Riot Games has confirmed the next agent for Valorant, and that agent’s name is Astra. Astra is a being who is able to wield the power of the cosmos to help her in the battles of Valorant, with abilities that can have high areas of impact. You can see some of these abilities in the gameplay footage of Astra that Riot Games revealed, or you can read up on them after the video. Astra will be joining the Valorant roster later this week.
Valorant – Astra’s Abilities:
- Gravity Well – Set a gravity well that draws trapped players towards it. After it explodes trapped players will be marked Fragile.
- Nova Pulse – Has a brief charge before concussing players within its range area.
- Nebula – Activates a Star to turn it into smoke.
- Dissipate- Dissipate a Star, returning the Star to be placed in a new location after a delay. Dissipate briefly forms a fake Nebula at the Star’s location before returning.
- Cosmic Divide (Ultimate) – Activate to enter Astral Form where you can place Stars with Primary Fire. Stars can be reactivated later, transforming them into Nova Pulses, Nebulas, or Gravity Wells. When Cosmic Divide is charged, use Secondary Fire in Astral Form to select a point, then by holding and dragging Primary Fire Cosmic Divide can be rotated around the point. An Infinity Cosmic Divide connects the two points you select. Cosmic Divide blocks bullets and heavily dampens audio.
Earlier this month it came out that Riot Games’ CEO Nicolo Laurent is being sued for sexual harassment by his former executive assistant Sharon O’Donnell. O’Donnell, who was fired by the League of Legends and Valorant developer in July 2020, alleges that Laurent asked her to “cum” over to his house while his wife was away, commented on her physical appearance, asked her underwear size, and further slimy behaviour. For rebuffing his advances, O’Donnell claims that she was punished and went unpaid for hours worked before eventually being fired from her position. The suit was filed in the Superior Court for the State of California in Los Angeles in January 2021.
The lawsuit does not directly target Riot Games, but it certainly fits with the reports, allegations, court cases and settlements that have come out of a toxic workplace over the last few years. Following reports company was sued in 2018 for gender discrimination, which they eventually announced in late 2019 would be settled for $10 million… except they’ve now backtracked and sought to take the case back to individual arbitration.
In July 2020, Laurent wrote an open letter amidst the swell in accusations emerging from across the industry, addressing the steps the company had taken since 2018, taking disciplinary action, hiring Diversity & Inclusion staff, bringing a woman onto the board of directors and more. He offered his resignation if the board were not satisfied with the company’s progress, and in the letter said, “As I write this, I’m thankful we made sufficient progress that the board kept me on. But more importantly, I’m proud of the Riot we have become, and that we continue to evolve every day.”