16th July 2020 – 1;45pm
Since Valorant launch, two agents have been in players' crosshairs: Sage and Raze. If the two characters have already been changed, it's not enough to satisfy the community. Two other Agents, however, stand out due to their absence. Viper and Breach are underrespresented at all levels of play, which is a real problem. During a livestream on his personal channel, Riot Morello, character designer at Riot, admitted sharing these point of views. He explains that Riot is working on changes to Viper, Breach, Raze and Sage.
Viper and Breach have always been considered as niche Agents who could be very powerful in good hands. The problem is that we generally prefer to select reliable Agents, who are easily efficient, rather than having to deploy enormous efforts to achieve the same result.
Regarding this, Viper and Breach are a little different. The first had had several buffs and changes in the hope of making her viable, but without success. Breach, on his side, seemed to find his place in different compositions thanks to his unique team play potential, but he ended up sinking at the bottom of the pick rate, alongside Viper.
Riot Morello confirms that these two Agents deserve big buffs. The design and balancing teams are working internally on different solutions that woul allow this unloved couple to find their place in Valorant.
Since her release, Raze has been seen as an Agent far too easy to play compared to how powerful she is. Her bombs are inexpensive, powerful, and cover a large area that prevents opponents from dodging most of the time.
This last point bothers Morello. His teams are working to find a way to make her abilities, including her rocket, easier to counter. This is difficult to change because, as an Ultimate, this ability has to remain powerful and fun to use for Raze players.
Regarding Raze, it's interesting to note that the discontent of solo players surrounds her, while the Agent is only rarely selected in competition. It's then probably more of a feeling of power problem than a real problem of power.
We've been talking about it for a long time, but Sage's omnipresence is very difficult to manage for both players and Riot. Sage has been nerfed in all the patches applied to the games between its beta launch and Patch 1.02. And even if teams like TSM win without picking Sage, they're ultimately countered by a strategy involving Sage.
According to Morello, Sage would require " a lot of work", with an emphasis on the "much". He straight says that " Sage is out of control". We could imagine thata rework of the character would be in the pipeline.
The problem wouldn't be her ability to heal. We shared this idea in our analysis of Sage's problems. The concern is that she's an all-round Agents and that she can't miss her abilities. They will always have a huge impact in game.
Regarding Sage, Morello didn't provide any information on what will be changed in the future, or when we can expect these changes.
These confessions by Riot are still interesting. For two months now, the company has been defending the two characters by multiplying the explanations behind their design choices. Ultimately, it seems that the collective experience of the players and the many feedbacks from the community have finally highlighted their shortcomings in the eyes of the developers.
We can't wait to see what will happen and if it can lead to a big change of the meta!