Riot Games has announced that Valorant will launch on June 2nd, which is a lot sooner than many expected.
Players are excited, as those who do not have access to the beta will finally be able to play the hottest new game in the esports world, and the full launch should kickstart the esports scene that has been growing during the beta.
But there is one sticking point, and that is that one of the core fundamentals of any shooter, hit registration, is not working as intended right now, and as a result, the launch should be delayed until this is fixed and tested.
For the most part, the beta has been going well, players generally seem happy and Riot has been on top of fixing issues. The big 0.5 patch that launched for the beta fixed many complaints players had, and all was well in the world.
But it also introduced some issues with hit registration, the system that decides if a bullet hit an opponent, where it hit an opponent and the results of that action.
The biggest issue seems to be that the headshot animation will be activated, but often the shot will only be counted as a body shot, doing less damage.
This, of course, is a big issue for high-level players. With the Vandal being a one-shot kill if it hits an opponent’s head, many will see the headshot animation and move to the next target.
But with the current issues surrounding hit registration players are being misled by false headshot animations, and that can ruin matches.
The fact that Riot is now launching Valorant without testing any kind of fix for this issue is quite concerning. The team has announced that there will be no more patches for the beta.
And while they have said they are working on a fix for hit registration in time for launch, it really is the type of thing that should be tested first, and the beta is the perfect place for that.
You can pretty much guarantee that thousands, if not millions, of people, will play Valorant for the first time in the weeks after launch, and if they run into these issues they might just give up on it.
While it doesn’t totally break the game, it does have a serious impact on the competitive integrity of it. Instead of the best player being decided by who has the best aim and reactions, it can be decided on if the hit registration system decided to function as it should or not.
Lower level players may not notice this, but for those that do it can seriously harm their enjoyment of Valorant, and with no previous positive experience they could turn it off and never come back.
It will also have a negative impact on the early days of the pro scene, where it will be more of an issue. If winning and losing a duel comes down to the hit registration system then the hype of matches will be lessened, and viewers will no doubt watch something else instead.
This leaves us in a situation where really the beta should be extended until this issue has been fixed and tested at length.
The initial summer release date would have given Riot enough flexibility to do this, but by committing to the June 2nd launch they now have no opportunity to confirm that whatever fix they have developed works properly.
If Valorant launches with this issue still in place it won’t be the end of the world, and the game will surely still do well. But there is a good chance many players will be left disappointed and some might never come back to it, when all of it could have been fixed with a little extension to the beta for extra testing.
Of course we can only hope that Riot’s fix is perfect and the game launches in a good state. They are after all one of the top development studios in the world, but is the risk really worth taking?