Rocket League Season 1 Is Here …Again

Deja Vu

In case you’re as confused as I was, no you weren’t put into a time machine. Rocket League has in fact been out for five-plus years, debuting on July 7, 2015. Epic Games has taken the reigns and initiated a massive overhaul of the ever-popular car soccer (soccar) video game.

Last week, the first steps toward Season One began with the biggest patch in the game’s history. With it came, a new Rocket Pass, better tournaments, a new ranked tier, another vehicle along with an overhauled UI, and many rewards.

Free-To-Play

Despite being five years old, Rocket League’s community is hardly lacking for players. The move to free-to-play is only going to bring in more players and make queue times ridiculously short. 

For people like me, Rocket League has always been free-to-play, since I grabbed it while it was on PlayStation’s free game of the month. But following similar popular titles like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and now even Fall Guys, a purchasable season pass as well as premium cosmetics will drive in the money.

Rocket Pass Rework

Rocket League Challenges

Any veteran of Rocket League, or just someone who knows the game’s history, knows that there’s no way that Rocket League should be in its first season. The main reason for the reset in numbering is to get better alignment amongst the Rocket Pass, Competitive Seasons and Competitive Tournaments (RLCS). So instead of moving into a season 15, we get to start all over.

The Rocket Pass’s format is familiar. Instead of the 100 levels in the past, we are only getting 70. I expect the progression to take about the same time. One thing I loved about the old Rocket Pass was that once you got beyond 100, you would continue to accumulate additional cosmetics in different variants. So the new wheels at level 28 may come back in a different color. I thought that was a fantastic touch and fairly unique in this world of battle/season passes the gaming community is in.

Accompanying the Rocket Pass will be a new challenge system to build up your points. Weekly and Season challenges will need to be completed in order to rank up even faster!

A Legendary Tier

Rocket League Competitive Ranks

Rocket League is giving us more distribution at the top by breaking Grand Champion into 3 stages. Just like all the other tiers building up to it – Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, and Champion. Rocket League has always done a fairly good job of matchmaking. Most of my gaming sessions have 1 to 2 point games with the occasional thrashing or getting thrashed upon. Here’s to hoping that continues or improves!

Beyond Grand Champion 3 will be an all-new level – Supersonic Legend.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TGalu36BHA

“and this is to go even further beyond!”

As a career-best Diamond 3 Division 4 player, you’ll have to let me know what it feels like to be at the top of the mountain.

Meaningful Tournaments

Tournament System

In the past, tournaments always seemed like an afterthought. Sign up for a timeslot of a tournament with a defined skill range and hope for the best. If you won or lost, you got nothing other than a boosted or bruised ego.

Now, up to 32 teamed tournaments will be filled with rewards and a more pronounced ranking and matchmaking system. Rocket League is introducing Tournament Credits which, when redeemed, give you access to cosmetics like wheels, decals, or goal explosions. Join with your squad or solo-queue to make some new friends!

A New Car and Additional Hitbox

Harbinger

As with pretty much every new season, there is a new car on the block. For the serious veterans of the franchise, the brand new Harbinger may not be so new. It appears to have a likeness to the Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars’ Renegade. (Yeah, we think Rocket League rolls off the tongue a bit better, too.)

Time will tell if the Harbinger can dig into the popularity of the Octane, Dominus, or fast-rising Fennec. I won’t hold my breath.

In other vehicle news, the not-as-popular Merc has received a hitbox update. This now brings the total number of unique hitboxes in Rocket League to 6.

Overhauled UI

Rocket League Goal

You’ll have to excuse me in this section. It’s most in-line with my professional background.

The UI has undergone some changes as well. The main menu looks a lot cleaner with the focus of the screen being your active car. Rocket League’s menu system continues to be tile based with altered layouts. There are two major changes that I noticed immediately.

The first is that you can only queue one type of playlist at a time. No more queuing 1s, 2s, and 3s to keep your gaming session random. The same goes for the arcade modes to switch between Rumble, Hoops, Ice Hockey, and Dropshot. If you want to mix things up, you need to manually do so.

Shamefully, that is where the biggest weakness comes in. The developers did away with the Quick Play option. This has two fronts. The first is being able to click one button from the main menu and queue up your last playlist(s) selection. Now you have to navigate into the Play screen, choose casual, competitive or something else, then make another selection before the queue starts. 

Not the end of the world. But…

However, at the end of each game, you can no longer just hit a single button to play again. You need to navigate the menu in the same way as the first. On paper, this isn’t a big deal.

But for those playing a long session of competitive duos, you now have to move off of the default casual on the first screen, then off of the default 3v3 standard on the next. Noone asked for this. This is simply horrible UX and I hope they patch back in a quick play or re-queue option.

Outside of that, the after game player accolades are now at the top of the scoreboard screen. I feel like more could have been done here as well, but this isn’t ruining the gaming experience. More so just a missed opportunity.

To end on a positive note, I do like the prompted Free Play and Garage options which have been added to the initial queue screen. Imagine, though, if the main menu WAS free play and you could hit pause to access the queue, garage, tournaments, or other settings. That would be amazing!

Faking.

If you haven’t already checked out my Rocket League Quick Chat Guide, go catch up! Added to the sometimes vast, sometimes limited selection are:

Still not sure why we don’t have “Yes”, “Yes!” or “Nice try.” but maybe they’ll continue adding more as time passes.

A Gift for the OGs

As a present, Rocket League gifted players with a custom-tailored Title – the text below your player banner. You now get to flaunt the year you started playing. As someone who spent a bit of time playing the game – 19 Days, 22 Hours, 25 Minutes, and 4 Seconds at the time of this writing (who’s counting), I’m proud to don my “Est. 2015”.

Rocket League Season 1 ends December 9

What aspect are you going to enjoy the most in Epic Games’s Rocket League? Do you plan on getting the premium Rocket Pass? Does the Harbinger look like your new main car? Is Epic Games destroying one of your favorite gaming pastimes? Are you indifferent? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Also, we just started a new podcast! Check out episode one here, where we talk about the free-to-play gaming model!

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