How Valorant’s youngest agent, Skye, became the Australian eco-warrior

How Valorant’s youngest agent, Skye, became the Australian eco-warrior
How Valorant’s youngest agent, Skye, became the Australian eco-warrior
Since Appreciation It was first announced that players were right to wonder when another healer would arrive to offset Sage’s resurrected, ice-wall-building power. Last week the community had their answer: Skye, an eco-warrior with a thick ocher accent.

To understand how Skye came about, I sat down for a conversation with AppreciationMax Grossman, Senior Game Designer, to understand more.

When Skye first got together, her code name was “Guide,” according to Grossman. “The focus was on the idea of ​​leading your team into battle. That was the core idea of ​​the character, ”he said.

Skye’s name, background, and Bogan accent were absent at this point. Instead, Skye was built around the idea of ​​a character who could act as an initiator and empower a team to move forward.

Internally, the first version of Skye came to life in November 2019, Grossman said. She was developing because of that Appreciation The team always understood the need for an additional healer to offset the need for Sage (as the sole healer on the Heroic Archer’s roster), but also because the game needed an additional initiator.

“It was very much part of the plan when we started the game. We know an additional healer was needed, and we knew an additional initiator was needed, ”Grossman said. “We tend to see the game mainly in the context of our role framework, the initiators, duelists, controllers and sentinels. And we knew that we would start with just two initiators and we wanted a third. But we also look at the different things people bring to the table – healing is obviously one of them. ”

“But that is usually their secondary or tertiary thing that they really put on the plate: We think that Sage is mainly able to stop people from attacking and holding back people. While Skye has a different point of view: we wanted to make another initiator so we could have a third one in this slot, and we also thought it would be a valuable place to add that healing component to some sort of round off this campaign between a defensive one oriented healer and more of an offensively oriented healer. ”

Skye’s Heal is a massive AOE with one major caveat: it doesn’t heal itself, and you can’t fire or use other abilities while it’s triggered (unlike Sage’s Healing Orb). Trailblazer, her Q skill, summons a Tasmanian tiger that hunts enemies, makes them myopic, and shakes them when it hits. Enemies can destroy the tiger by shooting at it, just like Reyna’s bullet or Killjoy’s tower.

Guiding Light is a hawk – inspired by the brown hawk, Grossman said – that blinds enemies when activated. The falcon curves with your crosshair, just like Phoenix’s Lightning or Jett’s Smoke, but it flies much further and higher – making it possible to get through high lightning bolts over walls or through windows, as seen in the trailer below. Like the Tasmanian Tiger, enemies can shoot the hawk down before activation.

Skye’s final ability summons three wolves that hunt nearby enemies and use myopia on contact. The effect lasts for about four seconds, but unlike the hunters’ powerup in Spike Rush, your rate of fire and movement will not be restricted if you are hit by one of the wolves.

The wolves can climb over walls, and an icon for each of the wolves will appear on the minimap. It’s a great scouting skill even when the wolves get shot down – let alone the time it takes for an enemy to react, it can rob them of the ability to cast other lightning strikes, bullets, or skills to stop an onslaught how they immediately reveal their position.

Because of this, Riot expects Skye to get a lot of play at higher levels. Teams – professional ones in particular – have already started playing around with compositions that are less Sage based, only to get a little more use on cards that are more difficult to attack. However, sage is still an Insta pick for the majority of teams, especially given how groundbreaking a solid resurrection can be.

According to Grossman, Skye’s abilities were pretty limited from their first playtest, which can be rare as it can be difficult to pin down a hero’s abilities. “Probably the biggest points of the feedback iteration were actually the ability of the guide light, the hawk to control, and their ultimate seekers. Trying to refine the play patterns around them took a lot of iteration to figure out what level of control, debuff, and types of backlash might exist. ”

“But she wasn’t a turbulent agent – we were pretty lucky with that,” said Grossman.

When the skills were locked, work began to identify Skye’s background. Grossman stated that the idea that Skye was a naturalist was linked to the summoning of animals quite early on. The first version of the character was based entirely on wolves: Skye could control a wolf, summon a pack of wolves, and so on.

From then on, the team started thinking about a character who was close to wildlife and animals, which gave rise to the idea of ​​a character who fought for the environment and natural order. Unfortunately nobody is on the Appreciation The team suggested the idea of ​​having Skye spawn a herd of falling magpies instead.

Much of Skye’s lore is not set in stone, so some important parts of Skye’s background are not substantiated. She is described as an Australian eco-warrior, but what part of Australia is she from? Grossman also couldn’t discuss whether we’d see Skye in a hero film that explored her backstory and relationship with the Appreciation World, similar to the video Jett and Phoenix received at launch.

The main focus for the Appreciation This stage is more about figuring out where Skye fits in the metagame, and up to that point Grossman said the Australian agent would scale “almost more than any other teammate on the roster” with his skill.

Your initiation skills should also help overcome problems other lower-level agents have had. Breach is a good example: the character’s flashbangs and toolkit are offensive and extremely useful in recapturing a bomb. But many of the abilities are difficult for Breach to understand due to their activation times and range, and so Breach doesn’t see as much lower-level play compared to characters who are a bit more self-sufficient.

Grossman still expects Skye to be more preferred with teams and groups of friends, though her initiation capabilities and AOE healing should make her more versatile for solo players. “Guiding Light is a very high skill skill because you can control the flash anywhere and it can still be recorded. So you have to edit it in this really special place, ”Grossman added.

“So try to position it in a spot that will blind your enemies, but not blind your allies, and not be able to be shot, but not give them time to react. So there are a ton of nuances in how you position and place this ability. I think a lot of high-level teams will have fun extracting and tweaking the usage. ”

This timing will be a crucial element in how Skye is weighed against the existing roster in the future. Grossman explained that the team – and how the developers see different heroes fit into the roster – often balances skills around the idea of ​​time. These windows are often incredibly small because developers have to consider the minimal time it takes players to respond – but also the time lost in pings and input / rendering delays.

“I never thought it would take a second for me to start working Appreciation“Said Grossman. One example was the difficulties surrounding Breach’s Blitz. During prototyping, the activation time for the Flashbang was too fast for most people to react to it functionally.

“The settlement time before it shows up, the timing we play with is in the range of” What can people react to? “Said Grossman.

“If you walk past, 0.24 seconds on the dot, people cannot react. But when it’s 0.5 seconds, most high-level players turn 100 percent off the lightning bolt. It becomes a completely useless skill that doesn’t actually do anything because people just twist it, turn it around, and then shoot you while you’re peeking. So our wriggle space is 2/10 seconds – so we can balance this ability, 2/10 seconds. And then you start to consider ping and lag. ”

Skye is added Appreciation officially from October 27th international. It comes as part of the game’s Act 3 update which includes a new map, Skybox. That is added AppreciationThe unrated modes from October 13th. Skybox will be available in Ranked Play starting October 27th.

Further additions to the game from October 13th include ranking results for immortal players just Affected by wins and losses, the ability to choose your preferred server, fewer tiers in the leaderboard for better matchmaking results, and a new set of weapon skins and Battlepass.

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