Patch 8.01 for VALORANT has effectively killed one of the most versatile agents in the game, and the community is definitely not thrilled about it. In fact, it seems like Riot Games is taking a path that may be absolutely right from a developer’s perspective, but at the same time, it significantly harms us – the players.
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Riot Games killed Skye in a new patch
While Skye certainly needed balance adjustments, completely obliterating her in VALORANT Patch 8.01 wasn’t the best solution. Many were expecting better from Riot, but the patch left a lot of questions in the minds of the community.
The Australian agent offered the perfect set of initiating tools, focused on gathering information that VALORANT players could only dream of. With the flexibility she brought, Skye undeniably outshined her counterparts, and it was about time Riot addressed this.
Stripping her flash ability of its recharge potential seems like an overly drastic move, and it’s definitely a strange move from Riot. Additionally, Skye can no longer create fake flashes as her hawk automatically triggers at the end of its lifespan. This isn’t the first time Riot has completely decimated a VALORANT agent’s character in the name of “meta balancing.” We saw Chamber being weakened over multiple patches before Patch 5.12 dealt the final blow. While Chamber’s dominance was detrimental to the game, it was painful to watch one of the most beloved agents perish in such a way. He is no longer the sniper we loved to see in the hands of professionals like yay, Cryocells, or Laz.
In addition to destroying powerful agents, Riot seems to have taken a different approach to releasing new VALORANT agents since 2022. From Harbor to Iso, none of the last four agents have been strong enough for the meta, but they have been gradually buffed over time to make them viable for competitive play. At first glance, such a strategy may make sense—after all, it’s easier to buff weak agents than to completely dismantle those who have been in the spotlight, right?
Riot misses many important factors when developing and updating agents
This approach may seem acceptable, but it appears that Riot is missing many important factors when it comes to developing and updating agents. Let’s take Gekko, for example. He was released as a fairly weak initiator but received several buffs over time. Now, while Skye has been almost completely broken, Gekko is essentially just a more powerful version of Skye, offering an absurd amount of flashes and Wingman uses per round. Is it fair for Gekko to be able to throw over 10 invulnerable flashes per round while Skye only gets two of the same abilities that are easily dodged?
Considering that gathering Gekko orbs is required to obtain that many flashes, it might seem fair. But in the hands of a skilled player, Gekko is currently ruining the entire meta and has become a real imbalance. Collecting those orbs takes just one second, by the way, thanks to the recent improvements to Gekko in Patch 7.12.
Skye definitely needed a power reduction, but Riot seems to have gone overboard and stripped her of the ability to flash and gather information across the map. And it’s not just about fixing that; they even touched the reload and activation mechanics. Moreover, this doesn’t balance the meta; it actually makes Gekko too powerful. Is Riot planning to crush it to zero in the next patches? That would be ridiculous because they have repeatedly buffed it to bring it to its current state.
Considering the immense challenge of balancing the VALORANT meta, agent reworks should be more thoughtful and include other agent designs. Right now, Riot seems to not care about strengthening weak agents and bringing them up to the level of those who have already proven themselves. Players lose interest when their favorite agents are simply nerfed, and that shouldn’t be the case.