Auto-turrets often is the most hated gadget in multiplayer shooters. If turrets are too sturdy, they really feel unimaginable to defeat. If they’re too weak, nobody will need to use them. On high of that, auto-turrets lock onto enemies on their very own, and make gamers really feel like their opponent is circumventing the necessity for aiming in any respect. So when Riot revealed Killjoy, Valorant’s latest Agent, gamers had been hesitant — which is strictly the response Riot was ready for.
Most gamers’ first impression of Killjoy’s equipment got here from a video that was briefly posted on the Valorant website a number of days forward of schedule. The video confirmed off every of Killjoy’s skills, together with the turret, and gamers had been instantly on edge. Some reactions included the idea that the addition of 1 turret would utterly alter Valorant ceaselessly.
In a now-infamous clip, well-liked Valorant streamer and professional Spencer “Hiko” Martin said he thought Riot would need to add shields and additional healers to the game to steadiness out the quantity of harm the turret would added. This response didn’t shock Riot a bit.
“There’s certain things in shooters that people have almost an allergic reaction to by default, and stuff like wall hacks and turrets are definitely among those,” mentioned Killjoy designer Max Grossman in an interview with Polygon. “So we knew that people were going to be a bit skeptical.”
Senior character producer John Goscicki was even much less shocked. “Overall, reactions on the gameplay side of things are exactly where we expected them to be,” Goscicki advised Polygon. “It’s not very surprising. […] When you see the trailer without full context — even if you have full context, like a full essay dissertation on how that ability works — until you experience it, there will always be some sort of negative reaction if there’s been a history with that stuff. So for the [reaction] to be that extreme that quickly, yeah I think we were all expecting that.”
When gamers heard turrets, the photographs that popped into their heads in all probability concerned getting mowed down by the unmanned weapons of characters like Team Fortress 2’s Engineer or Torbjörn from Overwatch. These are characters that may virtually set their weapons apart as a result of their turrets do all of the capturing for them, which is totally antithetical to Valorant’s aim-first ethos. And apparently, that was Riot’s opinion too.
“A lot of our Agents start out as [us taking] an idea that we feel like kind of pushes the space of what can exist in tactical shooters and we say, ‘How do we actually make it work?’” mentioned Grossman. “I think turrets are a really good example. It’s one of those things where you say it, and your examples are like Torbjörn and Engineer. Turrets that are sometimes even stronger than individual players. And obviously that does not belong anywhere near our game. So we start with those fears, and we spend a lot of time prototyping different versions of it. It’s like, ‘How do we make this thing still feel powerful and fulfilling that fantasy of playing with a turret, while still making it feel like it is acceptable in our game?’”
Killjoy was launched a few week after the brief video of her skills leaked, and when gamers obtained to attempt her turret for themselves, most had been fairly shocked. As it seems, the turret does almost no damage whatsoever. The neighborhood rapidly realized that they might have misjudged the aim of the turret and its place within the recreation. Despite what gamers had been anticipating, the turret was by no means designed to get kills by itself.
“One of the early bets that we made with [the turret] was this concept of always playing off of it,” Grossman defined. “It creates a distraction and that’s really more of how we imagined it. It’s more like a distraction device […] if you don’t deal with it, don’t shoot it, or smoke it off, or destroy it with other utility, it’s going to be really annoying and you’re eventually going to take more and more damage, but it’s not really gonna just blast you away.”
Making a turret all about distraction and detection, slightly than precise harm, is sort of a departure from the best way they’re usually used. But even whereas it defied expectations for shooters usually, the addition of one thing that may mechanically goal and shoot in any respect nonetheless represented a threat for Valorant. Goscicki was cautious to level out that loads of gamers in the neighborhood appreciated that facet of the power as effectively.
“There’s another voice in the room, and I’ve seen this from streamers and from some community members, that are like, ‘We are stoked that you guys are willing to push the boundaries, that you’re not confined to this defined box,’” Goscicki mentioned.
While Killjoy undoubtedly pushed the envelope — and doesn’t appear too damaged thus far — it could possibly be some time earlier than we will say for positive whether or not followers are joyful along with her or not. But even when she isn’t fairly proper, and finally ends up along with her turret or different skills being too highly effective or too weak, Riot’s ready for that, too.
“I hope that, at this point, all the follow-up work we’ve done with characters has built some amount of trust,” Goscicki mentioned. “We’re listening to what’s happening, we’re making changes, we’re adjusting. Nothing’s set in stone.”