With the closed beta recently going live, Valorant hype is at an all new high. Whilst the two games are very different, there’s still a lot that the Fortnite team can learn from how Riot Games are handling this launch.
Riot’s upcoming tactical shooter, Valorant, is the talk of the gaming world right now. It’s fresh, fun and designed by the same people that brought us the incredibly popular title, League of Legends. There’s no wonder therefore, that many gamers are touting this to be the Fortnite killer.
However, this isn’t the case. Valorant and Fortnite are totally different genres of game, and not direct competitors. Sure, a handful of players may make a permanent switch, but Battle Royale lovers will still need to get their kicks. Not to mention, the larger majority of the Fortnite player base are on console, where Valorant isn’t even available.
brooooo playing valorant reminds me of how much fun i was having when playing fncs trios i love it— benjyfishy (@benjyfishy) April 8, 2020
So, if you are a die hard Fortnite fan there’s no need to panic, but regardless, there’s still a lot that can be learned from Riot’s approach here. The key thing being communication. It almost hurts to see how well they are tackling community management.
Regular video updates and meaningful, honest, blog posts help to answer the questions and concerns of eager Valorant supporters. Valorant’s Executive Producer, Anna Donlon, and Game Director Joe Ziegler have been at the heart of this, making the connection between Riot and players feel much more personal.
Ziegler has also been very active on social media. One example being his quick response to popular streamer Jaryd “Summit1g” Lazar, who tweeted to express his disappointment at the overpowered nature of a particular Valorant character.
Hey summit, I totally understand, some things in there were super tilting and it was a rough game. We’re looking across the board at all the agents right now to figure out how to get them in the right place so we’ll take a look at Raze too, don’t worry. Thanks for the games :).— Ziegler (@RiotZiegler) April 9, 2020
The Game Director admitted that there was a problem and gave reassurance that they would be looking into it. This sort of communication is so simple, but shows that the developers understand the concern and are actively trying to help out.
Of course, you may argue that Riot are only being so open because they want the game to be as successful as possible at launch. There is no way of knowing whether they will still be keeping this up two years down the line.
If you have been around Fortnite for a long time, you will remember that early on, Epic Games were praised in a similar way for their communication with the community. Sadly, over time this contact gradually dwindled, to the point where it now feels like we are dealing with a faceless company.
The reason it’s so annoying is because this is one of the easiest things to change. It costs almost nothing to write a blog post explaining why a certain decision was made, or a video telling us what to expect over the next few months. We understand that part of what makes Fortnite great are the surprises that come along the way, but this doesn’t mean that players need to be completely left in the dark.
One of Epic’s hardest problems to manage is the clear divide between the casual and competitive communities. It seems that whenever one side is happy, the other is angry. They blame each other for everything that they don’t like about the game, and of course this makes things difficult for the developers. However, if they simply acknowledged this fact, and worked to create an open dialogue between everyone, there is no doubt that things would improve.
Don't forget to check out @ValorantTracker on Twitter to stay up to date with Riot's new shooter!