Riot Games Addresses Lack of Tier 2 Scene in Valorant With Esports Overhaul
The Valorant Champions Tour has been a massive success with some of the biggest organizations in the world being involved in the competition. But one of the glaring problems of the current competitive circuit is that there is no tier-two scene where teams that do not make it to international VCT events can compete in. It is a concern that was voiced by Jacob “pyth” Mourujärvi of Bleed Esports and Alter Ego coach Andi "Sleepy" Andana Bangasawan in interviews with AFK Gaming. Riot Games is overhauling its competitive esports format for 2023 to bolster regional events.
What will Valorant esports look like in 2023?
2023’s competitive circuit will look a whole lot different with Riot Games focusing on grassroots level competition and regional events:
New grassroots program
Riot is planning to launch a new in-game competitive mode where every player will be able to envision their personal path to pro. This system will directly integrate into the competitive circuit, and it will provide deserving players an entry into regional competitions.
Domestic leagues (Challengers events) will continue to offer a gateway into the Valorant Champions tour main events. They will now integrate with the in-game tournament mode to provide greater levels of accessibility for grassroots-level players who are capable of going pro.
Game Changers and third-party events are here to stay
To complement the Valorant Champions Tour, there will be more third-party events which will allow more opportunities for teams that do not make it to Masters or Champions events to showcase their skills. These events will take place during official competition off-seasons each year.
Game Changers will continue to support women and marginalized genders. In 2023, Riot Games will be providing more training sessions to aspiring talent who want to make it to Game Changers. Riot revealed in its official announcement that it wants to see “all genders represented across every level of VALORANT competition.”
League events to serve as a gateway to world championships
The format of the qualification events for VCT Masters and Champions is about to change drastically. Teams will participate in a league system instead of the usual double elimination bracket competitions we are used to seeing currently. Franchising is about to become a part of Valorant esports with Riot looking to create a “long-term partnership model with a select number of teams” in each league.The publisher wants to “secure a foundation for long-term planning, deep investment in the ecosystem, and more engaging celebrations of fandom.”
There will be three leagues in 2023 which will be divided as follows:
League 1: Teams from North America, Latin America, and Brazil
League 2: Europe, Russia, Turkey and the Middle East
League 3: Southeast Asia, Korea, Japan, South Asia, and Oceania
Both the VCT and Game Changers circuits will continue to have their respective world championship events. Riot has kept the details about how the leagues will function under wraps but it has promised more information in the coming months.