VALUING is now officially one year old. Granted, it’s only been a short while, but Riot has already offered a lot of content about his universe to delve into.
The developers of Riot have slowly revealed more about the history of VALUING, offering clues to the lore via cutscenes, cosmetics, and agent dialogue lines. Lore-loving fans can dig through all the information and create theories about VALORANT PROTOCOL, Radianite, and the mysterious Kingdom company. Lore lover Cynprel discussed the tactical shooter storytelling with Dot Esports sharing his rumors, leads, analysis and hypotheses about the universe of VALUING.
Here’s all you need to know about the history of VALUING.
First Light: The Beginning
Around 2039, an intriguing event struck Earth (or Earth-1) that drastically changed the daily lives of all of its inhabitants, according to an article by Polygon released in March 2020. Called “First Light,” the unusual event helped humanity develop revolutionary technologies using a new source of power called Radianite. And even more importantly, some received special abilities after First Light as a gift (Phoenix, Astra, Sage etc.). These “Radiants” were then recruited by a shadow organization to be part of the VALORANT PROTOCOL (VP), keeping Earth safe with other agents who use Radianite technology for combat (Killjoy, Breach , Raze etc.).
A company called Kingdom began harvesting Radianite from Earth after First Light and is now responsible for three quarters of the world’s energy production.
VALORANT PROTOCOL and Kingdom nevertheless share some links. Brimstone and Viper, who co-founded VP, were previously employed by Kingdom along with Omen and Killjoy. And these are the first 4 VP members, potentially, to have been made aware of the effect Radianite has on Earth through their dealings with Kingdom.
Although Kingdom is not directly a part of the main conflict of VALUING, according to Cynprel, they still share a responsibility in the post-First Light events.
“Kingdom is unethical,” Cynprel explains. “I would compare them to something like Amazon, but with invaluable resources available. They are bad, in the sense that they treat the Earth and, sometimes, the cultures and its people badly. They downplay the true dangers of Radianite and show no sign of willingness to let go of their cash cow, in the sense that the world will have to keep an eye on them. ”
The disaster in Venice
The first cutscene of VALUING, DUELISTS, takes place 10 years after fans got their first glimpse of the VALORANT PROTOCOL, with Phoenix chasing a hooded Jett to secure a “package.” The hot-handed duelist ends up missing his mission nonetheless, and the trailer shows a cataclysmic scene with much of Venice shattered.
The Ascent map is the product of this destructive event, which becomes a battleground for players to oppose. But there is something special about the scenery all the same, especially with two unusual rifts hanging above their heads in the game.
Creative director David Nottingham explained in a blog post earlier in the week that the explosive device using Radianite, which players refer to as the “Spike”, was the culprit. With Radianite capable of destroying an entire city, it might not be the “clear and secure” power source people thought for a decade.
“It is not known why the Spike, in this situation, lifted the Earth,” Cynprel explains. “There is no dialogue to suggest that this would happen every time the Spike is used. So we think there is some kind of unstable Radianite, or a greater amount of Radianite than suspected, and that some thing went wrong, that the Spike had malfunctioned. ”
The change in public perception of Radianite would have dramatically affected Kingdom and its profits. The company released an ad stating that the Radianite was “completely secure” as seen in the cutscene. DUALITY, many believe that the source of energy was included in the disaster in Venice. As a result, Kingdom’s stock has historically collapsed.
Duality: Mirror Agents
One of the biggest revelations in the universe of VALUING appeared in the DUALITY cutscene, which was shown over the VCT Masters Two Grand Finals weekend, where it became apparent that each agent had a mirror version of themselves to capture the Earth-1 Radianite stockpile.
The spectators, and the naive Phoenix, are simultaneously learned of the existence of their clones. When the Duelist was hunting a mysterious form on Bind, he discovered he had shot himself, or rather a clone. This piques his curiosity and he asks Viper, “How come they look the same as us and why do they want our Radianite?” It is clear that Viper, Killjoy, and Brimstone already knew of this information, but Phoenix had been left in the shadows.
The trailer ends with the Mirror Agents discussing their botched mission, deciding to send entire teams to attack Earth-1. Then fans got to see the two Earths side by side, suggesting that one (or more) other worlds exist in an alternate reality.
In terms of the basic gameplay, a mirror world is a very good way to explain why the teams of VALUING can have the same agents. This avoids the narrative dissonance that Nottingham talked about, where characters and a story don’t sync up with actual gameplay. While there are mirror versions of the Agents, the attacking side certainly plays the role of the sinister clones seeking to destroy parts of Earth-1 with the Spike and take his Radianite. Defenders, on the other hand, could be the VALORANT PROTOCOL tasked with keeping Earth-1 safe.
As Riot continues to unveil more layers of the universe from VALUING, more questions continue to be raised: who are the mirror agents? Why do they want Radianite from Earth-1? Are there two or more parallel universes? And where does Kingdom fit into all of this?
The origins of mirror agents are unknown. But Cynprel hinted that the First Light might have had something to do with their creation, as it was a “massive energy release.”
But one of the most intriguing mysteries is figuring out the purpose of the Mirror Agents for attacking the Earth-1 Radianite stockpile. There are, of course, community theories. But Riot has yet to confirm them.
“This is either because the Earth simply does not have enough Radianite, or that it needs more than there may be on Earth to build something or continue the advances,” Cynprel said. “They are potentially further ahead in the timeline and something is happening to their Radianite, forcing them to trust Radianite from other Earth.”
If Mirror Earth is ahead of Earth-1 in terms of temporality, that would also explain why they are further ahead. The Spike, for example, was a device alien to the Agents of Earth-1 in the DUALITY cutscene. But Killjoy’s defuse line of dialogue in the game (“Oh no no, you don’t deserve my inventions”), potentially refers to the mirror version being the creator of the Spike. In the cutscene, we also see the Mirror Phoenix teleporting back to his team via a rift. This is potentially something only clones know about.
We do not yet have all the answers to these questions, but the second year of VALUING will certainly be full of lore.