Ghanaian, 20, codenamed Astra: is the new agent of VALORANT, the Riot Games tactical shooter. Presented by the developers as an astral traveler, capable of harnessing the energies of the cosmos to shape the battlefield at will, Astra represents a completely new concept that allows its users to move at will between the astral and the real plane.
Astra’s power is to create stars to scatter across the map, visible in full. By exploiting the stars Astra can make opponents vulnerable, hit them, attract them to a single point or even create nebulous areas, or smoke, as they are commonly called. In practice, it can do everything and offers infinite strategic choices all concentrated in a single agent. With one flaw though: having all the skills available costs a lot, being able to keep up to a maximum of 5 stars.
The skills. Instead of starting from the three basic skills, with Astra it is better to start from the ultimate because it is the one that distinguishes the agent and allows you to understand how to use all the others.
ASTRAL FORM / COSMIC DIVISION (X) – ACTIVATE to enter astral form, where you can place stars with PRIMARY FIRE. The stars can be activated at a later time and alternately transformed into a pulsating Nova, Nebula or Gravity Well. When Cosmic Division is charged, use SECONDARY FIRE while in astral form to aim, then use PRIMARY FIRE to pick two points on the map – an infinite Cosmic Division will be generated connecting them. Cosmic Division blocks bullets and greatly muffles sounds.
GRAVITATIONAL WELL (C) – ACTIVATE a star to form a Gravity Well. Agents in the area are lured to the center which then collapses in an explosion, leaving anyone still trapped inside Vulnerable.
NOVA BUTTON (Q) – ACTIVATE a star to detonate a pulsating Nova. The pulsating Nova charges briefly and then strikes, stunning all agents in its area.
NEBULA (E) – ACTIVATE a star to transform it into a Nebula that acts as a smoke bomb.
DISSOLUTION (F) – Use (F) on a star to dissolve it and make it available again for placing elsewhere after a certain period. Before reentering, Dissolution briefly forms a fake Nebula in the position of the star.
For the realization of Astra the team of developers, said John “Riot MEMEMEMEME” Goscicki, designer of the characters, was inspired by Afrofuturism, even availing itself of the collaboration of a Ghanaian consultant: “In creating Astra we took a lot of inspiration from Afrofuturism. Once this was defined, everything else practically came by itself. Ascending to place his “stars” from above the map is a fundamental aspect of his kit, and we have been able to draw elements from many representations of Afrofuturism with strong cosmological connotations. From there, we also wanted to make sure his personality and character had enough real-world elements. To best represent these elements and faithfully reproduce all the details, we collaborated with a Ghanaian consultant. The space theme was a great inspiration for its creation, especially for the Gravity Well. We thought it was perfect for a character who places and transforms the stars. It was a fun way to add something that would only make sense with Astra. Its gameplay has been shaped into something unique and versatile, capable of allowing a different approach to situations than the other agents. “
At first glance, Astra will force each player to make very specific strategic choices, probably deciding to focus on the purchase of stars, and therefore on the efficiency of utility, or on weapons with power armor. Without forgetting that leaving reality to enter the astral plane exposes us to a great vulnerability: it is an agent who needs to be protected to bring usefulness. To understand if and how it will be used we have to wait very little: the debut of the new agent is set for March 2, the day of the beginning of Act II.