Riot Games’ competitive shooter seems to already be under a bit of fire. With some information released earlier today, it was said that the game would launch with 10 characters. However, the problem inherently lies in the system of unlocking those characters.
Looking back at League of Legends, players have the option of grinding out champions using “blue essence”, an in-game currency. Should they not have the time (or the effort), an alternative exists where players can purchase champions with premium credits instead. Like League of Legends, it seems Valorant will be following the same progression system with their character unlocks.
In-game monetization is always a headache to players, especially when there’s a competitive aspect to it behind a paywall. Although a healthy system will likely be in place, it’s almost always going to be scrutinized by players who think of these “shortcuts” as unfair. To some extent, this may be the case, especially when Valorant is seemingly being marketed as the CS:GO/Overwatch killer in the competitive shooter market.
Another aspect of in-game monetization comes in the form of a battle pass launching alongside the game as well. It is unclear what exactly will be in these passes as of this moment, but they’ll more than likely be composed of cosmetic items.
Will this hinder VALORANT?
Odds are that Riot Games will undoubtedly reevaluate their system. The “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude may not be the best way to approach progression within the game. According to an interview with IGN, Executive Producer Anna Donion described the process of procuring new characters as outlined above.
It is also unclear which of the already released characters will be behind said paywall/progression system. These characters are named Phoenix, Jett, Viper, Sova, Cypher, Brimstone, Sage, and Omen, each of which have unique abilities and utility. There are still two “agents” left to be teased before the full starting roster will be released.
As it stands, VALORANT will still probably garner much more attention over the next few months. The progression system may or may not be a turn off for many gamers as the system has been in place since the inception of League of Legends. It will be an interesting case to see how the community responds to this, seeing as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch (it’s direct competitors), have no “pay-to-win” aspects within them.
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