VALORANT dev discusses approach to dealing with agent abilities used in unintended ways

Talking to you, Sage mains.

Image via Riot Games

With a myriad of VALORANT agents with unique ability kits, there’s bound to be some accidents—for better or worse.

Lead character designer Jay Watford discussed agent abilities in today’s Ask VALORANT blog, explaining how the devs address unintended interactions. And it seems like Riot’s approach is to only step in if the devs believe it adversely affects competitive integrity.

“We walk a pretty constant line between the sandbox nature of abilities that keeps each game exciting, and trying to determine if newly discovered interactions are enriching or breaking the tactical game we’ve promised,” Watford said.

Once an agent is released onto the live servers, VALORANT’s large player base gets a chance to test them out. And in many cases, players use unique abilities in ways that the devs didn’t consider.

Watford cited Sage’s Barrier Orb as a prime example, an ability that’s led to numerous unintended interactions. Some of the ice wall’s creative uses include boosts, ability combos, and a cheeky placement in Icebox’s Tube to give teammates a great vantage point.

Screengrab via Riot Games

Despite all those innovative uses, however, the ability has also given way to numerous glitches. VALORANT bug catcher TPAXTOP discovered a way to combo Omen’s Shrouded Step and Sage’s Barrier Orb to break through Icebox’s map boundary, for example. This allowed Omen players to access a room on A site filled with computers and samurai armor.

VALORANT is definitely a game that we’re building and exploring hand-and-hand with our community,” Watford said. “We know you all approach each match with creativity, and the best thing we can do is keep an open dialogue about what’s discovered.”

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