How many patches does it take to make an Agent balanced in Valorant? In Sage's case, it appears to be three, with the release of Valorant v1.01 once again containing adjustments to healing extraordinaire to bring her more in line with the game's ten other agents.
The latest update is a small one, which is to be expected just a week after the official release, with the headline news barring the aforementioned Sage nerf, being adding features and goodies for the new Spike Rush game mode.
(Picture: Riot Games)
Sage's Barrier Orb has twice been reduced in effectiveness through patches, with the time it takes to break and it's overall HP being reduced - making it easier to break through, and less of an area denial ability, which in its previously powerful state made her not only a healer but also an effective controller.
The Barrier Orb is again the focus of this nerf with the castable range being reduced from 20 metres to 10.
(Picture: Riot Games)
This is in Riot's words allowed her to, "aggressively take control of neutral territory in a way that was inappropriate for her role in Valorant".
With the reduction meaning her Barrier Orb will be useful as a defence ability rather than used to aggressively push into areas as it has been used previously.
Spike Rush changes
(Picture: Riot Games)
The first of a number of new game modes Riot intends to introduce to the game - Spike Rush - allows players to play shorter more casual matches, to help players' warm-up their aim before the main event.
To make these games more interesting Riot have added more orbs to the map, including a Health Orb, Deception Orb, and Golden Gun Orb.
The Health Orb, does what it says on the tin, healing your entire team for 12 HP per second for 20 seconds. The Deception Orb will cast Omen's Paranoia ability on the opposing team, while also making them hear fake footsteps and gunfire.
Golden Gun, will give players a previously unseen Golden Gun, which is one-shot, one-kill, perfectly accurate at all times and the ability to move a knife speed.
There is a drawback though, the weapon one has only one bullet in the chamber and 2 for backup. Getting a kill will reward the player with another.
GAMEPLAY AND BALANCE
- Barrier Orb cast range reduced 20 >>> 10 meters
- As a Sentinel, Sage is supposed to be most effective when defending territory that she already controls. The 20m cast range was allowing Sage to aggressively take control of neutral territory in a way that was inappropriate for her role in Valorant. This range reduction aims to keep her strong while defending territory but reduce her efficacy at taking ground.
- Fixed several spots where weapons were falling through the world and issues with wall penetration
- Modified several call out names to better match player terms
SPIKE RUSH UPDATE
- Each game of Spike Rush now features a set of 5 randomly selected orbs
- The Full Ultimate orb will always be available
- 4 of the remaining 7 orb types will be chosen at random
- Chosen orb types will be shown in a description widget both in character select and during pre-round
New Orb Types
- Health Orb - Grants teamwide health regen (instant)
- 20 second duration
- 12 HP per second (3HP per tick)
- SFX/VFX only play while actually healing
- Deception Orb - Applies “Paranoia” to the enemy team 3 seconds after capture
- 10 second debuff
- Vision is greatly reduced (and a small Field of Vision shift)
- Fake footsteps and gunfire play for affected players
- Minimap is disabled
- Golden Gun - Grants capturing player a Golden Gun
- One-shot, one-kill
- Perfectly accurate at all times
- Agent moves at knife speed
- Only has a single bullet in chamber and 2 backup rounds
- Kills grant an additional round
- New pre-round HUD element that shows the weapon & potential orb types for the current round.
- Players now get 1 ultimate point for collecting any orb.
Our performance work this patch primarily focuses on improving performance during combat and general performance improvements for high spec machines. The game should feel even smoother in combat and many scenes will likely have higher average FPS depending on your spec.
- Combat Perf : We were able to fix a number of things causing dips during combat.
- Skins for 9/10 players were failing to pre-load in the game. The first time you’d come across these skin in-game you’d experience a drop in framerate.
- Reduced frame dips that would occur when a kill callout was added or removed to the hud.
- Improved the performance of the Viper specific HUD elements which had some performance issues.
- +FPS on Mid to High Spec : We were able to improve CPU bottlenecks in a few places across the code as well. Lower spec machines may still benefit from some of these improvements but would only see the gains during combat.
- Added multithreaded rendering support for high end machines. If your machine meets the requirements to benefit from multithreaded rendering, you'll see a new option to turn it on or off in the Graphics Quality menu. It's on by default for these machines
- Multithreaded rendering improves performance in scenes where the cost of managing objects that need to be rendered exceeds the cost of the game simulation and the cost of actually rendering the scene on the GPU. These conditions most commonly occur when moving through scenes with lots of objects visible (ex. Split attacker spawn) and in cases where the game simulation doesn't require much work (ex. practice range, out of combat gameplay, etc.).
- Multithreaded vision cones; minimap vision cones will now compute on another thread, if it's able to
- Large VFX passes across all maps, this reduced the CPU side cost of these particles by allowing the GPU to do more of the simulation
- Reworked client performance Stats to include more detailed breakdown of frame times
QUALITY OF LIFE
- Sova's Recon Dart will behave more consistently and only reveal the portion of enemies behind a wall
- Added a setting that allows the inventory to always appear
- Pings will no longer draw over allies and enemies when placed behind them
- Transition out of game now shows the map you just played instead of Brimstone and Sage walking into a teleporter
- In the shooting range, changing character now uses a lightweight and more performant UI than the flow going into a match
- Missions on the end of game screen are now sorted by completion and by type
- Minor visual improvements to Contract and Battlepass rewards in the progression widget located at the top of the screen
- Fixed issue where translucent particles, like smoke layers, would show through Reyna’s Nearsight.
- Fixed VFX that obscured Reyna’s screen if she scoped while healing
- Reyna’s overheal health no longer incorrectly shows 151 total when maxed
- Cypher Spycameras placed on the teleporter door frames on Bind no longer teleport it’s view location underground
- Cypher’s Cyber Cage no longer holds the teleporter doors on Bind open
- The Area-of-Effect indicators for Sova’s Recon Bolt and Reyna’s Leer now only show up on the enemy’s minimap if the player or their allies are close to the affected area
- Fixed input and other various pieces of Agent control UI showing up for spectators
- Fixed a bug where dead player's 1st-person arms would appear to be floating in the air
- Fixed a bug where activating a spray could exit ADS while firing
- Fixed a bug with the Bullet Tracers setting, having this setting active used to also disable muzzle flash on some weapons in addition to tracers
- Fixed an issue with the mouse cursor flickering when moving it over the scoreboard
- Fixed an issue with milliseconds in the round timer not being accurate
- Fixed an issue with some keybindings not displaying keybinding conflicts warnings correctly
- Fixed an Observer bug where the first person being observed in the game did not have a character portrait
- Fixed an issue with automatic weapons rarely not displaying tracers or audio effects when fired in short bursts
- Fixed a bug where the defuse bar was duplicated
- Fixed voice input/output devices and settings not persisting across sessions
- Fixed a slew of localization issues across end of game screens
- Fixed a handful of visual issues across end of game screens
- Fixed an issue whispering players of the same name/general DM improvements
- Improved chat service error messaging
- Settings menu is now letterboxed as intended
- While on the Agents page, clicking on COLLECTION now correctly navigates back to the Arsenal page