Riot Games is bringing a new game mode to Valorant and long-time players of first-person shooters might feel right at home. Escalation, which arrives on February 17th, is Valorant's version of Gun Game, a mode that's been a staple of franchises such as Call of Duty and Counter-Strike for many years.
“In designing Escalation, we wanted to create a quick, low-stress Team Deathmatch mode with high uptime that's fun to play socially with friends," Kyle Leach, an engineer and designer on Valorant's Modes team, said in a statement. "We're hoping to provide players with an opportunity to practice gunplay across the entire arsenal and experience some abilities in novel ways, while providing a shared objective that benefits from some coordination but doesn't require it for a team to succeed.”
Rounds in the standard game modes begin with players buying weapons and abilities. That won't be the case here. Instead, you'll have a randomly generated set of 12 weapons and abilities that both teams have to work through, from the most lethal tools to less effective ones. The idea is that the more kills you get, the worse your kit gets, so the match becomes increasingly difficult. If your squad racks up lots of kills quickly, the opposing team will have better loadouts (at least on paper) and a decent shot at catching up.
That might all seem familiar enough to experienced Gun Game players, but Valorant takes a different approach in that Escalation is team-based. You'll be able to help your teammates progress to the next weapon in the cycle, but only players who rack up at least one kill will advance to the following gun or ability. When your team reaches the last stage, however, the entire team will have the final weapon/ability. TL;DR: Just kill the enemy team.
If 10 minutes have passed and there's no winner, whichever team is leading at that point will claim victory. As such, players who might not have at least 30 minutes to spare for a competitive match will be able to use Escalation to get a quick Valorant fix. It should also give you a fun way to try different weapons and abilities in a low-stakes game.