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How to get into the Valorant beta

(Image credit: Riot Games)

You can often buy your way into videogame betas by pre-ordering or purchasing a 'founder's pack,' but that's not the case when it comes to Riot's upcoming CS:GO-like shooter. The only way for most to get into the Valorant closed beta is through random selection, and the only way to become eligible for selection is to watch streams of the game on Twitch.

Here are the steps you need to follow to give yourself a chance at Valorant closed beta access:

  1. If you don't have one, make a Riot account (opens in new tab).
  2. Link your Riot account to your Twitch account (opens in new tab) (Under 'Connections' on Twitch).
  3. Watch any Valorant stream from any streamer, not just one with Drops enabled.
  4. Hope you're randomly selected to receive access.

With so many people watching Valorant streams (around one million at the time of writing), your chance of getting in is probably pretty slim right now, though Riot did increase its server capacity by another 25 percent (opens in new tab) on April 15. 25 percent of what, we don't know, but we do know that Riot doesn't want to add more players than it thinks it can reliably provide good service to. 

"We want to support a stable, competitive, high-fidelity gameplay experience above all, even if that means limiting the number of people we can support for now," the developers wrote (opens in new tab), emphasis theirs. "We can’t and won’t undermine gameplay quality for the sake of getting everyone in."

While Riot isn't telling us everything, it has laid out a few guidelines that can help you be efficient about your efforts. Here are the details:

Reach Immortal rank with these Valorant guides

(Image credit: Riot)

Valorant release date (opens in new tab): When will it fully launch?
Valorant characters (opens in new tab): All the hero abilities
Valorant ranks (opens in new tab): How you'll be progressing
Valorant system requirements (opens in new tab): Can you run it?
Valorant error codes (opens in new tab): How to solve them
Valorant tips (opens in new tab): Get more wins
Valorant guns (opens in new tab): Damage, recoil patterns, and more

  • You have to watch streams for about two hours to be eligible for a beta drop.
  • Your total view time across multiple streams is what's taken into account.
  • You do not have to be actively watching to get a drop. If you're eligible, your Twitch account will be in the hat every time there's a drawing, even if you're offline.
  • Watching for longer than two hours increases your chance of getting a drop, but at a certain point continuing to watch will have "diminishing returns."

Without knowing the exact number of hours it takes to hit that point of diminishing returns—Riot is being annoyingly strategic with what information it withholds—we can't map out a perfect strategy. Maybe five hours is enough to max out your drop chances, or maybe it's 20 hours, or maybe even more.

At least we know that every eligible Twitch account is considered in the drawings, so you aren't missing an opportunity by closing the streams to, say, go to bed.

I'd expect more and more beta testers to be added as Riot ramps up to full release, so bigger waves of drops may be on the way. But we don't really know—Riot is playing it by ear, to some degree. Unless you want to watch hours of Valorant streams, my advice is to just hit the minimum two hours and then check in on your Twitch drops now and then to see if the fates have blessed you.

One thing you definitely shouldn't do is buy a Valorant beta account. Riot's looking out for bots and account sellers and revoking their access, so don't waste your money. When Valorant launches later this summer, it'll be free-to-play.

If you do make it into the beta, we've got some Valorant tips to check out, as well as a guide to all of Valorant's guns and their damage values

Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley alongside Apple and Microsoft, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on the early personal computers 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. After work, he practices boxing and adds to his 1,200 hours in Rocket League.