“You don’t kill with abilities. Abilities create tactical opportunties to take the right shot.”
That statement from early in Valorant’s beta phase by Riot CEO Nicolo Laurent frequently gets cited as an argument against characters with high-damage abilities like Raze, and now Killjoy.
Here’s the full statement:
Now, nearly 10 months later, Character Design Lead, Ryan “Morello” ScottWell, has had to retract the statement in Riot’s most recent Q&A blog post.
Morello made it clear that the “[abilities don’t kill] statement isn’t completely accurate—especially in a game that already had Raze and Killjoy’s gameplay locked in before [said] announcement.”
“If this promise ([that] abilities never kill) was the thing that made you come to try VALORANT, we’re sorry if we misled you, even unintentionally. But our position is, and has been, that abilities that deal damage are a core part of tactical games—whether it be VALORANT or other tac shooters,” said Morello.
This recently led to an important discussion between Valorant players who were left wondering what would become of Valorant, if more broken agents like Killjoy would be added to the game in the future.
Most of Valorant’s top ranked players found early success because of their CS:GO backgrounds. Their aiming mechanics and map awareness gave them an immediate advantage during the first few Valorant tournaments.
But there have also been outliers like Jay “sinatraa” Won, who is a transcendent esports competitor. He was Overwatch’s reigning MVP, up until he decided to take his talents to Valorant and is now considered one of the best players in the world.
Players like sinatraa are exceptional at getting the most out of their agent’s abilities, which totally catches their opponents off guard. And, as the game continues to progress, we’re seeing more players use their skills from different esport backgrounds in Valorant.
While many players believed that Valorant would ultimately shape up to resemble CS:GO, Riot is looking to create something totally different, in which it can push players to be more creative with each new agent. Though many thought players with CS:GO backgrounds would dominate the scene moving forward, it seems that they will need to master using abilities if they want to remain at the top.