A headshot is like a tiny home run, or the world’s most densely packed bowling strike. You hit the target as perfectly as possible. Briefly, you are akin to a god, or at least one of history’s least-awful monarchs. These moments should stand out, especially when bullets are flying and chaos reigns. Valorant’s new headshot sound, however, landed with such a resounding thud that, less than a day later, developer Riot decided to change it back.
Yesterday, Riot changed the headshot sound effect in its still-in-testing tactical shooter. Here’s a demonstration of the old sound and the new sound, via Valorant player Kenjuhijami:
The old sound is distinct. It has a kind of low resonance to it, not unlike a metal baseball bat colliding with a ball. This full, thick sound makes it satisfying. However, some players have complained that it’s hard to hear, which likely led Riot to change it. The new sound is higher and less impactful. It’s harsh, which arguably makes it more noticeable, but also seems to be leaving some players’ ears ringing.
After the update went out, fans on sites like Reddit quickly began to complain.
“The old one was very satisfying, it was actually one of my favourite design choices of the game,” said one player in a thread about the new headshot sound. “This new one sounds like scraping a knife across a metal plate. Very uncomfortable to listen to. Its not the most important thing in the world, but I hope they re-evaluate this change.”
“The old head shot noise was a huge rush of adrenaline,” said another in the same thread. “I can imagine a new player being frustrated by the early learning curve of Valorant, but those few times a game that they get a head shot—that visceral noise and massive blood explosion would keep them hooked.”
Not everybody is in agreement. Other players said that they never even noticed the original sound, or that it didn’t matter to them because, usually, if you land a headshot in Valorant, enemies drop dead—the results speak for themselves, in other words. A few, meanwhile, said they favoured the new sound, which they hear better during gunfights and while firing through smoke.
Nonetheless, Riot is changing the headshot sound back for now. On Twitter, it announced a hotfix that will drop later today.
“We’re deploying a hotfix patch to address some exploits, fix two bugs, and revert the headshot sound,” wrote the developer.
Players, for the most part, are pleased.
“This is so fast,” reads a highly upvoted comment on Reddit. “Thank you.”
While many celebrated how quickly Riot listened, one player in a thread about the reversion noted that there’s a danger to developers reacting to fans’ every whim:
“My concern is sometimes the community doesn’t know what’s good for itself,” the player wrote. “Not with any of these changes, but just in general communities are often hesitant to accept change. Sometimes the change is for the better and the dev team will just have to accept some backlash for the greater good. I remember in CSGO they went through a massive overhaul where they changed all the gun sounds. People complained [and] said they sound[ed] like toys. Now, listening back, the sound of the old guns is painful to the ears, and the new sounds are 100x better.”