Game publisher Riot Games has announced that Premier, its new in-game competitive mode for VALORANT, will commence its alpha testing phase next week.
The in-game competitive mode, which was unveiled when Riot announced its expansive VALORANT ecosystem changes in 2023, looks to provide more path-to-pro opportunities for aspiring players.
Premier will form the bottom of VALORANT’s esports ecosystem pyramid. Riot Games announced that the game mode will allow players to build a team and compete in pre-scheduled matches across a season. The team will join a division which consists of players of a similar skill level. Each team will then play across a season which is composed of weekly matches and tournaments.
The best teams will gain qualification to an end-of-season tournament where they can battle it out for the title of division champion. Each season will last roughly a few weeks. It has not been revealed whether Premier will be available to everyone upon full release, or exclusive to high-ranking VALORANT players.
According to the announcement, only a select number of players in Brazil will gain access to the alpha phase. Moreover, this version of Premier will feature roughly 60% of all the planned features and functionality. Additional major features will be absent in the current alpha phase.
In Riot Games’ post, Jon Walker, a VALORANT Competitive designer, commented: “When we were designing the VCT ecosystem for 2023, we wanted to build a connection between the game and the esport through a highly competitive mode that would allow millions of players to experience VALORANT in a similar way as our VCT pros and teams.”
The new competitive game mode looks to further bolster VALORANT’s path-to-pro opportunities by presenting a goal beyond ranked play.
Riot Games has stated that by entering an early alpha state the publisher will be able to test, iterate, and gather feedback, before launching its completed version. Some of the key features that will be tested include team creation (such as logos and colours), server load, tournament play (which includes a map pick-and-ban system), the tournament system, as well as matchmaking and other general bugs.
Next year will see VALORANT undergo a multitude of changes within its esports ecosystem. This includes the introduction of three semi-franchised VCT international leagues as well as a revamped VCT Challengers system.