Episode 2: Act II went live on Tuesday, Feb. 2. This update has players focused on the new agent, Astra, but also includes adjustments to the ranking system and adds voice over that is important for VALORANT players to know.
Before Patch 2.04, when moving to a next act, competitive players would have to complete multiple matches all over to determine their rank. The new update lets players have their rank determined after just one placement match if they already had a placement in the episode before.
This lets competitive players continue the grind to increase their rank throughout the episode instead of having them start from scratch each time. The patch notes state that “rank will no longer be lowered at the start of an Act”. This is surely a sigh of relief to competitive players.
Players who are new to competitive VALORANT matches in Act II will be required to play five placement matches to determine their initial rank. That is less time than previous rules, so players will really have to give it their all if they are aiming to skip some of the lower ranks like iron and bronze.
Changes to Radiant
The title of Radiant is now even more impressive. Players will have to achieve a certain level of RR before ascending to Radiant and they must also be within the top 500 players of their respective region in order to hold onto the Radiant title:
“Radiant will be more challenging to earn. You must achieve a certain level of RR before being able to ascend to Radiant. This is adjusted per region based on rank population size and RR distribution:”
Regional requirements for Radiant cut off:
LATAM & KR: 100 RR
BR: 200 Rank Rating
NA & APAC: 300 RR
EU: 400 RR
This decision by VALORANT developers lets gameplay for Radiant players to stay competitive. Many Radiant players before this patch could work up to this title and then walk away knowing they were on the top. By limiting the title to the top 500 players of each region, the competition does not end at the Radiant title if players want to keep their rank. They will have to continue the grind at the top level to ensure that their Radiant title is kept through the act.
No More Smurfing for Friends
Smurfing, even for “good” intentions such as wanting to play with your friends is not fun in competitive gameplay. VALORANT developers recognized that smurfing was popular in competitive matches because friends of different ranks still wanted to play with each other.
In Patch 2.04, the lower ranks now have a larger match-making pool to help limit the efforts of friends smurfing in order to keep playing together. Developers feel that at the lower ranks it should not be too difficult to ensure that the matches are still balanced.
As the ranks get higher into platinum, the matchmaking pool shrinks into a tighter disparity to “ensure they continue to maintain balanced matches and protect the competitive integrity of the higher ranks”.
This update will combat a lot of smurfing that happens because of friends with rank disparities. The bigger pool, especially in the lower ranks, will let friends grind competitive matches with each other and hopefully help them improve, rather than rely on smurfing to continue to play.
Tactical Voice Over
Patch 2.04 also includes a new tactical voice over. This addition is not meant to work instead of using voice comms, but to work together to ensure team clarity when communicating. Chat in comms will be layered over the volume of the tactical voice over which shows the importance of team communication even over additional help from developers. More context has been added to agent lines, so that map regions will be detailed after cues like “spike spotted”.
For players who rely on the chat window, there is also an option to have these tactical voice over messages pop up in the chat window. In order to toggle this, players must look under accessibility options.
These changes are sure to help players that compete at the lower ranks, upper ranks, and even unranked. Smurfing is sure to be less common now that the matchmaking pool is more open. Tactical voice over will also help in both unranked and ranked matches with teammates who are not as inclined to be active over voice comms.
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