Australia hasn't been officially added to Riot's closed beta for Valorant. But does that mean Aussies can't gatecrash the party? Of course not. So if you're happy playing competitive shooters with a ping disadvantage, here's how to get into the beta.
While Riot's official blog post announced that Australia wouldn't be included in the next set of regions for the closed beta, there was a great bit of news nonetheless. Drops have been enabled on all Valorant Twitch streams, provided those streamers are playing the game.
It's worth noting that it doesn't mean there are more beta keys available than there were before, but it does make the eligibility a little easier. Of course, there's still a thorny problem: Valorant access will only be gifted to players in the CIS territories, Russia, Turkey, the US, Canada and Europe.
So, how can Australians get in?
How Valorant beta access works is through a combination of connecting your Twitch account to your Riot account. If your Riot and Twitch accounts are in one of the regions valid for Valorant access, you'll have an opportunity to get into the game.
The first thing you need to do is use a VPN, either paid or free. PureVPN is one paid option we've written about before, but most free VPNs will have some form of access to the United States, which is where you'll want to connect to. (For the purposes of this article, I gave ProtonVPN a go, which lets you connect to three countries under their free trial.)
Once that's done, you'll need to head to your Twitch Settings to connect that account to your Twitch account. You can find that in the "Connections" tab of the Settings page, with a giant purple connect button on the right hand side. It'll open a new window where you'll be asked to authorise access between the accounts, and when it's done, you'll see a green check mark like so:
Once that's done, you'll want to load up a Valorant stream. To be safe, picking any stream from the list here that says "Drops Enabled" will give you a chance to get your account connected.
There's no hard and fast rule about when accounts are given access. An official Valorant blog post says accounts can be granted access after surpassing a certain amount of time watched:
Once you’ve passed a certain threshold of a couple hours watched on those streams (it’s roughly 2 and we are tracking by total VALORANT stream view time), you’re eligible for a Closed Beta entitlement drop.
Riot added that users who have watched more hours will get more preference, but it's not a surefire thing. Once you've watched a few hours, your account will be eligible for a drop without having to watch a stream:
You do not need to be on Twitch the very moment you get a drop. Take a break! With every wave of entitlements we do, you’re eligible and will be notified if you made it, even after you’ve turned off your streams.
You'll get an email linked to your new Riot account once access is granted. You'll also be able to check your account status on the official Valorant page once you're logged in.
You can download and run the Valorant launcher before gaining access, but if you try to login before being whitelisted you'll be denied. Once your account has been granted access, you'll be allowed to login and download the game.
Other Australians on the Australian Valorant Discord server who have already gotten access have confirmed that you don't need a VPN while playing. Some Aussies have gotten good success using the ExitLag VPN, which specialises in optimising routing for gaming servers. Either way, you'll be looking at somewhere between a minimum of 160ms and maximum pings of 250ms, 300ms or higher, but it'll depend on your individual connection and ISP.
One positive is that Australians will be able to connect to Valorant's Korean servers when they go live. Starcraft 2 fans will be accustomed to routing through Seoul, and it'll be a better ping than playing to the US, although the language barriers will naturally be an issue. But the matches there should be a little more playable than connecting to Los Angeles or either coast on the US.
Of course, you'll still be at a significant disadvantage. But that's the trade-off you make. Playing early can be fun, and beating Americans with a high ping is definitely entertaining. It won't be as good as the Valorant experience when Australia and New Zealand is officially added to the beta, though, so keep that in mind when you're going through the steps above.