After a week off from its annual holiday, Riot Games returned to work this week and released Valorant with a new update that went live yesterday. Called Patch 5.01, it’s a pretty major one, which rebalances the usefulness of the game’s three Agents, including a much-anticipated resale of the neglected Agent Phoenix. But while that particular adjustment is a welcome one, it looks like the development team may still have been in holiday mode when they gave the green light to the changes they made to KA/O’s Molly, or Fragment Grenade, as no one has done it. says.
The damage diameter of the ability is slightly reduced, but, importantly, now applies damage without requiring line of sight. Simply put, it goes through the walls.
Riot Games stated in its patch notes that “wanted to ease some pain” help more players “Access more parts of the kit that aren’t accessibleAfter reviewing the changes listed and now experiencing it in-game myself, I’m decoding it to a team that is essentially lowering KA/O’s Molly’s skill-ceiling by making it less dependent on the lineup. Either this or it all is a big mistake that the team never intended to happen because what I see in the game is a disaster, and I’m not the only one who has noticed:
Believe me riot workers don’t play their game pic.twitter.com/33nS40hCe4
— career (@careertwitch) 13 July 2022
Surely, that result is not what Riot intended, is it? KAY/O can now not only damage enemies hidden beyond Molly’s line of sight, but can now destroy enemy utility through walls. My understanding of the changes prior to the patch drop was that Molly would now track around objects, not through them. Killjoy Alts on Ascent, as the example above shows, is now really impressed, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that there are all sorts of other implications.
I’m really hoping the change wasn’t intentional. Valorant is a tactical shooter, and learning the lineup to properly use the utility is part of the gameplay — or at least, it should be. I know I’ve spent hours custom games perfecting the Anti-Killjoy Molly lineup to use in Screams. I’ll still need them, but they’re much less important if this is where the game is headed. Surely, Riot Games doesn’t intend to dilute that aspect of the game, does it? Probably not, but this morning I remembered a quote from a recent Reddit AMA hosted by Riot Games and I’m starting to worry.
In response to a player querying a design choice to make the Feds less dependent on the lineup than SOVA, Riot Games replied:
,We specifically wanted the Fed not to be line-up dependent as its counterpart (Sowa) is more line-up dependent. This is not to say specifically that more agents will trend one way or the other, and we want to support all types of play styles and players. The Fed and SOVA have their strengths and weaknesses, and we want to continue to expand the roster as such.,
Now, in fairness, the team made a special mention of not keeping agents off the lineup. But as it pertains to KAY/O, my concern is that the team wants to reduce the skill-range of the agent on KAY/O and make them feel like an agent like the Fed who is on the rehearsal lineup to be effective. does not trust. I may be being completely off-base here, and I really hope I am because this change steers Valorant in the wrong direction if not.
Unfortunately, there are early indicators that the team doesn’t see anything wrong with the changes. A Riot Games employee and Associate QA Engineer on the Valorant team responded to the above tweet:
Can’t a Violation Aftershock do the same thing?
— Dreamer (@DreamerxVal) 13 July 2022
Oh dear. We’ll just have to wait and see if the changes keep on landing after the community, and crucially pro players, catch the update and roll it out. Riot is generally very good at making rapid and effective changes to reverse or rebalance such meta-impacting issues. I will keep updating this article, and keep my fingers and toes crossed in the meantime.