State of the Agents - Yoru Part 2
Welcome back into 2022. This is the Characters Team’s Part 2 of the Yoru Update article from last year. Right upfront, we are aiming to launch the Yoru rework during Episode 4 Act II.
Before we get there, we want to show which way the design direction is headed, our concept explorations to pair with the gameplay changes, and work-in-progress art in-game. Our time as of writing this is focused on bringing these changes to life—these always take quite a bit of time!
The loop of creating art to match gameplay, playtest, and iterate based on feedback always takes a bit of time, but ultimately, it’s what leads to VALORANT’s consistent, tactical gameplay.
Let’s kick this off with a chunky change.
Fakeout—an ability that currently directionally mimics the sound of Yoru’s footsteps to mislead enemies—is now a full copy of Yoru, that runs forward, and when damaged, explodes and debuffs enemies.
As added flavor, when the copy is shot, it faces the direction of the person that fired the shot and flashes towards their position in a conal direction. A change like this requires the most in terms of new art, so we explored how to visualize these changes early on. We expect you have some questions:
How do I decoy, without confusing my team?
Given the fast-paced, millisecond reaction speed nature of VALORANT gameplay, we needed to clearly differentiate:
- As an ally of Yoru, you will be to tell that it is his copy, and not the real Yoru. This is so that Yoru is not accidentally confusing his allies between who the real one is, and who the copy is.
- As an enemy of Yoru, they will see an identical copy of Yoru.
- During playtests we found that the copy was effective at disrupting an enemies moment-to-moment gameplay—which is awesome—but not when your team gets confused. Below are some of the early explorations for how to visualize the ally Yoru copy.
How do I look when exploding?!
There needs to be cohesion with what the decoy looks like, how it looks when starting to explode (so that you know something is about to happen) and finally the effect. All of these come together to create a thematically cohesive moment that also communicates the gameplay clearly. Some early explorations down that route.
Not much has changed with this one since the last post, aside from the team creating the additional art elements needed to bring this portion of Yoru’s update to life. The big thing here is the “puddle” left on the ground after a fake teleport. While the goal of the fake teleport is to create confusion about Yoru’s location, you should be able to go to where the fake teleport occurred, and then understand whether the real Yoru is around, or was it a misdirection?
OK, prepare for a text dump. Here’s a summary of the changes during Yoru’s ult:
- Yoru is no longer revealed to enemies
- Yoru is able to cast all utility while in Dimensional Drift
- Enemies can hear Yoru’s footsteps
- Nearsighted is removed
- Unequip delay time is increased slightly
- Cast delay added when casting Dimensional Drift, preventing the invulnerability frame on cast.
So what were the goals here?
When looking at updating Yoru’s ultimate, we wanted to fix some of the unintended play patterns that have shown up in-game, and instead give Yoru the tools to gain ground on enemies using stealth and initiate the rest of his team to follow.
Reducing the amount of time he can stay invisible should also stop the “invincible” Yoru from simply dancing in his enemy’s face. The new unequip time is meant to hinder the combo of blasting Shorty right after switching to visible. An added delay to his invulnerability stops Yoru from relying too much on running around with his mask in his hand and jamming it on at the first sight of danger.
Instead, Yoru can now see the battlefield unhindered, allowing him to enter enemy zones, take in the state of the map and mastermind a play— based around Yoru’s change that allows abilities during his ult.
Imagine a Yoru that can send teleporters into new places—deep behind enemy lines, place flashes to move enemies off angles for his team, or possibly land the perfect blind to mask his “de-stealth” and claim a frag. We think this update unlocks a lot of new possibilities for a Drifting Yoru, and we hope that it helps bring some of his fantasy of stealth infiltration to life.
Well that's all we got for now, we are gonna dive back into working on this sneaky boi now, so we can get these changes out to you asap.