After reading the headline, you might be wondering: “Operator? Overpowered? Since when?”, and we will not be surprised if these were the questions that popped into your mind regarding Valorant.
In the lower ranks of Valorant, this might be a very unpopular opinion, but just hear us out and you will see why we, along with some parts of the community, feel so.
Compared to a game like CS:GO, which too is a ‘search and destroy’ based low-TTK shooter, the amount of utility that Valorant brings to the table is quite negligible.
Hence, this puts attacking teams at quite a disadvantage if the defenders are guarding all the main entry points with an Operator.
However, such advantages for the defending team are only felt in higher ELO games, and not the lower ones. With well-coordinated teams, especially those on the professional stage, you will notice just how much easier it is to defend than it is to attack in Valorant.
Hiko on Ops in Valorant
In a recent stream, the former CS:GO pro (and now a member of the 100Thieves Valorant roster) Spencer "Hiko" Martin talked about how the lack of entry kits in Valorant is giving defenders a much higher advantage than necessary.
Hiko states that in CS:GO, each player is equipped with a variety of utilities like smokes, flashes and frag grenades. However, in Valorant, only a few specific Agents come with reliable entry kits, and they are Brimstone and Omen.
It’s because of this that these two Agents, along with Sage and Cypher (broken in defense), have become a must pick for every team. This in turn makes the gameplay of the teams predictable, and the defending team always tends to get the edge no matter the situation.
Flashes from both Phoenix and Breach can very easily be avoided if one just looks away. Unlike in CS:GO, the effectiveness of these flashes are significantly reduced if its line of sight is blocked.
Hiko states that because of the lack of entry kits, defending teams are often picking up 2-3 Operators and camping out at entry points till they can spot an enemy. And with the small amount of vision-canceling abilities, attackers are more often than not falling in the line of sight of the Operators and getting sniped.
It’s making good players way too overpowered with the scope.
Riot Morello is aware of the Valorant situation
Valorant’s lead character designer Morello is quite aware of the fact that the game is in need of more Agents who will have better and more reliable vision-canceling utility.
Of late, he has been doing some live stream sessions where he answers a lot of the community questions. In a recent one, he talks about the possibility of adding new Agents into Valorant, who will boast a variety of aggressive CC.
However, he did stress on the point that no matter what type of new abilities they add, it will not bear any likeness to the pop flashes and pop smokes which are there in CS:GO.
Till now, every bit of Agent CC in Valorant has had its very own style of use. Something like a Reyna ‘Leer’, which by far is the best flash in the game, can be shot down; this and every other CC ability has a winding animation attached to it, along with an audio queue.
So you can actually hear it as well as see it coming, which in CS:GO is not exactly the case, and you will be caught unawares most of the time.
CC abilities can be countered with the more aggressive ones in Valorant
Let’s say, you pick all the smoke-producing Agents in the game. You have your Brimstone, your Omen, your Viper, your Jett; what’s to say that your aggressive push through smokes doesn’t get countered by a Raze bot and a Sova recon arrow?
There are random damaging abilities that Agents have, which they can spam inside the smoke if they’re certain that you’re going for a push. This will either kill your entire team, or stall you out long enough for the Sky Smokes and Dark Covers to disappear, and your squad will be left vulnerable to the defending Operator.
Aggressive utilities are a great counter to vision-denying smokes. This gives yet another advantage to the defending team, even if the attacking team has all the utility that Valorant has to offer.
Riot truly needs to make both halves of the match equally balanced with more entry-kit utilities before the eSports scene properly takes off.