Welcome to Pearl, Valorant's hidden treasure under the sea
We dive into the depths of the Portuguese ocean in the new patch of Riot Games' tactical shooter.
Summer is around the corner, and Riot Games decided it was the perfect time to show us their most valuable treasure, Pearl. After the release of Breeze and Fracture, it was time for a new map to come to Valorant. This underwater city located in Portugal is looking to emerge (not literally) from the ocean depths and bring new strategies, line-ups and possibilities to the tactical shooter. But this is not the only implementation that comes with patch 5.0, as it will also include a new rank, a unique collection of skins, another battle pass and a last minute change that some of you probably won't like. So, let's dive into it!
Starting with the new map, Pearl is structured as a three-way scenario with two sites where attackers will have to descend to the defenders' territory to plant the spike. For the first time, there are no teleports, ropes, interactive doors or other map mechanics that affect the gameplay in Pearl. This is to make it more straightforward and direct, so you can expect a lot of action and 1v1 duels here. There are two long corridors on the sides and one central area, which most likely will be one of the main points of conflict. Given the long distance of both right and left sides, we will probably see some Operator action going on with the release of this map. Another interesting feature is that it includes plenty of ways to boost your character into boxes, platforms and different elements from the environment, which will be an advantage for agents like Raze, Jett or Omen, who will be able to get a better position to kill their enemies.
As for Pearl's design, "o Santuário" is inspired by Portugal, and it not only includes paintings from real Portuguese artists, but also music. While we are playing we can listen to a fado, a traditional folk music genre from this country, and its melody echoes all around the map. So, if you're a fan of Portuguese culture, you will definitely love the atmosphere and the level of detail of this map. Also, if you take a look around, you will notice how the city is completely underwater, and you can even see a "sky" of boats floating if you look up. Brian Yam, art lead on the Valorant maps team explained that they wanted to show the sustainability of underwater cities in a world that is facing climate change. To that end, Portugal seemed the right location.
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But this map is not the only new content that comes with patch 5.0. It will also include a new collection of skins, Prelude to Chaos, that have a dark and provocative line of design. Players will be able to express their power through the weapons included in this bundle, which will cost 8700 VP and will include: Vandal, Operator, Shorty, Stinger and a two-handed sword. Of course, all the skins come with exclusive animations and finishers, which will delight players when defeating the enemy team. Also, the battle pass follows the same steps, and will allow players to express their power through the new Shimmer, Task force or Spitfire collection. So, if you really like to show how powerful you are in-game, you better start saving to buy the new collection.
As for the competitive mode, this patch will see the addition of a new rank between Diamond and Immortal. Starting from this new act, the implementation of this rank, Ascendant, will allow a better distribution of players across ranks in order to define the skill level of every player. People in this new rank will be able to group up with players that are three ranks above or below, and this will be the new highest placement allowed at the beginning of the season.
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Last, but not least, there was a final minute update that has to do with the elimination of Split, one of the oldest maps of the game, from both the competitive scene and ranked system. As Riot stated in the patch notes, this is temporary, and one of the main reasons is to prevent new people who just started playing the game from having to master such a large number of maps. The community's response was not so positive, given that it has been in the game since the beta, and most of the players were already familiar with it. For some of us it will be really hard to Split up with this map. Make sure to be ready for the release of all the new content that is coming to Valorant on June 22.