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OverwatchJun 3, 2020 10:00 am CT

How to improve at Valorant as an Overwatch player

If you’re an Overwatch player looking to get into Valorant, you might have a long journey ahead of you — especially if you’re not familiar with more traditional shooters like CS:GO. But if you’re willing to dive in now that Riot’s game has officially launched, you’ll likely find something to like, or — at the very least — a good understanding of why Valorant has rocketed its way to the top of everyone’s minds.

Before you do anything, understand that Valorant is a much slower-paced game than Overwatch. It’s inherent in the game’s design. It’s still team- and round-based, but abilities come online fewer times, and you can’t even move and shoot at the same time properly. Those might sound inconsequential, but it completely changes the rhythm of the game. Think of how often you’re running while shooting in Overwatch. Everything is always moving in Blizzard’s game, but in Riot’s game you need to play cautiously and double-check your corners.

The easiest thing you can do to get started is to look through the agents and pick which one is the hottest looks the most cool and try them out in the game’s Open Range or various practice modes. You’ll want to get a feel for each agent’s abilities so that you know both what you’ll be using yourself and what you’ll be up against. Don’t freak out if it’s all overwhelming, though — you’ll learn what the abilities do over time and just knowing how to aim and shoot will get you pretty far. In this way, Valorant is very similar to Overwatch. Having some basic knowledge of everyone’s unique attacks will help you out in real games.

Slow down

From there, you’ll want to focus on slowing down. Overwatch players are very used to flying, jumping, and sprinting to traverse the map and get eliminations. Valorant is a game about walking through the map to dampen your footsteps and creeping around corners with your gun sights pointed at where a potential enemy could do the same to you. Firefights — not necessarily team fights! — can last seconds in this game. Most of the weapons and abilities will completely down someone in an instant. Don’t expect to be healed through incoming damage. Agents like Sage primarily heal allies up in between engagements.

Other than sticking with your team and watching over angles where the enemy could ambush you, Valorant is about pressuring and moving through lanes on the map so that you can successfully plant or defuse the Spike — the game’s sole objective. An aggressive Overwatch play usually consists of someone taking a surprise angle on an enemy team or teammates combining their ultimates. In Valorant, the most impactful plays are using your abilities to pin enemies down or funnel them into your line of sight. Because of the game’s pre-round buying system for guns and abilities, you can expect to win or lose some rounds quickly and make a comeback later on.

Stay alert

Valorant is a completely different beast than Overwatch. It’s a game about lightning-fast reflexes and decision-making. And while there are several heroes in the Overwatch roster that require that, not everyone is used to playing characters that can crumple in seconds or die from a split-second choice gone wrong. Valorant is what it’s like to play Tracer in modern Overwatch where loads of abilities and weapons can take her out instantly. But don’t let that dissuade you from playing — you and your team have the same level of strength over the enemy team. You just need to play with that level of lethality in mind.

Now is the best time to start playing Valorant. The game has freshly launched and will surely have tons of new players that also haven’t played a game like it before. You should be matched with and against players of equal skill level unlike a battle royale game, so nothing should feel incredibly unfair. Take your time, pay attention to where your team is and where you think the enemy team is, and you’ll do pretty well. Good luck out there!

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