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Valorant devs want to minimize tournament disruptions with future patch updates

Image via Riot Games
Image via Riot Games
Brandon Moore
ANALYST
Modified 06 Nov 2020, 02:09 IST
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Riot Games seem eager to ensure that future patch releases take a much smoother path than the last one.

The newest Ask Valorant by Riot Games is out, where details were given on how the developer will focus on future patches being less disruptive to Valorant's competitive tournaments.

While Valorant patch 1.11 was a disaster, one of the biggest issues coming out of the update, was that the negatives of it were set to cause problems during a North American First Strike event. This was reminiscent of Fortnite's handling of the Infinity Blade before an important competitive event. Valorant's developers took the high road here though, rolling back the patch completely, so that the First Strike qualifier competition would be able to run as smooth as possible.


Valorant: Devs want to minimize tournament disruptions with future patch updates

Question:

I noticed that the latest patch dropped during the NA Qualifiers for First Strike, but then got rolled back. Are you thinking about esports tournaments as you patch? What if these patches are too disruptive?

Answer:

First: thank you for your patience with all of this. Timing esports events in between game patches is a pretty complicated process, especially since VALORANT updates...every two weeks. The dev team did think they made all the changes in time for the qualifiers (see the foreword they wrote for the patch notes), and we’ve been working closely with them to sync schedules. However, this got too squishy and some of the NA Qualifiers ended up on the wrong side of a Tuesday.
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This should have been a better experience and we’re definitely looking to improve with the lessons we’ve learned. So here’s what happened: going into the end of the year, both the development and esports teams badly wanted to unlock true Best-of-Fives for the First Strike Main Event by releasing the fifth map, Icebox. We felt Icebox would need four weeks in the ranked queue to provide pros enough time to practice on the map before including it in competition.
We also wanted to keep the next patch (1.12)—which would drop midway through First Strike—light in order to minimize potential disruption. To account for all of this, the VALORANT dev team frontloaded a lot more than the usual amount of content into patch 1.11 and released a map earlier than planned. This led to an unstable experience, and ultimately the patch was rolled back.
As to the timing of the patch: Due to the super dense qualifier schedule happening around the world in the month leading up to the First Strike main event, we had few dates that could both avoid being disruptive to qualifiers and provide the runway of four weeks for Icebox. We erred on the side of releasing patch 1.11 before most of the qualifiers kicked off, but it ended up not quite stretching to account for the NA Qualifiers. We considered it painful but ‘okay,’ given all of the constraints we were working with (and shared patch notes early to those competitors). Smash cut to today, and I think we’re dealing with the worst-case scenario of disruption.
Anyway, to avoid having the first NA Qualifier played on two different patches, we’ve unlocked a separate instance where the remaining 16 teams will conclude the tournament on patch 1.10. In the meantime, the live game was updated to patch 1.11 on Nov. 2. These are definitely some growing lessons we’re learning as we stand up the esport scene and game at the same time.
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The most interesting aspect of the answer by Valorant Esports Strategy member Riley Yurk is with regard to the next patch. Due to that patch happening right in the middle of some important Valorant competitive contests, the team wanted to load as much into patch 1.11 as possible to keep the next one small. That ultimately lead to patch 1.11 being so unstable.

The remainder of the NA qualifiers are also going to stay on patch 1.10. It is clear that the Valorant developers want nothing but the best for the game, casually and competitively. Hopefully this is a lesson learned, and any upcoming changes to the game, aren't nearly as disruptive as patch 1.11.

Published 06 Nov 2020, 02:07 IST
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