No, the buying round hasn't started yet. Riot's new Counter-Strike-with-superpowers shooter Valorant kicked off its closed beta yesterday and, suffice to say, a few people wanted in. A couple dozen, really. Few thousand, tops. Million? Oh. But even as they work out the kinks in doling out beta keys, Riot have warned against taking shortcuts, booting key resellers from the beta to make room for patient players who've played by the rules.
Right now, the only legitimate way to snag a spot in the Valorant beta is by tuning into select Twitch streams and waiting for a key to drop into your inbox. It's a tactic that seems to be paying off, too, having already smashed Fortnite's all-time record for concurrent viewers on the site.
But I can see the frustration in leaving streams running for hours. Yes, it's a pain, but maybe don't go rushing out to give strangers money for keys - Riot have made it quite clear that those probably won't last long.
We've banned a pile of VALORANT closed beta account sellers and botters to free up more entitlements. Tracking more. Don't buy accounts, you might lose them!
— VALORANT (@PlayVALORANT) April 9, 2020
Granted, yesterday's beta was plagued by server issues, causing Riot to temporarily disable beta drops. They've been turned back on today, but expect this trend of key-culling to continue as the Valorant closed beta expands to include regions beyond Europe and North America.
Once you're in the game, though, you can finally join the hot discourse of whether Valorant is, well, any good. Contributor Cian Maher's been playing it for a bit - and while he felt it was a "perfectly acceptable shooter with tense gunfights and cleverly-shaped arenas", it struggles to find an identity outside of "CS:GO with an Overwatch reskin".
Staff writer Matt, for his part, thinks that's bullshit. He reckons Valorant makes a compelling case for a hybrid of CS:GO and Overwatch, with all that wizard guff only amplifying the tension and strategy of lethal, CS-style gunfights. "Guns are better with wizards," he argues. "I relish every chance to outsmart rather than outshoot, and Valorant gives me enough of them that I can see myself playing for a long time to come."
If you're in Matt's camp, you'll be happy to know our guides-maestro Ollie has all the info on getting up and running in Valorant, including this nifty pointer on getting to grips with Valorant's many guns.
I'm still trying to work out where I stand on it - a tough feat in part because I haven't yet got beta access. Just sitting here, really, thinkin' about how hard I fell off Overwatch and how CS:GO's map tools have always been far more appealing than the game itself.
Can you slide on your arse, Valorant? Apex lets me slide on my arse.