Riot Games, the developer of Valorant, has shared an in-depth breakdown of the reasoning behind nerfing Raze early in the game's life-cycle.
Back in April, when Riot Games launched the beta phase of Valorant, players complained that Raze is an overpowered agent, so Riot nerfed the character in the 0.47 update. Players welcomed the nerf, which provided limitation on her grenades and provided better audio cues.
According to Riot, these are “light changes that should bring Raze’s offensive pressure closer to the other agents.” For the most part, that was the highlight of the April 21 update.
However, in a new Valorant blog post, Riot provides a more detailed explanation to the process behind Raze's nerf, listing down six key features and stats.
Here's what Riot said about the nerf:
1.) The balance group were aligned that Raze’s kit fits the tac cycle and did not break the loop. She was one of the first kits that this project had designed, and she had helped shape the cycle itself.
2.) She had a high match win rate of ~51% and 53.5% in non-mirrored matches, especially on defense against enemies that were grouped up charging her position. This did not trigger initial alerts set in Closed Beta. Riot quickly realized that power was in the measures of .1%’s rather than 1%’s and tightened the bands accordingly, concluding that Raze was OP.
3.) Player sentiment: Streams, surveys, anecdotes, forums – anything. There was a lot of frustration about being rocketed and naded but they realized that players were not reacting to the audio cues of her abilities and had a hard time understanding what was happening to them outside of the fact that they were now dead.
4.) They did an analysis writeup with the information acquired and proposed some changes:
Having two grenades that she could throw back-to-back created an oppressive scenario for players trying to push into her. Raze players were getting a lot of kills which in turn gave her access to her Ultimate more often.
Players were not reacting to the counterplay cues of her abilities which caused more frustration.
5.) Internal changes and testing.
Grenade charges went from 2 to 1 and became a reset on kill. This change lowered the frequency in which opponents would run into the nades but still give the Raze player the opportunity to continually blow stuff up. It was a great change that fit her core identity – kill them.
The audio attenuation of her Rocket fire and equip were changed drastically to really tell players that they needed to vacate the area.
6.) Added context and changes to patch notes.
They monitored the player's reaction and sentiment to the patch notes. They liked the direction she was headed but were still skeptical about Raze in general. Her win rate directly took a hit but not by much. The perception was that she was in a much more balanced state.
They followed up in later patches using the direction set in .47+.
The breakdown clearly points out that player sentiment played a major part in their decision to nerf Raze, and these details show that there's a lot more than you might have thought that goes into balancing Valorant agents.
Valorant is now available for PC.
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