Since Valorant is a first-person team-based fps; there is going to be a large focus on footsteps and audio cues.
These cues can lead your team to winning the round or vice versa.
Now, Riot has responded to some claims regarding the audio.
Ask Valorant #6
The sixth iteration of the QNA series that the developers hold with the most common question in the scene was posted the other day.
They addressed a wide array of questions, from 'What are your thoughts on the opinion that “the Operator is too OP”?.
To the one, we are most concerned with, and that is how players are noting they may be hearing incorrect audio cues while playing. Some players have noted that footsteps can either appear closer or farther away than they actually are, and this can be problematic for anyone.
Riot responded with the following:
"I've also heard feedback around the fact that people have a hard time telling how far away a footstep is, which there is truth to. We optimize for making sure footsteps are heard, as opposed to optimizing for portraying distance. What this looks like is an attenuation curve that is somewhat flat, versus one that drops off a lot over distance. There are a couple reasons we do this. One is that under chaotic conditions where abilities are being used and you are probably hearing a lot of VOIP from your team, it is essential that you don't miss a footstep."
"Another reason for this is that we don't want to give players the incentive to turn their volume up to painful levels because they have to listen for faint audio cues to be competitive, or to add external DSP to compress their audio (which happens for some other FPS games.) If the game designers want you to have the information, we want you to clearly have the information."
"We currently mix the game in stereo, meaning there is no difference between a sound 45 degrees to your left in front of you and a sound 45 degrees to your left in the back of you. Some people expect to be able to hear this difference, but that is not currently possible.”
So, it appears the audio you are hearing is not broken after all!