According to the latest patch notes, ranked matchmaking has been added to Valorant, but we can't actually join a ranked match yet. We'll have to "wait a little before it goes live," says Riot. I'm not sure why Riot announced that a competitive mode has been added to the game if we can't access it yet, but I suspect it'll show up soon.
Update: Maybe very soon. It could happen this week or even today, according to Riot developer Nicholas Wu Smith.
That aside, there are lots of other changes in the latest Valorant patch that do take effect now. Omen has been tweaked a little, for one:
- Omen now immediately becomes vulnerable and no longer appears dark after he leaves his alternate shadow form
- The attenuation radius of the arrival sound on Omen's From the Shadows has been reduced to 2250.
Breaking this down: When Omen uses his From the Shadows ultimate to teleport, he appears in a new location in his shadow form, which you can shoot to send him back to where he came from. What wasn't clear, says Riot, was his transition between shadow form and flesh. Now it should be more obvious when his teleport is finished and he can be killed, and an "invulnerability bug" has been accounted for.
To make up for the slight nerf, the sound of Omen's teleportation doesn't carry as far. "We’re trying to give him some spook back since if you do find him, you should now have him dead to rights," says Riot.
Beyond Omen, this is a pretty big patch. When I spoke to Valorant's lead designer a couple weeks ago, he said that the beta had revealed "a ton of exploits," and plastering over map holes is another focus of this update. It brings "multiple fixes to the geometry on Haven, Bind, and Split to fix exploits and help optimize gameplay" as well as "more consistent" surfaces on each of the three maps.
One specific change is that a tiny gap at the top of the double doors on Haven has been covered by curtains. Here are a few more patch notes that caught my eye:
- New directional damage indicator visual.
- New low health and low ammo visuals.
- Voice activity is now shown above allies’ heads.
- Added color to spike icon above ally’s head to make it easier to see.
- Players who abandon matchmade games, or dodge agent selects, will now experience penalties that prevent them from queuing for a period of time. Frequent offenders will experience higher queue time penalties.
- Added “Ghost cheat” as an option to custom games with cheats enabled, allowing you to fly around the map in no-clip mode.
- Added the ability to abandon a multiplayer Custom Game. Using the “Leave match” button in the ESC menu will allow you to permanently leave the match without penalty. Leaving the custom game in any other way (exit client, alt+f4, etc.) will still allow you to return to the match.
- Updated the audio occlusion system to help players better differentiate audio distancing cues. For example, Haven B to A short, you should perceive sounds from their correct distance and not as if they were right next to you.
A couple of Phoenix and Viper bugs have also been fixed, as well as some rare bugs that I wish I'd had the chance to see for myself:
- Fixed a rare issue where players’ weapons would float in front of them; too spooky.
- Fixed a bug where item UI prompt in the game world would appear to block bullets.
- Fixed a rare bug where either team could win a round by elimination on the same frame that the spike was defused, granting two points for that round.
I really like the idea of an FPS where the UI can block bullets, but alas, that's won't be Valorant. You can read about all of the changes, additions, and bug fixes in today's patch notes.
Valorant is in closed beta, but based on the rate my friends are joining in, the invites seem to be going out at a decent clip. (See 'How to get into the Valorant beta' for details on that.) Riot has said previously that Valorant will exit closed beta this summer, so there shouldn't be too long to wait now whether or not you're in the beta.