Valorant Tips for Newbies

Credit: Riot Games

Before I was lucky enough to get a Valorant Beta drop, I was relatively new to tactical shooter games. My kind of FPS involved running around like a chicken with its head caught off trying to rack up as many kills as possible. I was also used to playing on a console, never thinking of my PC as a gaming machine — unless you count Neopets.

Which explains why playing Valorant was a struggle at first. My first match I only got two kills, then three in my next match, and then 6 in my third. I felt like I was hurting my team, but at the same time, I was getting better little by little each time I played.

The way I was able to improve was by picking up a few tricks and settings changes that should help anyone who feels lost when they start playing Valorant. I’m not promising you any sponsorship deals, but these tips could help you enjoy the game more and maybe get you your first ace.

Guns

Like other tactical shooters, Valorant punishes you for shooting while moving or continuously firing by decreasing the accuracy of the gun. You shouldn’t try to run (or even walk) and shoot unless you reach a high skill level. You also need to learn how to control your rate of fire. The first few shots of a fully automatic weapon will be accurate, but then the gun will start to kick, making your bullet placement sporadic. To counteract this, you can do one of two things.

  1. After the first few shots, try tapping the trigger instead of holding it down. Every second you're not firing, the recoil of your gun is lowering. This can be difficult though. Imagine you're walking through the map, it’s down to a 1v1, you know your opponent has his alt and that if you don’t win this round your team is toast. You round a corner and see the enemy Brimstone 35 meters away in the corner. Your adrenaline will spike for a millisecond, making you want to hold the trigger until one of you is dead. But this is where if you're able to hold your cool you’ll have the upper hand.
  2. Learn the spray pattern for your gun. The recoil is not random, each gun will have the same pattern if you hold down the trigger. If you can at least get a feel for your pattern, you can hold down the trigger. This takes time, especially if you never played a game with similar mechanics. To pull this off takes practice, practice and even more practice.

The best place to improve your spray is in the aptly named practice mode; there is an area where you can shoot at a target that will save where your bullets strike to a screen on your left. You can also adjust how far the target is from you. This is a great tool to see how accurate you are and to see how different guns have unique spray patterns.

There is another useful practice mode called Shooting Test in Valorant that lets you fire at randomly spawning bots that disappear after a certain amount of time. Once you become comfortable with them try using them in a match. I recommend you come here when you first boot up the game, it’s the best way to warm up.

When you’re first starting out I recommend these three guns because they have the least amount of recoil.

  • Phantom (Assault-Full Auto)
  • Spectre (SMG- Full Auto)
  • Ghost (Pistol-Semi Auto) For Pistol Rounds
  • Judge (Shotgun-Semi Auto)

Just because they are easy to use doesn’t mean they are bad. Some of the best players use them. You can always feel free to try more difficult guns like the Vandal or snipers.

Controls

If you’re like me, you’ve been using a controller since you could walk. You think computers are for doing work and watching YouTube instead of doing said work.

Well, it turns out that not only can you learn to game on a computer, but you can also do it faster than you think. Right off the bat, you’ll notice how much easier it is to aim using your mouse. The only problem is its easier for your opponents too.

To have an edge you will want to want to turn your aiming sensitivity down. You can change this by going into Settings, click on General, scroll down to where you see Mouse, then right below it should say Sensitivity: Aim. But a better place to adjust this is at the practice range. There is an option in the graphical interface that lets you adjust aim sensitivity and since you're already there, you can test it out each time you modify it.

I have mine at .500, but not all mice are created equal so you might have to play with it a little. The best way to tell if you're at the right sensitivity is that you should need to move your whole forearm to look around. Not just your wrist. You want to use every bit of your — hopefully somewhat large — mouse pad. This will make your aiming more precise because there will be more room for error. You’ll be hitting headshots in no time. As you improve, you can increase the sensitivity accordingly.

Sound is one of the most important aspects of Valorant. If you move at the normal speed, your opponents will hear you from halfway across the map. The majority of the time you’ll want to walk or even crouching for complete silence.

By default, you run anytime you move, to slow down or crouch you have to press Shift and Ctrl, respectively. This leads to unnecessary work on your pinky since you need to use one of these two movements 90% of the time. What you can do is go to Settings then Controls; for Default Movement Mode, select walk. This as you’ve probably guessed makes your default movement walk. Then in the few instances where you need to run, hold shift. Your hand will thank you (don’t think too much into that).

Finally, we have a setting that lets us bring out our artistic side. Choosing how your crosshairs look is like customizing your car. You can go all-in on style or you can go all-in for performance. There really is no wrong answer.

The crosshairs are broken up into three main parts, the center dot, inner lines and outer lines. For all three you can adjust attributes like the opacity and the thickness of the lines. You can even get rid of the sections if you’d like — I don’t use a center dot or outer lines, for instance. Some settings you want to pay attention to are the movement error and the firing error when your first starting out. These adjust the placement of the lines based on how accurate your shot will be. So if you are running the crosshairs will expand outward, reminding you your bullets won’t be accurate if you fire now.

Conclusion

These are just a few tips for how to get started with Valorant. There are still characters and general strategies that I might write about in the future. But if you change these settings, you will be at an advantage compared to other beginners.

Finally, the most important tip I can give is the same one your Dad gave you when you played tee-ball. Just go out there and try to have fun.

No idea what I’m doing.

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