The North American First Strike Valorant qualifiers by Nerd Street Gaming were host to some of the most incredible matches that the region had the privilege of witnessing.
The tournament saw some of the top teams in the world face off against each other to earn the chance to qualify for the main First Strike event that’s all set to be held in December.
Filled with upsets and 200IQ gameplay, the NA NSG First Strike Valorant qualifiers saw some of the best teams in the region fall and gave rise to the new champions in Cloud9 Blue.
However, though the matches have been incredibly exciting to watch for a Valorant player, the production quality may not have been up to the mark for many fans.
In a recent Reddit post, a Valorant player who goes by the handle of aquaponicbrian, talked about the issues that were visible during the North American qualifier matches and the things that the production team needs to improve on to attain Valorant’s viewing potential.
The Redditor wrote:
“First strike was really entertaining for me as a valorant player but there's a long way to go to achieve a polished casting product to reach its viewing potential. I really enjoyed the tournament so far. The roster shakeups, the good performance of T100, and Envy over (at least my) expectations, and Dignitas(psalm) maybe disappointed me a little. But all those things are what makes compelling, interesting, and fun storylines. All of which would be completely missed by a casual esports viewer that isn't familiar with the Valorant pro/tournament scene.”
Valorant’s tournament production has a long way to go
Riot Games’ other IP, League of Legends, has an incredible production team behind their esports success, and the fact is especially true for the LEC.
Even TheScore Esports did documented how the broadcasting team played an essential role in League of Legends’ viewership success in Europe. The same is also applicable to Valorant. The better the quality of the broadcast, the more people you can pull into the esports narrative of the game in that particular region.
'aquaponicbrian' also talked about some of the problems and possible solutions that Valorant’s broadcast can consider to make production as smooth as possible.
Point 1: Color Coding
According to 'aquaponicbrian':
“By Riot/developer: we need to stop changing the team's colors.. yah I know.. one is attack colors and defense colors, but newsflash. The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Football Club don't switch uniforms when they switch who has the ball. And it's confusing to the audience. A pipe dream would be to let teams have custom skins/colors like uniforms but I understand that's a huge dev undertaking, The minimum ask here is to have a team keep the same color for the duration of the match (at least to the observers, not necessarily to themselves).”
Many of the post-game highlights become confusing to follow when there is a side swap after the initial 12 rounds and during overtime. Providing each team with a distinct color for the entirety of the match will certainly help players keep up with the action.
Point 2: Camera control
Addressing camera switching in Valorant, 'aquaponicbrian' said:
“Whoever manages the camera, needs a lot of practice. There were times I was honestly not sure if camera switching was done by a human or on a randomized timer. It's really easy to lose the audience's sense of context when switching between players on different teams and switching between players on other parts of the map. I feel like this is a skill that can be achieved here which would also require some better teamwork with the casters... but I digress, I found myself watching the game on the minI map more than the player perspectives because what we were seeing (from a player perspective) wasn't building the round's narrative and wasn't usually the most important or entertaining footage.”
Point 3: Proper stream management for the Valorant matches
Explaining how the stream management for Valorant matches can be improved upon, 'aquaponicbrian' said:
“The tournament management, scheduling, streaming as a whole. Is there really no central location keeping track of all the games and which stream you can watch it on? If this exists, it's impossible to find so it's just as bad as not having it... On Thursday, I had 3 different Nerd Street or "official" NSG tourney streams on.. watching the current games, but waiting for the 100T v Dignitas game which was my main interest that day. And sure enough, that game started up on a completely different stream and I missed the whole first game and half the second.. so yah, I didn't even get to watch the game I wanted to because of the logistics hatchet work this tournament seemed to be.”
Point 4: Better Casting Talent
'aquaponicbrian' also highlighted the importance of better casting talent, saying:
“The casters: Keep practicing. None was Troy Aikman and Joe Buck so you can obviously improve. You get a pass because the visual and logistical support for the match streams is so amateur quality right now.”
The Valorant NSG First Strike Qualifiers for North America did have some aspects lacking when it comes to their broadcasting quality.
'aquaponicbrian' ended the post on a positive note and said:
“I hope that's more constructive sounding than shade. I will keep tuning into the tournaments and enjoying them the way they are. But also none of my gaming friends are the least bit interested in the Valorant pro scene right now. I think they could be, even though they do not currently play valorant, but I can't recommend it because the barrier to entry for a new person to drop in on a valorant tournament stream and get oriented and engaged with what they are seeing on stream is still too high. At least for now, I have higher expectations for riot and the top-level tournaments on a riot title.”