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10/20/20Dev

Build me a VALORANT Battlepass

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The Battlepass is a path of various rewards for the time you spend tapping heads and planting Spikes in VALORANT. It’s a feature all players engage with, so we (the Premium Content team) want to make sure the pass is broadly appealing. That doesn’t mean every player will love everything; however, every player should love at least something.

We draw inspiration from lots of sources—the Maps, meta gameplay memes, fun references to items from the previous Battlepass, etc.—and go into each creative brainstorm with an open mind.

Although this dev diary will focus on creative considerations behind the Battlepass, improvements for our cosmetics are always top of mind. The recent pick-any-variant change, experimenting with melee variants, and taking an honest look at the work needed for skin level toggling are recent examples. You can also look ahead to Act III Battlepass for upcoming changes driven by your feedback. Keep that coming


THERE’S LEVELS TO THIS

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From the start, the Battlepass was built with a free track so free-to-players can also earn rewards and commemorate their participation with a feeling of “I was there!”

There are also some rewards that we couldn’t imagine not letting everyone earn, such as the Tactibear Buddy, or the ultimate Chicken spray/title/card combo, to name a few. Look, you all need some way to show your Vandal love or celebrate your opponents’ salty tears.

For players who purchase the Premium track—our aim is to create a diverse array of options for cosmetics. Something scifi, fantasy, sci-fantasy (yes…), artsy, edgy, etc. This is especially important because we know there are a lot of you who never purchase skins in the Store directly but still want to earn lots of in-game items.

(That’s why in Act III, we’re also offering variant upgrades for the Surge skin, since many Battlepass-only players had tons of Radianite Points in the bank but no way to spend them.)

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The tier order changes every Act so that the most popular cosmetics aren't always artificially locked until the last few tiers. That way, if you’re the type of player who only buys the Battlepass, you can find a skin for your favorite weapon regardless if you completed all 50 tiers or not.

For example, in Act I the Vandal skin was in Chapter 9, but in Act II, it showed up much earlier. We want players to feel like they’ve earned something special as they level up through the Battlepass, but we also gotta be fair.

WHAT’S THE IDEA?

A smiling toaster. A record player, but with a VALORANT spin. A griefing Scuttle Crab. Froggie Hat. Where does this all come from?

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Fun on company time

How do we come up with ideas for what to put in the Battlepass? Whatever insane creative process you’ve pictured in your head is probably close to the truth. A small team of us brainstorm (virtually, these days) big, no-constraints, blue-sky ideas for hours.

Believe us, there’s no such thing as a bad idea so early in the creative process. Similar to our weapon skins approach, we encourage wild ideas and a safe place to pitch them. Our team can always narrow the final ideas later, but at this stage we optimize for quantity rather than quality of ideas. If it’s just too big for our team to tackle at the moment, we save it for later.

Theme songs

Because the Battlepass content is exclusive to the Act it’s released in, we want to make sure the content feels like it feels like a cohesive package. Step one is to look at what else is happening in that Act:

  • Who’s the new Agent getting released?
  • Are there any new maps?
  • Are there any global events or holidays happening?
  • What do we want to tease about the lore of VALORANT?
  • What’s the current meta?
  • What are players saying about VALORANT lately?
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NO DREAMS, ONLY TIERS NOW

It’s no surprise that we strive for thematic diversity within the Battlepass skins. This can start with a nebulous intent, such as a desire for a pure fantasy design. Take the Act III Battlepass: the Ruin collection leans into the fantasy genre, whereas Surge is more clean and graphic, and Serenity is aimed at the luxurious.

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It also helps when you tell us what you loved from previous Battlepasses. The popularity of Tactibear led to the creation of their peer, Tactisquirrel. Many of you equipped the Octopus Player Card, so we started to lean heavily into Octopus-related content.

The content should also be relevant and topical to the VALORANT community. For example, the seemingly ongoing debate of “which is better, the Vandal or the Phantom” may never be solved, so we wanted to commemorate that argument with a card. 

(A card memeing on the unfortunate abundance of Guardian skins is overdue.) 

For holidays, we try to capture the spirit rather than something more abstract. A cute jack-o-lantern Gun Buddy is alright, but too much spooky content probably isn’t something our global audience would appreciate.

And then there’s something we can all relate to, a “moment in time.” Many of us are feeling the effects of quarantine, so the Viper “Stay Safe” spray is a nod to something we are all surviving together.

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Maps are probably our best source of Battlepass inspiration. Even we have a blast running and searching got map easter eggs created by the Maps team! The Chilly McFreeze snowman, Gelato Cutie, Immortal Rose, and all the Tacti-animal gun buddies originated from the Maps themselves. Even the infamous Octopus is based on a mural from Ascent. 

The folks on the Premium Content team also love playing VALORANT together. That’s why we try to reference some of our funny anecdotal in-game experiences (like the “No Time” spray) or stuff we see in highlight clips online. 

The randomized “Pick my Strat” spray is for when we’re tired of straight rushing long B only to die to something-that-should-have-been-obvious-like-Raze-ult and wish fate would tell us how to play our next round. And the “Piece of Cake” spray is our polite alternative to call something “easy,” instead of spamming GGEZ in the chat. 

Internal design contests help us gather pitches when we are short on inspiration. You can thank members of the VALORANT team for items like the “Scuttle Trash” Gun Buddy, suggested by a person who wanted to celebrate how “trash” she and her partner are at VALORANT. “Potato Aim” is another example—you can guess what that represents.

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Spray-to-speech

Sometimes a post-clutch spray says more than any celebratory chant could. Our sprays, titles, and Gun Buddies are also an opportunity to let players non-verbally express themselves in a creative and practical way that is often better than a mic or text chat. 

For every spray we create, we ask ourselves “what is a player saying when they use this?” and how do we make this feel like a VALORANT spray? Or we start with the expression first and ask “how do we express this with a spray?” Some examples of our favorite spray communications/pairings:

  • Tell the world “I suck at this game!” - Pair the “Sad Crab” spray with the Potato Aim or Scuttle Trash Buddy, your pick
  • Toss out a casual “That was easy!” - “Piece of Cake” spray (also, maybe a future idea: a GG button, or a GGEZ button spray)
  • One-tap the enemy with a Sheriff? - Drop that “Cheaters Never Prosper” spray because who needs hacks?
  • Say it with pride: “I’m a filthy camper.” - Pair the Bucky card with the “Pumped” title and spam the “Camper” or “Cheesy Shot” spray after you blast an unsuspecting enemy with the Polyfox Judge

EPISODE 2 TEASES

Oh, you made it this far. How do we put this nicely…

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