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Valorant Pros Claim Riot Games is ‘Pandering’ to Casual Players with New Changes

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Riot Games is receiving a bit of backlash following the release of their latest patch as well as their Cypher changes with many VALORANT pros claiming that the company is “pandering” to the casual player base.

Below you can find the full Valorant 8.08 patch notes from Riot Games.

Agent Updates

Chamber

  • We’ve updated Chamber’s voice lines and added interaction lines with Reyna, Astra, and Omen.

Cypher

Since his updates in 7.09, we’ve been excited to see Cypher solidify a stronger spot on the Sentinel roster, but feel it’s pushed his stalling power further than we’d like for an Agent that specializes in global information. Additionally, we’ve seen play patterns around Spycam (E) that lack counterplay for the enemy team.

  • Updates to Cypher’s Trapwire (C) gives enemies more time to deal with it after it has been triggered while the reduction in slow duration provides those caught a slightly better chance to use movement to avoid death.
    • Trapwire (C)
      • Re-arm time increased 1 >>> 2s
      • Slow on Trapwire reduced 2 >>> 1.25s
  • We’ve seen it become common for Cyphers’ to hide Spycams (E) in the playspace and continually watch enemies without them knowing. We’ve added an audio telegraph for enemies who are being watched to provide those who are quietly moving a cue that they are being watched.
    • Spycam (E)
      • Enemies now hear looping audio when they are actively being watched by Cypher from within the Spycam (E).

Viper

As you have continued to improve leveraging Viper’s strengths, she’s grown into a dominant meta force and constant presence in pro play. With this update, we hope to solidify clear weaknesses that Viper has compared to her peers while still maintaining her unique identity as a Controller / Sentinel hybrid. You should feel that Viper has to commit to her positions and manage shorter individual up times per smoke use with her unique ability to control her smoke over time.

  • Reduction in total smoke uptime coupled with reduction in the cooldown of reactivating aim to reduce her total stalling uptime and push you to better manage your fuel. Increasing the minimum fuel to activate her smokes creates a larger window for enemies to attack when her fuel is fully drained.
  • Poison Cloud (Q) only being retrievable in the Buy Phase pushes you to make sharper calls of where you’ll place the ability each round and sharpen her identity of high influence in a highly committed area.
  • Reducing Snake Bite (C) to a single charge reduces how often Viper can use the ability to fill the gaps while her smokes are down and increases the importance of fuel management. The increase in duration ensures that a single Snake Bite (C) charge is lethal to all enemies that are in the acid for its full duration.

We messaged this out on socials but want to call out again that in 7.09 we unintentionally shipped some number changes to Viper’s fuel. For full visibility, you’ll see three numbers in some of the changes listed below: First will be before 7.09, second after 7.09, and the final is the update for 8.08.

  • Toxic Screen (E) and Poison Cloud (Q)
    • Max uptime on each individual smoke source reduced 15 >>> 13.5 >>> 12s
    • Minimum fuel needed to activate smoke increased 20% >>> 30%
    • Cooldown on re-activating smokes after putting them down reduced 8 >>> 5.5 >>> 5s
  • Poison Cloud (Q)
    • Can now only be picked up during the Buy Phase
  • Snake Bite (C)
    • Charges reduced 2 >>> 1
    • Price increased 200 >>> 300
    • Duration increased 5.5 >>> 6.5s

Many pros and coaches aren’t excited about the changes as they feel it makes the game easier and scales back it’s depth.

“I’m disappointed with the Cypher cam nerf. Hidden cams were interesting to play with and against. Seems like this change just removes a lot of the ability’s depth,” Sentinels Valorant head coach Adam ‘kaplan’ Kaplan said in a post on social media.

“Riot nerfing a sentinel agent every two patch might as well just remove this role,” Sentinels’ IGL Amine ‘johnqt’ Ouarid said of the changes. “Also that camera nerf is the most casual friendly change ever and ruins the whole concept of the ability.”

“That Spycam change has to be the most pandering to casual players I’ve ever seen in a patch though,” Oxygen Esports Valorant pro Michael ‘dapr’ Gulino commented.

Whether or not Riot Games makes any changes to respond to the negative feedback remains to be seen.

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