On May 12th, the online beta for the trending tactical-shooter Valorant made by Riot Games went down for maintenance in order to apply the game’s latest patch and update. This update is one of the first to come to the game during its life in Beta, and the update specifically targeted the playable characters in the game. A widely-used utility character, the healer Sage received a number of nerfs to her toolkit, including a decreased duration in her “Slow Orb” ability that now lasts seven seconds as opposed to nine and has seen a decrease in its effectiveness from 65 to 50 percent. The patch also followed a previous Sage nerf from late April, making it so that players could no longer jump through Sage’s slow orb, a tactic that previously countered her slowing ability, and Sage would no longer be alerted of enemies stuck in her ice.
Along with Sage, a number of other characters also received changes to their abilities and how they are able to get them. Due to the power of the abilities, Riot raised the cost of a number of abilities for Sage, Brimstone, Phoenix, and Raze. Brimstone and Phoenix both received higher credit prices for their “flash” stun abilities, while Raze received higher prices for her satchel ability. Overall, this nerf has made a lot of meta-heavy characters’ abilities more costly, forcing the player to be more cautious with their purchases during the game. The developers of Valorant spoke about the issues of the game they were hearing from players, stating that Sage was one of the characters who was previously “too OP” and needed some changes. “We all know Sage is OP, we’ve decided to try to reduce some of her stopping power while still allowing her to fulfill her roles as the premier staller in Valorant,” Riot said.
While many characters received price changes or slight changes to their abilities, no characters have been re-worked for now and the maps and gameplay are unchanged. The UI and character portraits for in-game lobbies also received a graphic change and made character icons more apparent during character selection. There were also minor changes in barriers and positioning for maps regarding how players are able to move and infiltrate after leaving their spawns, a change especially seen on the close-quarters map Split.