Valorant's upcoming path-to-pro mode is designed for aspiring esports stars

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·Contributing Reporter
·2-min read
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Valorant's professional scene will look vastly different next year after Riot Games announced some significant changes to the game's esports structure. Domestic and international leagues will be introduced in 2023. A new game mode designed to help aspiring esports stars turn pro is on the way too.

The upcoming mode will give players a chance to qualify for the domestic leagues, which will be integrated closely with the in-game tournament feature. Riot hopes the path-to-pro mode will help organizations scout upcoming talents as well.

There will be three international leagues which will respectively feature top-tier teams from the Americas; Europe, the Middle East and North Africa; and Asia and Oceania. The plan is to run competitive matches on a week-to-week basis. If health and safety protocols allow, Riot will bring teams together for in-person events with live audiences. These leagues will also serve as qualifiers for the existing elite global tournaments, Masters and Champions.

In addition, Riot will expand Valorant Game Changers, a program is designed for women and other marginalized genders in the competitive ecosystem. It will be available in more countries and regions next year. Meanwhile, third-party tournaments will take place during the off-season between official competitions.

Riot says it's working on new fan experiences and partnerships with esports organizations. Teams who are part of that program won't need to pay participation or entry fees and Riot will provide them with stipends "in return for their investment in growing the ecosystem."

The publisher is using what it learned from the success of League of Legends esports to revamp the pro scene of Valorant, which now has 15 million monthly players. Riot is hoping to build on the first-person shooter's popularity and "supercharge Valorant into the next great multigenerational esport," the publisher's head of esports John Needham told The Washington Post in a statement.

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