Hello Reddit

We’re members of the Characters Team that together create New Agents and balance Agents. Now that you’ve spent some time with Fade, digested recent Jett/Sova/Neon changes, and learned to play against reworked Controllers and Yoru—we thought it's a really great time to connect on MOST things Agents.

You can still ask about all our Agents, but we are top heavy on team members who worked on Fade, so expect the bulk of our answers to go to her. FYI, we have plans for Agent lore discussions from the Narrative team in the future, so you may not get too much of that here.

There’s always work in progress—but don’t expect any new Agent spoilers from us today. Also, we likely can’t answer your questions on competitive, esports, maps, etc. We’re here to answer questions from now until 3pm Pacific Time, and we’ll update this post to say when we’re heading out!

John Goscicki, Character Producer - u/Riotmememememe

Ryan Cousart, Agent Designer - u/rycoux

Jay Watford, Agent Designer - u/TheAeroplane13

Alexander Mistakidis, Game Designer - u/alexanderzone7

Coleman Palm, Insights - u/Altombre

Nicholas Smith, Agent Designer - u/Nickwu

Alex Hampton, Engineer - u/Riot_CasualPenta

Dan Hardison, Game Designer - u/penguinVALORANT

Kevin Meier, Game Designer - u/kevin-meier

We are done for now!

External link →

Hello Reddit

We’re members of the Characters Team that together create New Agents and balance Agents. Now that you’ve spent some time with Fade, digested recent Jett/Sova/Neon changes, and learned to play against reworked Controllers and Yoru—we thought it's a really great time to connect on MOST things Agents.

You can still ask about all our Agents, but we are top heavy on team members who worked on Fade, so expect the bulk of our answers to go to her. FYI, we have plans for Agent lore discussions from the Narrative team in the future, so you may not get too much of that here.

There’s always work in progress—but don’t expect any new Agent spoilers from us today. Also, we likely can’t answer your questions on competitive, esports, maps, etc. We’re here to answer questions from now until 3pm Pacific Time, and we’ll update this post to say when we’re heading out!

John Goscicki, Character Producer - u/Riotmememememe

Ryan Cousart, Agent Designer - u/rycoux

Jay Watford, Agent Designer - u/TheAeroplane13

Alexander Mistakidis, Game Designer - u/alexanderzone7

Coleman Palm, Insights - u/Altombre

Nicholas Smith, Agent Designer - u/Nickwu

Alex Hampton, Engineer - u/Riot_CasualPenta

Dan Hardison, Game Designer - u/penguinVALORANT

Kevin Meier, Game Designer - u/kevin-meier

We are done for now!

External link →
12 days ago - /u/Nickwu - Direct link

Originally posted by CurrentBackground100

Was fade meant to be another option for Sova?

Yup! Sova was bringing a lot of unique value and we wanted someone else to help bring a similar value to a team

Originally posted by Lunar_Flare1830

Is the ability for jett to regain her dash ability through kills during the 12 second dash period an intentional feature?

Yes! It was. We didn't want the new dash activation to get in the way of Jett playing aggressively if it didn't have to. In future balance updates it is possible for us to remove it if it's needed. In 4.0.8 our goal with the Jett changes was to limit how much Jett could take space for free, and reduce her strength on defense.

You probably saw it, but we did a deep dive on the Jett changes if you're curious: https://playvalorant.com/en-us/news/game-updates/valorant-jett-changes-for-patch-4-08/

Originally posted by Top_Consequence_7232

What were the prototype stage designs for fade?

Early on we knew we wanted to explore the recon space within the VALORANT Tac Loop. Once we were all aligned on that u/Nickwu drafted up a paper kit (A paper kit is just a document with potential abilities and goals written out for us to discuss), from there he started building the agent in game.

From there once we start playtesting the Agent we are experimenting with abilities trying to find the core mechanic or "hook" for an Agent. For Fade this became her trails and how to gather information around them.

Once a "hook" is locked in we brought Concept Art and Narrative into the loop to start exploring the thematic wrapper for Fade. Early on when playing against Fade, we discovered it was a very anxiety/fear inducing experience, and looked to double down on that with a spooky darker theme. This thematic exploration process takes a few months of the team throwing out ideas, and trying to narrow down to an idea that working within the world of VALORANT, and meets our constraints.

12 days ago - /u/rycoux - Direct link

Originally posted by Flamangi_

Why did you remove damage from Neon's walls? Wouldn't it be better to remove damage only for allies and make the walls only damage enemies?

Though the main reason was to reduce disruption for Neon and her allies during the execute phase, what we've found over time was that the damage on Neon's wall became fairly trivial when it came to the decision making of peeking into the wall, unless enemies were already low. We also wanted to keep consistent rules with other walls that did permanent damage (versus decay), such as Phoenix's wall. We'll be keeping an eye on how this affects Neon in the future, though, and will find a solution that helps Neon feel safer in her Fast Lane.

Originally posted by walkerwaifu

IF JETT CAN MANIPULATE AIR DOES THAT MEAN SHE USE HER FARTS AS A SMOKE/DASH/UPDRAFT?

I DONT THINK IM ALLOWED TO ANSWER THIS ONE

Originally posted by moorzii

Are there any plans to give phoenix a buff, or are you guys at least aware that he needs to be reworked or buffed in some way?

Upfront, yes we are working on Phoenix, but it is too early for us to talk about details of what it may entail. Right now we want to take the time to explore everything between number tweaks to to something more, unfortunately we do not have a solid eta on that, and we want to take the time to find the right long term place for Phoenix.

Originally posted by zechatron

How long does it take to make a character from start to finish?

Right now we plan for 12-14 months of development from first conversation to ship.

Originally posted by PhoenixCosmos

What inspired your team to create fade? Like what made you guys think of using fear as a main weapon?

We often look into what it feels like the play the agent before starting on a theme. When playing as Fade there was a feeling of marking a target, tracking them down, and executing them. While for the people playing against, once you were marked it filled the player with fear and anxiety. So we looking to re enforce both of those feelings with what you see today.

12 days ago - /u/rycoux - Direct link

Originally posted by staleydude

What was the hardest agent to release? Whether because they were buggy, overpowered, or hard to design?

I feel like every agent had their own unique problems we needed to solve that made it hard in the moment. The ones that stood out to me, during my time on design, has been Yoru and Astra since there were some tighter timelines on some on the more complex problems. I'm sure other disciplines have other reasons as to why one or another were harder, I'm sure I made some agents harder than they needed to be on engineering hahaha

Originally posted by staleydude

What was the hardest agent to release? Whether because they were buggy, overpowered, or hard to design?

From the engineering perspective, of the post-launch agents it's probably KAY/O or Astra.

KAY/O's suppression involves unique interactions with every other ability. And his Ultimate requiring a player to avoid death, but still be killable, AND be resurrected involved a bunch of fiddling.

Also, Astra possesses an astral projection in another plane of existence, sooo yeah.

Originally posted by freq_eblan

Do you plan to make a new character class?

Do you plan to make a new character class?

We're definitely open to finding new classes in Valorant, but we want to make sure that those classes are both healthy for the game and contribute to the tactical space in unique and meaningful ways. If / when we find an Agent that expands what's possible and checks those boxes, we wouldn't want them to be restricted to fit into the classes they currently exists. What classes do you think would be interesting to explore in the game?

Originally posted by I_Screw_Squirrels

This might seem like a loaded question, but after the community's response, does the plan to nerf Chamber still involve taking away one of his trips?

Yes, the plan is still to remove one of the traps for 4.09. We'll still be monitoring how he performs on Defense to make sure he's still a powerful defensive agent, and will adjust if necessary in the future.

We believe there are many ways sentinels can control and defend space, whether it is through the use of reactive slow abilities like Sage, flank watching gadgets like Cypher or defensively oriented movement abilities and weapons like Chamber. We specifically wanted to keep the unique parts of Chamber strong (as the high-tech weapons-guy, he's probably supposed to be uniquely powerful with his Headhunter and Tour De Force) while sharpening Chamber's weaknesses compared to the other trap-oriented Sentinels.

Originally posted by CounselorTaco

What comes to mind when deciding which regions of the world / cultures upcoming agents will be based on?

There are a few things we keep in mind:

- Where have we made an Agent from before, we want each release to fell varied and diverse.
- These Agents represent the best of the best in their field/capabilities, and there wouldn't be all that many of them.
- Where in the world do we have players playing VALORANT, that does not have agent representation.
- Is there anything in the culture that ties into the character.

Often we pick a country/culture super early on so we can do our research and incorporate all the small details into the agent.

Originally posted by Legacy4Me

Why does Fade have Paws on her shoes? I’m curious about that design detail.

Cause toebeans are cute uWu

Originally posted by fngkestrel

When addressing a problem, how do you decide when to add a new mechanic versus when to do a tuning pass?

We always try to plan ahead about how we could add or remove power from a character over time if needed. To do that, we look for tuning levers. What is a 'tuning lever'?

As game designers, we can tune a lot of things, almost too many things. Technically we can tune the length of Chamber's pants, even though it doesn't matter. What makes something we can change a "tuning lever", is that we can rely on changing it to meaningfully balance power.

Sometimes post-launch that balance plan is wrong, or we identify unresolved needs that require changes. In those cases, we have to go back and change mechanics. We try to avoid it because we know players love characters the way they are already, but ultimately it happens to almost every game.

12 days ago - /u/Nickwu - Direct link

Originally posted by Acrozane

Oh, and how did you know you wanted Fade to be an initiator? Was that something that was decided before her development, or was it a decision that was made after her identity was (at least for the most part) solidified?

We started out wanting to make a character that would bring similar value to Sova and that naturally lead us to creating an Initiator from the very start!

Originally posted by Rabger_

When can we expect to see another sentinel or controller hit the agent pool?

I'm really enjoying playing with and around Fade btw, you all did a bang-up job with her (especially with the lore leadup!)

While I can't answer this concretely at the moment, we are always thinking of what a healthy roster/role make up looks like in the long term for the game.

We need to be thinking a year + in advance we locking stuff like the role in.

Originally posted by owlwt

Do y'all still think the jett nerf was good the way it was made? Why wouldn't it have been better if you just made her dash slower or just did smaller range for her dash?

Yo! I worked on the Jett changes. We're still learning from how players are adjusting but things are good so far.

I feel ya on wanting to tune the dash instead of changing it fundamentally. We actually tried both of those things (and a bunch more). It's hard to share all the context on why we didn't do those, but here's a little TLDR:

If we made the dash slower, it makes Jett not successfully get out when she dashes which feels really bad. It also makes Jett a lot like Neon rather than her own special self.

If we made the dash go less far, it actually doesn't move the needle on the problems we identified. For example, Jett can still infinitely hold with a (smaller) off angle with an OP and get out for free.

I hope that helps a bit, and there's more context in the Jett deep dive article if you're curious: https://playvalorant.com/en-us/news/game-updates/valorant-jett-changes-for-patch-4-08/

Originally posted by guitarraroja

Which spooky film inspired Fade's abilities?

It was no one thing, when working on her the team is always taking in reference and inspiration from everywhere. Let's just say it got dark.

Originally posted by ItsRankz

Are there any plans to get Viper back in the meta? Maybe lowering how fast her gas tank depletes?

Viper left the meta?

12 days ago - /u/kevin-meier - Direct link

Originally posted by EternalSnowy

Is the state of controllers good now? I agree that the meta should not consist of just Astra and Viper but now Astra is gone. The game looks healthier but Astra is now severely bad in regular competitive queue and still somewhat good in pro play.

I also assume there will be a controller coming out on Episode 5, Act 2 after a map(should happen based on lore). Hope it competes against Viper.

We're much happier with the state of controllers after the 4.04 adjustments. Astra was a polarizing pick that overly limited composition diversity and heavily dictated the pace that attackers could play at. Even before the nerfs, Astra was an underplayed and underpowered agent in competitive queue unless you're looking at higher MMR bands. A lot of her power is locked behind strong communication, where she needs her teammates to constantly deliver information so she can make the right decisions around star usage. This is why we see her best utilized at the high ends of pro play.

We accept that she may be less accessible to users across the board, but do want to ensure she exists in a healthy place. There should be compositions and maps where she is powerful compared to other controllers, so we'll continue to monitor her spot in the game across various skill levels.

Originally posted by EcstaticLion2800

are you buffing cypher? if yes pls do,
my lame idea- cypher camera gives 1 damage when camera dart hits,
make trap wire stronger

1 damage ??? he would be so OP

Originally posted by phillyyphillyyy

Will you guys eventually have a cap on the total # of agents?

To be honest, league of legends champions arsenal is so large it’s overwhelming to pick the game back up. When I tried to play again, I had no idea who I was playing against and what their abilities were and how to play against it.

We have no set number at the moment, as a team we are always evaluating and gathering information on the state of the game and general sentiment. If at some point there is an overwhelming amount of agents then we will assess, but as a team we still believe there is a ton of space to grow and expand the possibilities within VALORANT.

12 days ago - /u/rycoux - Direct link

Originally posted by KillzmPs

why don't you buff Yoru's Tp knowing that the chamber is faster and can't get out of a place as fast as any other duelist? Jett's dash, Raze's satchel, Reyna's dismiss, Neon's slide

why don't you buff Yoru's Tp knowing that the chamber is faster and can't get out of a place as fast as any other duelist? Jett's dash, Raze's satchel, Reyna's dismiss, Neon's slide

We have always loved the idea of making Yoru's teleport feel more unique by giving it different strengths, such as the fake TP, that feel more in line with his gameplay promise and thematic. We want to make sure we have room to build different styles of mobility and/or displacement on our duelists that aren't forever restricted to being a combat escape.

12 days ago - /u/Nickwu - Direct link

Originally posted by EyoItsPop

Fade's introduction to the game is so far really interesting and one of the comments that was made about her was the fact that she is very "non lineup" unlike Sova. Is this a step forward that you guys will be carrying out for newer agents or is it that Fade is unique in her kit being set up this way?

Fade's introduction to the game is so far really interesting and one of the comments that was made about her was the fact that she is very "non lineup" unlike Sova. Is this a step forward that you guys will be carrying out for newer agents or is it that Fade is unique in her kit being set up this way?

We specifically wanted Fade to not be as line-up dependent as her counterpart (Sova) is more line-up dependent. This isn't to say specifically that more agents will trend toward one way or the other though, and we want to support all kinds of playstyles and players. Fade and Sova have their strengths and weaknesses, and we want to continue to expand the roster in this way.

Originally posted by cattableabby

Design wise, where do you get your inspiration for agents? And how many people work on an agent?

Inspiration can and has come from all over the place! Viper originated from an amazing piece of concept art, Reyna from the orb mechanic we thought could resonate with duelist players, and part of Fade's initial inspiration came from wanting to create an Agent to compete in Sova's space and building from there. No matter where the idea comes from, we always step back to make sure from a design perspective that we can find something unique that Agent can bring to the play space to ensure they have their own strategic possibilities to unlock.

12 days ago - /u/rycoux - Direct link

Originally posted by intellextar

Does that mean Phoenix wall will also be patched to do no damage to be consistent with Neon's wall?

Phoenix's wall will stay in tact and will still do damage in the same way it currently does

Originally posted by ThisIsElron

What’s your view on how agents interact with the operator? It feels like Jett’s ability to OP was nerfed significantly, leaving Chamber as the primary safe operator option. In the long term, are you okay with some agents being better at using the op than others, and if yes can we expect more op centric agents in the future?

We're totally ok with some agents being better at using the OP than others. In the long term we want that strength to come with tradeoffs in your team composition.

Originally posted by UNLIKABLETOOL

Hi there, I'm a newer player. I was curious if in the future there will be roadmaps which showcase some sort of an idea of future content releases? like maps or agents. As you do this in some ways in League of Legends with your champion teasers. I remember they teased lillia, same with vex recently, seraphine as well. So given that valorant has the a similar system that also cares about their lore, were there gonna be future roadmaps which might showcase some idea or teaser of when will get certain agents during the year, or maps or even guns? and what those agents will look like or do? Similar to how you have done it in LoL.

We do something similar in our "State of the Agents" articles. I used to work with "reav3" on Champion team and the "State of the Agents" articles are meant to emulate that feeling somewhat. I don't think we will ever go as far out as they do when it comes to agents, but always be on the look out in game for teasers :)

12 days ago - /u/kevin-meier - Direct link

Originally posted by dinzhd

Was the intention of nerfing the Shock Darts of Sova to make lineups less effective?

We did not nerf Shock Darts to make lineups less effective, but to sharpen Sovas identity for the long term health of Valorant. Ability damage vs. Gun damage is something that we will have to closely monitor over the course of the games life, and we want to be very explicit with when and how an ability will kill.

Sova is a premier intel agent, and we want to keep his strengths primarily focused on those outputs. We felt Shock Darts were too forgiving for Sova compared to the limited counterplay that opponents had. That's not to say that shock darts should not generate value, but we're being very explicit in moving these to be chip damage tools or utility breakage as a basic ability.

Originally posted by brutally_5foot7

Can you give us a little insight/teaser on what you have planned for underperforming agents such as Phoenix and Cypher?

We talked about Phoenix in this thread below:

https://www.reddit.com/r/VALORANT/comments/uhpubl/valorant_characters_team_ama_on_fade_balance_and/i77ll68?context=3

Cypher is in a similar situation. We aren't prepared to share details or dates but he is definitely on our radar.

Originally posted by Joeganaut

Hello agents team! It's me Joey from maps team. Viper buffs when? :D

Joey, the Romeo to my Juliet,
How art thou?
No Viper buffs yet

12 days ago - /u/Riot_Preeti - Direct link

Is Omen a cat?