• eValorant is drawing some high-profile players away from games like CS and Overwatch
  • This reflects the confidence Valorant are building with the money they are putting into the game and their responsiveness to the community.
  • But Valorant will have to watch it doesn’t make similar mistakes in the medium and long-term. 

Before even going live, Valorant is already sending shockwaves through the gaming world, with pro’s leaving old favourites and recent releases alike to seek professional careers in a game they’ve only played in beta. It’s a significant risk for a brand new game, especially for pro’s who already have a significant background and income from other games. While part of this is clearly a vote of confidence in Riot’s financial commitment and early focus on player satisfaction, this arguably this has as much to do with community neglect and idiotic development in the games being abandoned. If your land has turned sour, you risk nothing by seeking more fertile ground.

CS and Overwatch pro’s turning to Valorant

Zellsis and Frekazoid, both former members of “Swole Patrol”, announced that they would be leaving the CS scene and switching to Valorant. Zellsis noted that the team had been looking for an Org to to represent them — providing the necessary financial backing and stability to devote time to training and team development — but that none had been forthcoming. Note to Valorant: esports grow from the bottom up, so building a community and guiding and funding smaller teams and players needs to be the focus; not big-money events with pre-existing streamers! Freakazoid was blunt in his assessment:

Pro-CS has been a closed shop for a while now, with the emergence of new teams a true rarity. Even when new teams did emerge, they normally had at least one old-timer, or else would quickly have their best players snatched up by the larger teams. Add to this that the best output came from community development (i.e. skins and maps designed by players) and you can understand why players seeking a future in esports have just had enough of CS.

But CS isn’t the only game losing players to a beta. ‘Sinatraa’ announced he would be leaving Overwatch in April and has already signed with the Sentinels Valorant team, stating that he had ”straight up just lost passion for the game”, and that he “wanted to do something I enjoy. Something new, fresh, exciting for me. Something I really wanted to do so I just took the leap”. It says something about Overwatch when your job is quite literally playing a game and you just plain hate it. I can’t be bothered to go into the issues with Overwtach, but these sentiments are mirrored by many. ShaDowBurn stated, “I stopped enjoying the game at some point,” Wow…

Why are pros switching to Valorant?

In this context, pros moving to more fertile ground starts to make a lot of sense. A frustrated community and a neglected, misguided e-sports scene already has everyone primed to jump ship. Throw into the mix a new game that promises a community focus, huge financial backing and addresses some of the worst criticisms of older games (e.g. crappy servers) and a mass exodus seems inevitable.

With that said, Valorant could easily go the way of other games if it doesn’t keep its eye on the ball, maintaing useful development and responding to the community it hopes to build. But even development isn’t everything: if Couterstrike were a child, Valve would would be facing a hundred year prison sentence for unheard of neglect, and yet it’s still just about here 20 years on because its fundamentals are just so damn perfect. Valorant are onto something by adopting many of these, but they still have much to prove!