Valorant Episode 3 Act 1 arrives tonight, and it comes with tweaks to almost all the agents, as well as changes to gun and ability prices that will likely shake up the game's economy for the foreseeable future. Before we get to that, however, the biggest news is that the new ability-suppressing robot KAY/O is joining the roster. Apex Legends has a cool killer robot, Overwatch has a pretty floaty robot - it was about time Riot's tactical shooter joined the club.
KAY/O's unique ability is a suppression blade, which is basically a cool knife he can throw at or next to an enemy to stop them from being able to use abilities. He also has a flashbang, a frag grenade and an ultimate that pulses suppression energy from his body, stopping enemies in range from using their powers.
It's an interesting idea for a character, and I imagine he'll work somewhat similarly to Revenant in Apex, letting you suppress the powers of some of the more oppressive characters (I'm looking at you, Reyna). However, the addition of KAY/O also comes with some curious tweaks to other characters - lots of abilities are going up in price, plus Breach and Skye are losing a flash (bringing them down to just two each, which is honestly pretty great, it's nice being able to see).
Breach is being buffed a little too, with his Fault Line ability and ultimate being made wider so you can catch more enemies in them. Astra is getting the most nerfs this time around though, with her Nova Pulse and Gravity Well cooldown times being doubled.
Every agent has had some sort of alteration to their kit, be that different cooldown times or ultimate ability point costs. They've all had at least one ability go up in price too, which could change the game's economy and meta considerably. There are so many changes here, I think this new Episode will take some getting used to.
As for weapon updates, again, there are a lot. Almost every gun's walking and running inaccuracy has been changed to make it harder to hit targets while moving (given how many times one of my mates used to yell "they got a running headshot on me!", this one is a very welcome change). Some gun prices have been decreased slightly too, which I'll pop in a list below to save this getting messy:
- Shorty: from 200 to 150
- Stinger: from 1100 to 950
- Bucky: from 900 to 850
- Marshal: from 1000 to 950
- Ares: from 1600 to 1550
- Operator: from 5000 to 4700
The trend of guns being lowered in price while agent abilities are being made more expensive is a curious one, because you'd think that would disincentive using abilities more often - at a time when they're adding a character that disables abilities anyways. I hope this doesn't start to make Valo feel more like CS:GO. Abilities are the fun part! Let me use them!
On top of all those changes, the devs say competitive matchmaking is improved, you'll see more detailed info in the killfeed (your kills will be highlighted, for example), you'll get extra XP when playing with pals, and, as always, a bunch of bug fixes are being implemented. Catch the full (and very lengthy) patch notes on the Valorant website.
Valorant's new Acts always drop in the early hours for us here in the UK, so bear in mind the servers will be offline for maintenance at 4am BST (8pm PT). I'll absolutely be asleep by then (I like Valorant, but I don't like it that much), but I'll meet you gamers for some robo-brawling tomorrow.