Here's how to read Valorant's hit effects following the latest patch

(Image credit: Riot Games)
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Early in August, Riot posted a long and insightful blog post (opens in new tab) about hit registration in Valorant and the ways in which our perception of what happens on the screen can differ from what happened on the server. In today's Valorant update (opens in new tab), the developer has introduced a few tweaks to the effects players see when they take a shot in the hope of reducing misunderstandings. 

Here are the major changes:

  • When you hit an enemy, the hit effect will now move with the location on their body that you hit rather than appearing suspended in space. That way if you hit someone in the chest while they're in the process of crouching, the hit effect won't end up over their head, making it look like you actually scored a headshot that didn't register. Instead, it will move downward with their chest as they crouch.
  • A new client-side "small spark VFX" will now appear where your shots land, and will not move, so that you can adjust your aim. Note that even if this spark effect appears over an enemy, it does not necessarily indicate that you hit them because it's client-side, and the server is the arbiter of truth. The larger hit VFX that now moves with the enemy is how you know when you've scored a hit.
  • The headshot VFX has been made smaller so that it's easier to track players through it.

You can read the full explanation of the hit VFX changes in the patch notes (opens in new tab), but the important thing to know is that landed shots will now create a visual effect that moves with the body, while the new small spark effect only tells you where your shots are landing in the client.

The patch is a big one, and also includes gun and agent changes. Viper is the big winner: Her Toxic Screen ability can now be placed through spawn barriers during the buy phase and goes up faster, and the area of Viper's Pit now shows up on teammates' minimaps. Additionally, Decay damage from her smoke abilities doesn't affect allies anymore.

The big nerf is to Sage's healing, which now heals for 60 HP instead of 100. And when Sage heals herself, it now takes twice as long. Riot's explanation is straightforward if not as insightful as its hit registration deep dive: It wants to see less healing per round, and to "disincentivize Sage from self healing." Sage's Barrier Orb got a bit better, if it's any consolation. 

Killjoy also took a hit: Nanoswarm now has a delay before inflicting damage, does 40 instead of 60 damage, and got new effects to make the grenade easier to see. Her Turret got better, though.

On the quality-of-life side of things, you can now re-queue in competitive when a match starts lopsided (eg, 5v4), and you can hide your name from non-party members as a way to avoid harassment. 

That's just a summary of the patch notes, which you can read in full on the Valorant blog (opens in new tab)

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the rise of personal computers, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early PCs his parents brought home. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, Bushido Blade (yeah, he had Bleem!), and all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now. In 2006, Tyler wrote his first professional review of a videogame: Super Dragon Ball Z for the PS2. He thought it was OK. In 2011, he joined PC Gamer, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.