If you looked me square in the eyes and said that you didn’t love the idea of a dragon-shaped gun with funny little arms — a tiny, handheld battle buddy that spits bullets and belches flame — I’d call you a damn liar. That’s the kind of admirably goofy universal appeal resting in the ammo chambers of Valorant’s first “ultra” skin set. The only problem? It costs $US100 ($144).
The new “Elderflame” skin set is comprised of four skins, all of which arrive in Valorant’s store tomorrow. The gun is just one of them. So far, Riot has also revealed a flaming knife that, along with the “Elderflame” name, suggests that this set will centre around Dragon Stuff. This is Valorant’s first “ultra”-tier set, the highest level of buyable skins in the game. Each ultra skin costs 2,475 of Valorant’s in-game currency, Valorant Points, totaling out to 9,900 for the full set. Valorant Points come in bundles, so, as PC Gamer points out, you’ll have to spend $US5 ($7) for 475 VP and $US20 ($29) for 2050 VP if you want to pick up each skin individually. Do this four times, and your wallet will be $US100 ($144) lighter.
It’s a steep asking price — one that, believe it or not, doesn’t include all the bells and whistles. You can level up Valorant skins by earning another currency called Radianite Points through the game’s battle pass, which costs roughly $US10 ($14) to buy into. Alternatively, you can just buy Radianite Points in the game’s store, with packs that cost 1,600, 2,800, and 4,800 VP respectively. Regardless, levelling up a weapon skin unlocks new visual effects, so either way, you’ve got to chuck at least a few extra coins into Riot’s cup if you want the full experience.
Many players are saying that this hefty price tag — more than an entire video game, or several hamsters — actually isn’t that bad compared to Counter-Strike weapon skins, but Counter-Strike prices are often driven by a community marketplace, not a central entity like Riot. And while the Elderflame set is not the priciest video game skins have ever been, $US100 ($144) (or even $US25 ($36) per skin, if you opt not to buy the full set) is a lot no matter how you slice it. It is 2020, and for better or worse, funny little dragon arms are the new status symbol.