So Valorant’s big Twitch takeover during the lockdown is old news now…
I got into the beta pretty early. Sadly I didn’t have a lot of free time to actually play right after I got in. I did get 3 full matches in during my first week with a key. I realize for most gamers that isn’t a lot, but the first to 12 format is still a pretty big time commitment for me right now. I loved watching the streams waiting for my key. I liked the feel of the game when I got in. I actually felt like I could contribute on my team, partly because the large influx of new players included a lot of League players and others who had no Counter Strike experience. It also helps that most of the abilities are way easier to be effective with than Counter Strike grenades.
In the end though the hype died down rather quickly and I never went back. I think, for multiplayer games, I need to see that streamer support to really engage these days. That’s kind of weird, but I really like watching better than playing for high skill games like this. Then if I see something cool on a stream I might hop on the game to try it.
But even more important than that, I realized that everything that excited me about Valorant was something from Counter Strike: diverse movement options, interesting weapons, rewarding methodical play. If there’s one thing I’m grateful to Valorant for, it’s that Valorant convinced me to fire up CS for the first time in something like 3 years. To be fair, I haven’t participated in an actual match since returning, but I basically never did that before either. Right now I’m just playing Arms Race over and over, and having a fantastic time! I started watching some of the remaining dedicated CS streamers again as well.
This sentiment, that the best thing about Valorant is what it is doing for Counter Strike, is something that I have seem reflected in the opinions of many streamers, bloggers, and journalists. Many people are dusting CS off after playing Valorant for a bit. A few streamers like fl0m have mentioned hoping that the added competition from Valorant will push Valve to put more resources into CS. I have to agree! We pretty much immediately got the Valorant crosshair copy feature in CS. Maybe eventually we will get improvements to buying for teammates as well. I’m not sure that I want to see pings added. I think needing to practice callouts is an important part of the game.
In the end, I think I really just want to have at least one first person shooter that I’m a bit active on. I’ve had one for nearly my entire life, starting with Golden Eye in 1997, but for the past 3 years I have not. Counter Strike fills that role nicely and it has perks that Valorant does not. Resellable skins is actually a big one. I got a $10 skin in the ~12 hours I’ve played since returning. Plus all my existing skins are still there and I’m pretty attached to them. I also like Counter Strike’s art more, even the new character skins, which I hadn’t heard of despite keeping one eye on the competitive scene.
So, for now, I’ll be running a round or two of Arms Race after work most days and leaving my Valorant account untouched. I did just buy the Masterchief Collection in Steam Summer Sale though. So we’ll see if I get back to my roots as a Halo 2 player.