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The Operator might still be too overpowered even after patch 1.09 nerfs due to Valorant’s map design

The Operator might still be a bit too broken even after nerfs
The Operator might still be a bit too broken even after nerfs
Modified 06 Oct 2020, 14:51 IST

Valorant’s Operator has gone through a variety of nerfs in the latest patch 1.09 update. From having its limb damage reduced, to getting its price increased and tweaked scope dead zone values, Riot tried to make sure that Valorant’s sniper is not as oppressive as it used to be.

But did the nerfs really work?

While a certain part of the community might feel that the Operator is severely nerfed and gutted beyond repair, there are others who feel that Valorant’s basic map design still makes the weapon as deadly as it always was.

Once a CS: GO competitive player turned Valorant analytical coach Twixt, it is of the opinion that the Operator is still too overpowered after the 1.09 nerfs.

And according to him, it’s not the weapon stats that make the Valorant sniper such a big bully when placed in the right hands. 

In a recent Reddit post, Twixt writes:

Think about it this way, the "Operator" is the equivalent of the "AWP" in CS: GO both in terms of pricing and the role the weapon fills in a team's setup, yet in CS the AWP isn't a "game breaking" weapon by any means, and requires more mechanical skill to use efficiently. However, if you compare the AWP's weapon stats to the Operator's, you will very quickly come to realize that the AWP is better in every aspect. Literally. It has a higher fire-rate, more ammo per clip, better / faster innacuracy reset, you can crouch + move, etc. People need to realize that the reason the Operator is overpowered in the current meta isn't it's weapon stats, unfortunately.

 So what is making the Operator such a big balancing nightmare in Valorant?

Twixt suggests that Valorant’s map design is the biggest evil in the game.

Valorant’s map design is making it difficult to balance the Operator

Angle holding in GS: GO (Image by Twixt)
Angle holding in GS: GO (Image by Twixt)

Twixt further explains that:

The map design in Valorant differs quite vastly to that of CS, the amount of angles ( especially deep angles / 90 deg angles ) that you need to clear on each sector of a map, is far larger to that of CS, therefore holding angles with a one-shot weapon is inherently easier to do. There are also less objects that you can use in your direct environment to peek in a way that shields the majority of your body ( think of the angles you can hold on something like "A site" on Dust in CS: GO.

In all honesty, the chokepoints and angles in Valorant are quite simple to navigate, and it’s what makes the game so readily accessible by newer players. However, it’s a double-edged sword, and in a previous discussion, we have also talked about just how much the map design affects spectator enjoyment when it comes to the competitive scene.

Twixt continues by shining some light on the jiggle peek mechanic in the game:

As opposed to counter-strike where there are many of these angles ( as seen above ) that you can hold while only a fraction of your player model is exposed, In Valorant, you need to full-body peek ( peek with the entirety of your player model exposed ) the majority of the angles you challenge/hold, which makes it far easier for an OP player to land shots on you. The fact that you need to full-body peek these angles also means that missing shots or being double peeked while using the Operator is much more punishing as well, however, this can be completely overlooked as a downside when the weapon is paired with Jett.

Defenders in Valorant have a field time with the Operator, especially if they’re on a Jett. Unlike in CS: GO, Valorant allows you to move around during the buy phase, and this, in turn, lets the defenders get a good set up going, and the Operator user can sit at a spot holding on to an angle.

Twixt suggests:

Another really big issue ( IMO ) In terms of how the map design in Valorant allows for one-shot weapons like the operator to be abused in matchmaking, is the fact that before the round even starts, you can set up in an angle where your sightline is directly looking into an area across the entire map where the enemy spawn barrier is located, meaning you can hold an angle as soon as the round starts where an enemy will be within the first 0.5 seconds into the round. Using CS: GO maps as comparison, the only angle you can hold in a similar manner would be mid doors in D2, but then again, hitting someone crossing through that narrow-angle is not nearly as easy.

He provides an image to help us understand the issue further. 

Angle holding in Valorant (Image Credits: Twixt)
Angle holding in Valorant (Image Credits: Twixt)
As you can see in the image above, the defender playing bottom mid on Ascent can adjust in around 0.5 seconds as soon as the round starts, to get a guaranteed hold on anyone who pushes top mid post-spawn, what I mean by this is that the defender will be the first to hold the angle, and the attacker will have to actively peek the defender.
This can be countered in plenty of ways, e.g. a Cypher cam top mid to scan mid, or a smoke to cut off the LOS ( Line of Sight ), however, it's an issue when the only way to counter an individual weapon is to fully rely on your team's utility usage. If you're a scrim / comp player this probably isn't an issue, but 99% of people play MM, and the majority of them solo / duo queue, meaning that relying on your team-synergy with strangers to counter an individual angle is completely inconsistent, especially in lower ELO games. For this specific issue, I think one way to fix it would be to re-adjust the spawn barrier locations in certain maps ( as done previously with split ) to even out the defender/attacker advantages.

Twixt provides solutions for Valorant’s ‘Operator-Map’ issue

Now, Valorant’s ‘Operator-Map’ conundrum is pretty fixable, and Twixt shows us just how exactly Riot can go about fixing the problems. Twixt writes:

In terms of fixing issues that are directly related to the game's map structure/design, the necessary "patches" are much more difficult to implement. Maps take a lot of time & resources to design, and it would therefore be unrealistic to expect the dev team to fully rework the existing maps. However, the excessively problematic map sections can and should be reworked to result in a more balanced competitive structure. Similar to how the mid-section of split was reworked post-beta, the dev team should focus on doing the same with other maps, as we haven't seen any relevant changes since then.

He accompanies his statement with a video that talks about all the problems that Valorant’s map design is facing at the moment. 

Twixt concludes by saying:

I believe the main issue with Valorant's current map pool is a lack of community input / playtesting. Volcano is a great map creator, and gave us what is arguably one of the best CS maps of all time ( Cache ) and I'm definitely disappointed in the current state of the Valorant map pool. If there was a community workshop, or at least selective playtesting prior to the full release of these maps, I'm sure that a lot of the main aspects that people complain about could have been fully avoided. Another adjustment that needs to be made on certain maps is the placement of the aforementioned spawn barriers/spawn protection. Calculating the exact timing from each barrier to x position is crucial to the decision making in terms of determining where exactly to place each barrier in order to avoid issues such as being able to hold OP angles as soon as the round starts without having to move more than a couple of steps.

Riot still has their work cut out for them when it comes to balancing the Operator.

Published 06 Oct 2020, 14:51 IST
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