02: On Vanguard errors/solutions, gun skins, and agent progression

Week two of our weekly updates, with today’s topics: Vanguard errors/solutions, gun skins, and agent progression.

Another week of VALORANT Closed Beta in the books, and it looks like we’re getting (somewhat) into the rhythm of things. Over the past two weeks, we’ve been able to patch multiple times to address emergent exploits, fix many bugs (including a revolver-wielding camera that we thought was hilarious), and make our first (but definitely not last) balance change of the closed beta.

But a community at play is also one that never sleeps, and we’re already seeing new things to tackle. So without further ado, let’s get to some emergent topics.

We saw how much you all loved Paul Chamberlain, VALORANT’s anti-cheat lead, the first time around, so we brought him back to quickly chat about some additional Vanguard bugs he’s seeing in the wild, and some adjustments we’ve made from your feedback.

“We’ve been issuing updates for Vanguard to react to the latest developments in cheating technology. One of these updates had a negative impact on legitimate players, stopping them from playing VALORANT because Vanguard detected a security vulnerability that cheats could exploit. Unfortunately, this is a pretty vague statement to give, but we’re also trying not to signal what systems cheat developers need to overcome (spoilers: this is going to be an ongoing challenge for us, even though transparency is our thing).

What I can say is that while our anti-cheat technology is moving quickly in this escalating war against cheat developers, the clarity of information we give regarding these new incompatibilities has not kept up. We’re in the process of trying to give you more information if Vanguard is requiring multiple reboots—chances are, you might have to update some insecure software or drivers. Additionally, we have heard your concerns about Vanguard running 24/7 in the background, and are actively building a feature where you can full-disable it from the system tray when VALORANT isn’t running. You’ll need to reboot your computer with Vanguard running if you want to play VALORANT, but should be an easier process than outright uninstalling it every time (disabling effectively acts as an uninstall).”

Next, while tomorrow we’re going deep on all of the store and progression systems in VALORANT, we also know there’s been a few more emergent questions around the pricing of skin lines like Prism, or how we think about the speed at which you unlock characters. By the way, these kinds of conversations are critical to have early in Closed Beta (even though progress and purchases will be reset!) because once we get to launch, we’ll need to be more deliberate about how and when we change our approach.

So here’s VALORANT’s revenue lead, Joe Lee, to talk.

“I’ll lead with the straightforward news on agent contract progression—it’s a bit slow right now, so we’re going to speed it up for launch. Our original plan was to introduce weekly missions that would provide meaningful chunks of XP to your character contracts. However, in playing through our current system we realized that being gated by weekly missions to unlock the next agent you want to play doesn’t feel very good. So at launch we’ll be reducing the overall amount of experience needed per character contract level while still having weekly missions function as supplementary XP boosts.

Now let’s talk about weapon skins in VALORANT. At the highest level, weapon skins will always be optional cosmetics that will never provide a gameplay advantage, they are also the primary things that enable us to make a high-quality free-to-play game, and support it for years to come. That said, we don’t ever want you to feel compelled to buy something ‘out of support,’ or feel like you’re missing out because you didn’t pay. If you play for free, we genuinely appreciate your time investment and value you within the community. If you purchase something, it should be because you want it. Over time, we’ll also introduce ways for players to acquire weapon skins at lower price points, such as the battle pass at launch.

On that note, something I think that’s compounding concerns is that we just don’t have a lot of options out, and the ones that are out maybe don’t seem worthwhile to some of you. Prism was designed for people who love clean, minimal gun aesthetics, and want to buy into a premium skin line that shows that off. We also know there are others who want a gun skin that has all the bells and whistles: custom reload animations, geometry changes, alternative universes. There are also those who want skins at lower prices, or are more rare. We have plans to serve all of these needs with specific skin lines, we just need to make sure when we make something, it targets and serves a specific audience really well!

Finally, please keep giving us feedback during these times - we’re always reading community feedback on forums and social media. Additionally, we’re rounding our perspective by looking at who’s buying what skins and reaching out to understand if they’re satisfied with what they got. It’s important for us to know there are players happy with their unlocks—even if they’re not saying anything about it—but we’ll definitely pay attention if either nobody’s getting the thing or, if they are, they’re lukewarm on it thereafter.

This is obviously a lot to take in on some hot button topics, so we appreciate you getting through it all. Thanks for checking in this week, and we’ll talk with you all soon.