With Valorant emerging as an esport, it begs the question of how Koreans will perform. Will it be the same supremacy we’ve seen in the aforementioned? Or will there be a more level playing field like other titles? There’s a few points to consider. Popularity The vital factor with Korea’s skill in any game is its popularity. Originally western League of Legends players dismissed their Korean counterparts, citing their lack of experience with team-based games. They dominated. Overwatch players held a similar sentiment, citing all their past games being based around real time strategy. They dominated. The question of whether Koreans will make a large impact on a game doesn’t rely as much on what type of game it is, but more so how many people are involved with it. That’s true with all these titles, each one for a time being the most popular games in the country (StarCraft II they dominated more by proxy of the residual effect of Brood War). This led to a much larger potential talent pool, and made organizations willing to invest in said games, allowing them to fully benefit from the country’s esports infrastructure.
One of the greatest CS teams everEven if Valorant doesn’t become a cultural phenomenon, I still think Korean players can have a strong presence. Already there are a few indications pointing to Korea’s success. With the precedence set by other games, even when in the face of very challenging circumstances, there will undoubtedly be a few teams competitive enough to compete with the best in the world. Several organizations are already picking up Korean teams. No Mercy, Lunatic-hai, and most interestingly Cloud9 have all made the venture. With their history of competitiveness and infrastructure in place, Korean teams have the tools they need to get to the top. An Interesting Matchup The most interesting notion regarding this subject is that Valorant could be acting as a battleground for former professionals of very different games. Although Korea has had strong teams in most of the CS titles, it seems that most of their representatives are hailing from games like Overwatch, PUBG, and Apex Legends. From the western side of things, almost all former professionals are migrating over from CSGO. Players like Freakazoid, ScreaM, and Hiko have went all in on Valorant. To me, this a dream scenario.
Many players have made the switch.It should be really fun to see how players with very different skill sets adjust to the new game. Competitors from tactical shooters, hero shooters, and battle royale games all have a chance to demonstrate their particular disciplines. With Korean players mostly hailing from the latter two, their success may also heavily depend on how their experience transfers over. It will be an interesting experiment that we haven’t really seen before. Conclusion South Korean esports has produced arguably the best results ever. As we’ve seen, the success of their foray is quite complicated. Nobody knows how much Valorant will grow in popularity, or how the game’s mechanics will welcome displaced PUBG and Overwatch players. As far as I’m concerned I want to see the best performance possible. Korean competitors have done that so many times, pushing Western competitors to continue improving. I’m not sure if they’ll contribute to Valorant the same way they have other games, but I certainly hope so.