VALORANT’s Deathmatch still isn’t the optimal way to warm up, but it can be fixed

Riot is on the right track.

Image via Riot Games

VALORANT has a Deathmatch problem. 

The causal free-for-all mode is good for fans looking for that specific experience but doesn’t fill the needs of players trying to warm up. The current map pool isn’t suited for this mode and players spend too much time trying to find enemies. Playing multiple matches back to back can be tedious because you need to queue after each game and respawn delays and players focusing on winning can impact the warm-up experience. 

While VALORANT’s Deathmatch is unfit for a warm-up routine right now, Riot Games has confirmed that it’s working on a new mode to satisfy players trying to improve and warm up in an extended Deathmatch. These changes and smaller maps that force players to battle each other consistently would create an ideal place to warm up without relying on third-party software or games. 

VALORANT maps aren’t designed for Deathmatch 

VALORANT has seven maps in rotation right now, each with a unique design and layout. These maps are excellent for five-vs-five engagements while teams work together to defend or take sites. But it’s abundantly clear that these maps aren’t designed for a free-for-all Deathmatch mode. 

Consistently finding players in Deathmatch can be tricky, especially if you spawn in a tucked-away corner of a map. This leads to players searching for enemies for a significant portion of each match, lowering the number of engagements. When warming up, consistently fighting enemies is one of the most important factors and traversing the map to find players is counterproductive. 

Players will also often hold angles or corners if they hear the enemy warming up, creating a reliance on sound. While recognizing noises to pinpoint an enemy location is important in VALORANT, this isn’t what warming up is about. 

The problem is simple: VALORANT maps aren’t appropriate for Deathmatch. Players warm up less since they’re forced to search for enemies and players often hold angles and sightlines for easy kills. Camping a corner will likely be an issue on any map, but maps specifically designed for Deathmatch can help. 

A smaller map, for example, would cause players to engage enemies more frequently and prevent a lull in gameplay. Even isolating a specific area of an existing map could work and prevent players from spawning away from the action. Creating a custom experience for Deathmatch could make the mode a viable way to warm up, but overall, system changes are also needed. 

“Winning” and continuously queueing Deathmatch is counterintuitive 

Queuing into back-to-back Deathmatches takes a significant amount of time. Each game has a nine-minute time limit or finishes when a player hits 40 kills. While this is fun for a player looking for a casual experience, it’s not appropriate for a legitimate warm-up routine. 

Players trying to improve or warm up before a competitive match typically spend a significant amount of time perfecting their skills. Having to queue after each Deathmatch significantly increases the time required for this process. A player must find a match, sit through the warm-up period, and play through the game itself. Once this is done, they must repeat the process, which usually takes a few minutes. 

“Winning” a Deathmatch is also counterintuitive to warming up. The focus of warming up is improving your core mechanics to prepare for a ranked or competitive match. Adding a win condition causes players to play differently since winning the match becomes a goal. This is good for players who only want to play Deathmatch casually but impacts the experience for others. 

Each death in Deathmatch also causes a respawn delay and adding the previously mentioned issue of finding players around the map results in a relatively poor warm-up experience. Many players have suggested instantly spawning in Deathmatch, which is already implemented in the mode’s warm-up period. This slight change could significantly cut down on the time between engagements and help players practice more.

Riot is working on the problem

The time spent in the Deathmatch mode doesn’t yield the same practice by using other tools like Aim Lab or KovaaK. Players shouldn’t have to rely on third-party software to practice for VALORANT, though. An extended Deathmatch, or infinite Deathmatch, would create a better warm-up experience—and Riot has confirmed that it’s working on implementing this in the future. 

Riot’s principal producer/production manager Jared Berbach explained how VALORANT’s Deathmatch is currently serving two different audiences: players who want an “FFA style match with a beginning, middle, end, and a winner” and players who want a longer mode they can join and leave as they warm up. The current Deathmatch mode satisfies the first audience and Riot is working on ways to serve the second. 

Berbach explained that the devs are working on implementing a “drop in” mode that allows players to join an existing match. He also confirmed this work is “relatively complex” and that the developers are putting in the time to create a healthy and satisfying game mode. The final product should satisfy players who want a mode for warming up and the game rules can be adjusted to improve the experience. Players could regain health and a fully loaded weapon after a kill, for example, allowing them to take on enemies back to back.

Combining this work-in-progress mode with specific Deathmatch maps and removing the lull between games is enough to give VALORANT players hope. Some changes have already been implemented to the Deathmatch mode, showing that Riot is on the right track.

Patch 3.07 removed the penalty for leaving a Deathmatch early, allowing players to drop out without having to finish a match. This is a good step in the right direction and can save a few minutes when warming up. But it seems relatively minor and Deathmatch is still not the best way to get ready for a ranked match or to improve your gun skill.

In the meantime, if you want to improve your core mechanics and gun skill, try throwing other options into your warm-up routine. VALORANT’s shooting range isn’t the best, but it does offer a few different settings that are helpful when learning new weapons. Don’t be afraid to try other aim trainers to improve your basic skills too since they can significantly help you perform in-game. 

Make sure to follow us on YouTube for more esports news and analysis.