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Valorant: Everything We Know About Harbor

A relative newcomer to the tactical hero shooter scene, Riot Games' free-to-play "Valorant" has already made an impact on the genre. Similar to titles like "Counter Strike" and "Overwatch," "Valorant" pits two teams of five against each other in a variety of game modes and boasts a wide selection of characters players can enjoy. With a stacked roster of agents to choose from, Riot Games has announced its latest addition: Varun Batra, but you can call him Harbor.

Born in India, Harbor is portrayed as quick-witted, warm, and ready for battle whenever he steps into the arena in "Valorant" (via The Indian Express). Designated as a Controller agent, Harbor's primary role in any match will be to manipulate the opposing team by obscuring their vision and forcing them into vulnerable positions so more hard-hitting allies can easily dispose of them. But what makes this new agent special and how does he compare to others already present in the "Valorant" universe?

Harbor controls water

On October 13, the official "Valorant" YouTube page published a video showcasing Harbor's gameplay and his abilities, all of which relate to water in some way. At one point, Harbor uses a trail of vertical water to create a smokescreen across the map, giving his squad the element of surprise when attacking. This skill can move through walls, carve up the playable area, and conceal doorways.

The benefits of Harbor's water manipulation extend beyond the smokescreen ability, known as High Tide. He can use Cove to form a shield that bullets can't penetrate and protects any squad mates that seek refuge inside of it. Harbor can also call upon Cascade, which follows a similar concept to High Tide, unleashing a wave that moves in the indicated direction. Both abilities slow opponents who get hit by them. His ultimate, Reckoning, forms pools around enemies and disorients them, leaving them open to attack.

The first Indian agent

"Valorant" has long been a proponent of diversity and representation. The game has incorporated agents who hail from the United States, Ghana, South Korea, Morocco, and many other nations. Continuing this trend, Harbor originates from India — the first "Valorant" character from the country. Speaking to The Indian Express, senior game producer John Goscicki detailed Harbor's development process and his role within the "Valorant" universe. Through Harbor, the team sought to deliver an authentic and sensitive portrayal of Indian culture, along with "an aspirational" and more down-to-earth agent.

"We watched tons of movies from Bollywood and different film industries within India, read books, talked to a bunch of writers to try and get the inspiration behind the new agent," Goscicki explained. "When you load up the game, and you see the swath of characters, you see someone who can represent your culture and your lived experiences in some way. We wanted to expand that into India and the wealth of human experiences, culture, food, and entertainment."

Riot made Harbor to counter Viper

Riot approached Harbor's kit with other agents in mind. Specifically, the studio designed him to counter other Controllers — Viper in particular. "We set out to create a Controller that didn't have to go off into another world or look at a map to place their vision block," game designer Alexander Mistakidis told Sportskeeda. "We also wanted to create an agent that could compete with Viper on the maps where she is almost exclusively played."

As mentioned by Mistakidis, Harbor doesn't need visual aids to lay down a vision-blocking High Tide, allowing players to use this ability at their own discretion and even when unable to see its exact placement. Of course, deploying his skills to the greatest effect will require a bit of practice. Given his utility, Harbor could soon outrank Viper as the top Controller pick on the Breeze, Pearl, and Icebox maps after his debut on October 18.