being unpickable during tournaments.

Ryan Morello Riot Games what agent is coming to valorant next
(Picture: Riot Games)

That furore has likely prompted the latest developer diary, with Ryan "Morello" Scott, the Lead Character Designer laying out the thought process around agent inception and implementation describing the goal as, designing agents with, "extreme intentionality".

Morello goes on to explain that means, "really understanding what we are trying to make and what it looks like before we even sit down to try and make it."

Riot wants each new agent to have "roster impact" forcing players to learn new skills and adapt, meaning once an agent is in any drastic changes whether that be buffs or nerfs likely won't happen until further down the line.

"Our characters need to do something when they are added to the game. Something that adds new opportunities, new challenges to fight against, new team composition opportunities. That is what we call 'roster impact.'"

This introduction of Killjoy, has been the subject of criticism but Riot ultimately want each agent to have their supporters and detractors, and creating polarising, and ultimately unique, agents is their goal.

"We wanted to contrast her with other Sentinels, Sage and Cypher namely," he explained.

"Killjoy is about hunkering down, fortifying and creating risk within a zone ⁠- and that risk, if not managed correctly, turning into kills for Killjoy and her team. This is a lot different on how you'll use this kind of character, even though it is a Sentinel ⁠- setting up a turret or a nanoswarm and not being able to capitalize on it doesn’t do a lot. Dealing with two threats at once is how Killjoy accomplishes this defend and convert pattern we want.”

That doesn't mean over and underpowered Agents won't be changed over time, an obvious statement to anyone who has played the game - every Agent has had changes since launch with Raze and Sage receiving the most dramatic nerfs.

What is unlikely to happen is a wholesale change in an Agent's abilities. Riot have designed each Agent with a "control panel", a series of metrics that can be increased or decreased to create a more balanced Agent.

"This ensures that if a character becomes overpowered or butt tier in some way, we can adjust without having to change the entire identity of the character to resolve it."

So anyone expecting Killjoy's nanoswarms to just disappear, or Raze's Showstopper, is likely to be disappointed.

Morello didn't give any hints as to what the next agent will be, we do know that each Act will get a new Agent so expect to hear more around the first week of October.