The latest update to release for Valorant takes aim at the two of the cheapest and most-used weapons in the game - the Frenzy pistol and Stinger SMG.
After a relatively innocuous start with players preferring the Ghost or Sheriff over the Frenzy or the Spectre over the Stinger if picking up an SMG. It was those latter weapons that found themselves more regular picks with the Frenzy's full-auto mode found to shred opponents while the Stinger's insane range, burst-fire, and low cost make it a must-pick.
Now both are the subject to nerfs with the Frenzy increasing in price from 400 to 500 credits.
The Stinger has had its effective range reduced, accuracy decreased and increased in price from 1000 to 1100.
The "Stinger meta" may well be over. (Picture: Riot Games)
The jury is out on whether this will make them less viable. The Frenzy's price increase has already chastised for not going far enough.
Receiving a buff is the Marshall sniper with its price being reduced from 1100 credits to 1000. Its scoped magnification has been increased and scoped movement speed penalty has been reduced to just 90% of unscoped.
New Escalation game mode
Other changes coming to v2.03 is the introduction of the game's fifth mode, and technically the second limited-time mode after the winter Snowball Fight seen over the holidays.
(Picture: Riot Games)
Named Escalation the mode is similar to Gun Games or Arms Races seen in other titles. Games will be 5v5 with players starting with a set of weapons, as they kill opponents as a team and individual their level increases. Each level provides different weapons.
The first team to finish level 12, or the furthest along in 10 minutes, wins the Escalation.
While we were aware Yoru was set to get some changes, three other agents are also subject so some level of tinkering. The most transformative being for Reyna who seen her Devour and Dismiss abilities nerfed.
Reyna's changes have got players talking. (Picture: Riot Games)
The charges have been reduced from 4 to 2 while the cost of them has increased from 100 to 200. However, it isn't all bad for Reyna as she now earns Soul Orbs not just from enemies where she lands the killing blow but also if she has damaged a now dead opponent in 3 seconds before they have died.
Brimstone and Pheonix are also the subjects of slight nerfs but nothing too game-changing.
More information below.
New skin collections
Perhaps the most anticipated addition to Valorant v2.03 is the two brand new skin collections coming to the game. Both are beautiful and feature a unique shader effect that is similar but different from that seen in the likes of Winter Wunderland.
The anime-inspired VALORANT GO! Volume 1 and the Lunar New Year celebrating Celestial have become one of the most highly anticipated skins the game has yet seen - and we only got our first look at them yesterday, They both hit the shops today.
Valorant v2.03 patch notes
Reyna gets a dual nerf and buff in hopes of reigning in some of her “pubstomp” potential, while still keeping her viable in balanced and coordinated play. The charge reduction should limit how much impact she can have round over round when she’s heavily out-gunning her opponents—but allow enough room for the 1v5 dream when Empress(X) is active.
The price increase of Devour and Dismiss in tandem with the Frenzy price increase (see below) should also push some tougher economic decisions during pistol round. Now, she’ll no longer be able to buy a charge or Leer(C), her Soul Orb abilities, and upgrade her pistol. On the flip side, Reyna getting Soul Orbs from recently damaged enemies should help her reliability when playing around teammates, and reduce the animosity when an ally lands the final blow and Reyna goes empty handed.
While we investigate future changes to Yoru that target his power and ability to achieve his core promise, we wanted to make a few changes that we felt would improve his use today. Gatecrash wasn’t providing much information about when enemies could see or hear his teleport fragment, so we added a few pieces to make that easier. As far as the ultimate, we’ve noticed a burden on Yoru having to communicate threats between his allies and his destination and wanted to make it easier for him and his team to understand the state of the round when they set up the ultimate pincer.
We wanted to sharpen the Marshal’s strength as a sniper with a movement speed buff when zoomed. The intent is to carve out a strong, agile, hit-and-run identity for the weapon. There’s a price buff too because the weapon is not as versatile as others in its range.
- Movement speed when zoomed is now at 90% of unzoomed movement speed (previously, zoomed movement speed was 76% of unzoomed)
- Price decrease 1100 >>> 1000
- Zoom magnification increased 2.5x >>> 3.5x
Stinger (Full Auto Fire)
The Stinger’s been strong for some time and while we like that it is threatening at any stage of the game, it’s proved to be too potent in too many areas. We’re taking a swing at raw DPS with the fire rate reduction (full auto only) and made spread and/or recoil adjustments to both firing modes. The intent is to better designate optimal ranges for the respective firing modes as well as introduce degrees of mastery to the weapon. The price increase is meant to bump the premium a bit on the Stinger’s now nerfed, but still potent, versatility.
- Price increased from 1000 >>> 1100
- Full auto fire rate reduced from 18 >>> 16
- Full auto fire now reaches max spread at bullet 4, instead of bullet 6
- Adjusted pitch (vertical) recoil curve for full auto, recoil climbs more aggressively past the 3rd bullet
Decreased yaw switch bullet protection at full auto count from 4 >>> 3 on Full-Auto
Stinger (Burst Fire)
- Adjusted pitch (vertical) recoil to be more aggressive after the first burst
- Added more error on bursts after the first one
- Improved recovery time on burst mode from .45 >>> .4
Frenzy has surged into popularity recently and while we’ve enjoyed to see that, it feels like it’s pushed out a lot of other options on pistol rounds. We’re interested in seeing what a price bump does to purchase rates. As usual, we’ll monitor this weapon for any follow up tuning.
- Price Increased from 400 >>> 500
Escalation goes live! (read our full game mode rundown)
- This is a quick (approx. 7–9 min.) and fast-paced 5v5 game mode where you must race through progressively less lethal loadouts with your team. The loadout gamut varies from match to match, but always features a mix of both weapons and abilities. The same list of loadouts is always used by both teams throughout the match.
- Our biggest goal for Escalation is to offer a quick, fun mode that encourages social play and provides a chance for you to practice using new weapons in a lower-stakes environment. We’re also excited to offer a uniquely short and kinda crazy mode to round out what we have!
- This was one of our more highly requested game modes, so we’re especially excited to bring this one to you.
- TBD on exactly how long this will be live, but we’d like to keep this one out for as long as it makes sense, depending on your engagement
- AFK-ing in Competitive games for a prolonged period (currently defined as 6 or more rounds) will now result in a penalty of 8 rank rating points
- We understand that sometimes your computer, ISP, etc. may have some issues during a game, so we won’t punish you for missing some rounds—but we want to encourage players to come back from those AFKs and play through their Competitive matches.
- Act Rank Badges will now be based on your highest rank win, instead of your ninth-best win
For more context around these changes, read our overall E2: A2 rank plans.
Quality of Life
- All sprays will now be destroyed on round start.
Death Sequence Improvements and Updates
Two changes have been made specific to the death sequence, that is, all the stuff that happens once you are killed and before you become a spectator from beyond. We hope these changes improve the experience and game feel by addressing the smoothness of camera movement and general timing of the sequence. We cannot, however, bring you back to life. That’s Jett’s job.
- Fade to black start time decreased 1.75 seconds after death >>> 1.5 seconds after death
- Time spent on a full black screen increased ~0 seconds >>> 0.25 seconds.
- The total time of the death sequence has not changed, it remains at 2.75 seconds
- Camera movement smoothed significantly, especially for those under poor network conditions
- Prior to patch 2.03, any of you (but especially those with high ping or packet loss) could experience camera jitter during the death sequence.
- Based on our investigations of this issue, you can rest assured this camera jitter did not impact combat performance—anyone experiencing this issue was already dead during the unsmooth movement.
- Now everyone, regardless of network conditions, will have smooth camera movement during the death sequence.
- Fixed issue where Yoru’s decoy had slightly different sounding footsteps than Yoru himself
- Fixed issue where the in-world indicator for Cypher’s Cyber Cage disappeared if it took damage
- Fixed issue where Sova’s Owl Drone could clip through specific map geo and view the other side
- Fixed issue where players already affected by nearsight would momentarily see inside smokes that should instead nearsight them
- Fixed issue where Skye’s Seekers would no longer work if she was killed at a very specific moment while casting them
- Fixed issue where Yoru was unable to equip a weapon or ability if he cancelled out of Dimensional Drift right as its buffs activated
- Killjoy’s Lockdown can no longer be placed inside Sage’s Barrier Orb in some instances
- If Barrier Orb is placed on top of Killjoy’s ult, the section of the wall covering the ult will now be destroyed.
- Fixed issue where teleporting to Yoru’s Gatecrash right as it expires caused him to fall through the map to his death (rip)
- Fixed issue where Yoru’s Bait could sometimes fall through the floor when the stationary version was placed
- Fixed issue where Sova could sometimes get the voice over for Hunter’s Fury to play, even though it isn’t used, by trying to equip the Owl Drone at the same time
- The End of Game screen will no longer display “Average Abilities Cast per Round” as 0
- Fixed a couple of input bugs around possessing and unpossessing objects (Cypher camera, Sova drone, etc.) in the same frame which lead to locking all inputs or locking view direction
- Sorry Cypher mains—thanks for all the reports!
- Fixed an issue where certain settings would not display while in-game
- Your player icon colour on the minimap is now white if you turn on any colour-blind settings
- Fixed a few input issues that were causing players to get stuck using orbs or planting the Spike