Riot blew a hole in the wall of the tactical FPS competitive multiplayer scene at the start of the summer with Valorant. Games like Rainbow 6 Siege and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive have long cornered the market on team shooters for The Thinking Gamer™, but with one well-placed breaching charge they’ve crept onto the site, all sneaky beaky like.
Valorant’s secret sauce is an approachable format, honed by Riot’s years of experience with the deceptively deep, but cartoonish MOBA League of Legends. Using a clean, eye-catching art style and individual character-specific abilities similar to Blizzard’s Overwatch, the game has found huge appeal even with players who aren’t obsessive over their MMR or ranked placement.
This, along with the fact there’s no console release of Valorant (yet) means there are a lot of new PC players getting serious about getting good. And the first step to upping your game on PC, much like winning in Valorant itself, is making sure you aren’t giving yourself any disadvantages with your loadout. Here’s the best PC gaming gear to equip yourself with to get better at Valorant.
One of the main differences between tactical shooters like Valorant and all-out brawls like Call of Duty or Battlefield is the slower pace which emphasizes an importance on gathering information. Details of your opponent’s movements, their positions, and what they’re attempting to set up for can help your team solidify their defenses or attacks. There are a number of abilities in Valorant that help you do this, but sound also plays a HUGE role in Valorant. Footsteps, gunshots, even spray painting tags, everything has a defined perceptibility radius. Hearing these vital cues alongside while listening to your teammates’ callouts and communicating with them is a big part of doing well.
Headphones like the HyperX Cloud Flight S have game-chat audio balance, allowing you to quickly and easily adjust how loud the game audio is relative to your squad yelling out intel. In the case of the Flight S, the controls are right there on the earcup, so you don’t even have to mess around in the PC audio mixer. A Discord-certified mic also helps your voice come through crystal-clear when you do make the call that a B rush is coming.
Of course, once you know where your enemies are, you still have to hit them. Most first-time PC gamers get by with standard mice, but once you start to train your aim, it’s useful to have a gaming mouse with multiple DPI (dots per inch) profiles. The DPI setting of your mouse determines how sensitive it is, and the in-game mouse sensitivity options of games aren’t always universal. The best way to keep your setup consistent between games and training sessions is to have a mouse with presets and adjustable sensor resolution. Mice like the HyperX Pulsefire FPS Pro have multiple presets, something like 800/1600/3200 DPI, and typically have the ability to customize those DPI presets to your liking. This way you can swap between DPI settings in a split-second so you can optimize your sensitivity for the weapon you just picked up off of that fallen enemy. Whether you like dragging your entire elbow across the table to hit flickshots, or you’re more of a wrist warrior, getting a solid aiming foundation with a good mouse is the first step in a journey that ends with clicking on heads.
When you’re training your aim, you may find that you like a lower sensitivity, and because of that you need a little more desk space when you’re swinging your arm across the mat. Small form factor keyboards can give you a little more space without you having to shell out for a new desk, especially if your room doesn’t have the floorspace to accommodate one. Tenkeyless (TKL) keyboards like the HyperX Alloy Origins Core reclaim a bit of space by removing the numpad from the right of the keyboard. The Alloy Origins Core also gives you the option to choose between the HyperX Red and Aqua mechanical key switches. In the same way you may prefer lower mouse sensitivities, you might also prefer quicker, linear keys for your gaming style. HyperX Red switches don’t have that distinctive click that some mechanical keys have, meaning you can tap your move keys and abilities with less resistance, and that means you can rapid-tap with shorter reset times. That can be pretty useful for triggering some of the Valorant agents’ abilities on the fly.
If you’re looking to upgrade your gear for Valorant, those are probably the three most important places to start. Hopefully once you’re gaming with the right gear, you’ll find it easier to consistently improve your skills. GLHF!