Valorant might look quite a bit like Overwatch, but it's going a different route with it's business model. It's free-to-play, of course, and while it is fuelled by microtransactions, it's at least doing away with loot boxes.
Sprays and weapon skins, the confirmed cosmetics so far, will be available to purchase directly from the in-game store or through the battle pass, so while you'll still need to drop some cash or do a bit of grinding, you'll at least know what you're investing your time and money in.
Valorant executive producer Anna Donlon also told Polygon that the weapon skins would be upgradable, and that the game boasts a "couple of different progression systems." For now, though, they'll have to remain a mystery.
You'll be able to give your weapons a makeover, but Valorant isn't launching with additional character skins. Riot's worried about skins making characters harder to recognise, giving players a potential edge just because of some cosmetics.
"I think [character skins] would have to be in a way that there’s absolutely nothing to impact the gameplay,” Donlon said. "It’ll be narrow. I think there’s a way to do that. And those are things that we’re interested in exploring."
The absence of loot boxes isn't a big surprise. Their popularity is dwindling, with only 8 percent of developers in a recent GDC survey reporting that they're making a game with loot box mechanics. They're even getting removed from games—Rocket League recently changed its whole economy to get rid of them.
Valorant is due out this summer.
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Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.