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Valorant: ranks, characters and how to download

From the makers of League of Legends

(Image: © Riot Games)

Valorant is the latest game from League of Legends developer, Riot Games. The 5v5 tactical shooter has finished its closed beta and is now available to download. It's proven to be extremely popular with PC players, and continues to receive regular updates that finely-tuned the competitive nature of the game, as well as adding new content. 

Valorant was basically a hit before it even released. In a clever move to build up hype for the game, you could only gain access to the two month long Valorant beta by watching Twitch streams, but even then getting a key wasn’t guaranteed. It meant that Riot Games’ competitive shooter got the attention of thousands of eyeballs – and smashed a number of established live-streaming viewership records – but also frustrated players who simply wanted to play the game. When the release did come along, then, people wanted to be a part of the action.

And rightly so. Valorant has become a hot property in the PC gaming space and is a firm challenger for the team-based tactical shooter crown which has been held by CS:GO and Overwatch for many years. It's staying power will obviously be questioned, but as it stands, Valorant appears to be going from strength to strength.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? A 5v5 character-based shooter from LoL developer, Riot Games
  • When can I play it? Out now
  • What can I play it on? Valorant is out now on PC and is free-to-play, but other platforms may be announced in the future.

What is Valorant?

If you were to mix Overwatch with Counter-Strike: Go and sprinkle in a touch of Apex Legends, you’ve basically got the gist of Valorant. The game takes the extreme precision gunplay of CS: GO and adds in unique characters who come with their own set of ‘hypernatural’ powers and weapons. It’s a tactical, hero-based shooter that’s ready-made to be a popular esport. 

Speaking of esports, Riot Games wants to ensure the game is responsive and as fair as possible. It's implemented a stringent anti-cheat system, and ensured the game runs on multiple types of PC hardware, from low to high-spec PCs. It’s also committed to ensuring players experience less than 35ms of latency by building a number of global datacenters.

How to download Valorant

How to download Valorant

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Simply head over to the Valorant website and click 'Play Now'. You'll be asked to either sign in or create a new Riot Games account if you don't have one already. Once you've signed into your account, you'll see a landing page where you can download the game. Click 'Download' and run the 'Install VALORANT .exe' file. You'll then be guided through the install process. 

You'll also be asked to install Vanguard, Valorant's anti-cheat client, which needs to be running in the background for you to play the game. 

Valorant ranks

Valorant ranks

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Valorant's new Competitive mode is where the best players battle out to achieve the highest ranks possible. 

There are eight divisions, each of which has three ranks. The highest rank is Radiant, followed by Immortal, Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze and Iron respectively. 

After completing 20 Unrated games, you'll need to play five placement matches until your qualifying rank is revealed. If you top the scoreboards after each round, and help your team to victory, you can expect to achieve a higher rank.

Once you've qualified, you can either gain promotion or risk demotion depending on your performances. 

Valorant characters

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Valorant’s cast of 11 characters each have their own strengths and weaknesses, and it’s up to you to find your favorite. Each hero plays an important role in how a team can approach each encounter on the battlefield, so it's important to get to grips with each hero's abilities and learn their playstyle if you want to maximize your chances of winning each match.

Each character falls into one of four classes: Duelist, Initiator, Sentinel and Controller. Duelists are suited for players who like to take the fight to the enemy; Initiators are essentially scouts who can help determine the location of the opposing team; Sentinels are for defensive players who prefer to play support; and Controllers are specialists at blocking off sight lines and disrupting tactics.

More characters will be added to the game over time, with Riot Games already adding two new combatants during Valorant's launch window, Reyna and Killjoy. Here are the current set of characters and their class:

  • Brimstone - Controller
  • Jett - Duelist
  • Phoenix - Duelist
  • Sage - Sentinel
  • Omen - Controller
  • Breach - Initiator
  • Raze - Duelist
  • Cypher - Sentinel
  • Sova - Initiator
  • Viper - Controller
  • Reyna - Duelist
  • Killjoy - Sentinel
  • Skye - Sentinel

Valorant maps

There are currently five playable maps in Valorant, each of which require a different strategic approach. They are as follows:

  • Haven
  • Split
  • Ascent
  • Bind
  • Icebox

Icebox is a brand-new map that and takes place at an abandoned Kingdom research facility in the artic wilderness. It's the perfect place to flex your aim and harness your agent's abilities, but watch out for enemies ziplining from above. 

Icebox promises to favor those with razor sharp aim, and teams that can effectively win skirmishes while adapting to the ebb and flow of each match. 

Valorant release date

You can squad up with your friends today as Valorant is now available as a free-to-play downloadable title for PC. The game uses its own standalone client, and there is currently no news of a Steam release.

If you didn’t get a chance to take part in the Valorant beta, don’t worry – everyone will start fresh from the game’s official launch date. Any purchased skins and cosmetics will also not carry over, but players will be refunded in Valorant points (the in-game currency) along with a 20% bonus. 

During the launch window, more content will be available, including a new map, game mode and character. Perhaps somewhat predictably, Riot Games is keeping expectations in line with regards to launch issues, as things may not be entirely smooth as people flood the game’s servers. The developer is already working hard to upscale its infrastructure in preparation for release, however. 

"New data centers are already being stood up to service player demand in areas where latency isn’t meeting our standards," the company said in a press release. "On our current short-term roadmap is to get new game server deployments in Warsaw, Madrid, London, Atlanta, and Dallas. We’re also not satisfied with latency in Colombia, Argentina, and Eastern Europe – looking at options there."

Can I run Valorant on my PC? 

(Image credit: Riot Games)

Valorant is optimized to run on a wide variety of PC hardware, although your frame rate will be impacted depending on the power of your system. The beefier your hardware, the more frames you can output, but the game doesn’t need a lot of horsepower to max it out.  

Minimum spec for 30 frames per second

- CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8400

- GPU: Intel HD 4000

Recommended spec for 60 frames per second

- CPU: Intel i3-4150

- GPU: Geforce GT 730

High-end spec for 144+ frames per second

- CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 3.2GHz

- GPU: GTX 1050 Ti

PC hardware requirements

- Windows 7/8/10 64-bit


- 1GB of VRAM

Does Valorant closed beta progress carry over to launch?

No. Any progress you made in the beta will be reset. Riot Games has hinted that Valorant’s gameplay may change at launch, so it decided that everyone should start on a level playing field.  

What happens to the Valorant points you purchased during the beta?

Cosmetics will also not carry over from the closed beta, but players will be refunded with in-game currency and a 20% bonus if they did buy any skins. So for example, if you spent 1000 Valorant Points, come launch you’ll have 1200 to spend.