Everything you need to know to get off to a good start in Riot Games' tactical shooter.
Valorant is the newest shooter from Riot Games. Unlike Call of Duty or Overwatch, Valorant is a tactical shooter, closer to Counter-Strike. That means accuracy is key, teamwork is critical and every bullet has the potential to be lethal. If you've never played a tactical shooter before, or just want a little refresher on what separates Valorant from the rest of the shooter genre, we've got a few tips to help you before you dive into the game for good.
Valorant basic game rules
Each match has two teams of five players. Before a match begins, each player selects a character (called an Agent), each with a unique set of skills. Each team can only have one of each agent. Matches have rounds, and the first team to win 13 rounds wins the match.
A team starts as an attacker and a team as a defender. After 12 rounds, the two teams switch sides. The attackers' objective is to plant a bomb (called a Spike) in one of several locations around the map. The Defenders' job is to defend, either deactivating the Spike after being activated by the attackers or preventing the Attackers from planting the Spike within the round's time limit. Either team can also win a round by eliminating all other players on the enemy team, as there are no revives (with the exception of Sage's ultimate) during a round.
At the start of each round, all players in the match will receive money (called Creds), which they can use during the Buy Phase to buy weapons, armor, and abilities. The amount of Creds players receive is determined by their performance in the previous round. Actions such as planting Spike, getting kills, and winning or losing a round will grant extra Creds.
Tip 1: Walk, don't run!
Every time you run in Valorant (which is the default movement speed), your footsteps make noise and any nearby enemies can hear you. The sound when running is so loud that even a small circle appears on your minimap to show how far the sound of your footsteps is traveling. The solution to all this noise is to walk instead of running by holding down the Shift key. Walking is slower, of course, but it also makes you more accurate if you need to shoot quickly before you can stop – and makes it impossible to hear, allowing you and the rest of your team to charge into enemy positions.
You should be walking almost everywhere you go in Valorant unless:
- (A) you know that there are no enemies near you;
- (B) the enemy already knows where you are;
- (C) you need to get somewhere quickly
If you're sure enemies aren't around and you need to move quickly, switch to the knife as it's faster than running around holding a gun.
Tip 2: Don't run and shoot at the same time
With the walking tip in mind, you should already know that accurate shooting and running don't mix within Valorant. So try to avoid it at all costs. If you're running and you see an enemy you want to shoot, try to stop moving completely before shooting. It takes a while for your aim to hit, but as you get used to it, you'll get a better idea of when your shot will be accurate and when it won't. The reticle of the crosshairs growing and shrinking will give you a hint of its accuracy.
It takes practice to break this habit, but running and shooting at the same time, and then wondering why your bullets didn't hit, is probably the most frequent mistake new Valorant players will make.
How about walking and shooting? When you're walking – again, holding down the Shift key by default – your first shots will remain accurate, as if you were standing still. So if you're walking and you see an enemy, you can start shooting right away. But after the first few shots, your aim will start to dodge the target more aggressively than if you were standing still.
Tip 3: Know when to saveRead also
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When you're new to Valorant, it can be tempting to buy weapons and abilities before each round, spending whatever Creds you have. But you shouldn't always do that. Instead, you can save your Creds for better buys, syncing this with your team to have better weaponry in a future round. For example: You probably won't be able to win a round if you're the only one on your team who bought a weapon and everyone else is stuck with the basic pistol. But if you save up for a round or two and allow your teammates to get some Creds as well, then the five of you with weapons and armor will have a better chance of winning this round – and taking that gear forward.
Whenever you survive a round, you'll keep the weapons you ended the round with - so if someone drops a better weapon, grab it before the round ends. If you die, you'll need to buy new weapons regardless of whether your team wins or loses the round. Abilities will carry over from round to round if you don't use them, and any armor that isn't destroyed will also carry with you to the next round (again, if you survive).
There are a few different types of rounds you should think about when you start playing Valorant. You can let your teammates know what you're planning to do each round via voice chat, or you can use one of Riot's included communication buttons in the buy menu that say things like "Save," or you can let your teammates know. team know you have a lot of money.
Everyone buys very little, hoping to save up for the next round of purchases. This could mean you don't buy anything, or you just buy a pistol and a skill.
Complete buy rounds
Everyone on the team buys weapons – usually rifles or sniper rifles – as well as armor and any skills needed.
Force buy round
You don't have enough for a Full Buy Round, but you and your team buy anyway, getting the best weapons and armor you can. You can do this to catch the enemy off guard or because you need a win here to start a comeback and can't wait any longer for money.
Partial purchase rounds
This means that one or two people on the team can buy a weapon, but everyone guarantees that they will have enough Creds for a Complete Purchase Round in the next round.
Tip 4: Buy Armor
Weapons are the most exciting thing to buy in Valorant, but weapons are only good if you're alive to use them. That's where the armor comes in. Buying armor doesn't seem like the coolest thing to do, but it's almost always the right decision. Without armor, your 100 health won't last long - a bullet or two can kill you.
Armor should always be part of your Complete Purchase Rounds, and you should prioritize it over the best weapons if you can't afford both. There are two types of armor: one that costs 400 Creds and gives you 25 extra health, and one that costs 1.000 Creds and gives you 50 extra health. Both types of armor absorb 70% of incoming damage.
Tip 5: Keep your aim at the height of the opponent's head
The less you need to move the mouse, the faster you can aim and shoot. When walking, you should always try to keep your aim at the same height as an enemy's head would be. Most players – in all shooters, not just Valorant – have a tendency to keep their crosshairs pointed at the ground. But if you run into someone while aiming down, you'll need to shift your aim up. If your goal is already in their head, it's a smaller move to find the sweet spot, and therefore much faster. A good way to practice is to keep your weapon level with your allies' heads before each round begins. This provides a good starting point to get used to.
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