Rocket League Esports heading toward mainstream status in 2022
Last week, Psyonix announced a new push for Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) with a revamped format, region expansions and a massive $6 million prize pool. The RLCS 2021-22 season roadmap also features an exciting collaboration with Epic Games in augmented reality (AR) technology. Meanwhile, WePlay Esports and Alienware push their own third-party tournament series across the ecosystem to further bolster the scene.
All these moves entice the Rocket League community with a better esports viewing experience while also supporting the sprawling Rocket League scene.
Rocket League Championship Series Format Changes 2021-22
The RLCS 2021-22 will feature a circuit-based league, covering seven regions, including three new regions, namely the Asia-Pacific North (APAC N), Asia Pacific-South (APAC S) and Middle East & North Africa (MENA). We believe the new expansion is an inclusive movement to providing a nurturing hub for the respective regions’ talents to shine.
That said, the first regional event begins this Fall 2021, but with a brutal open qualifier. It means even pros need to be concerned about qualifying for the Fall 2021 regionals if they plan on competing in the Fall 2021 Major. Nevertheless, well-performing teams from previous Regional Event can auto-qualify for the following regional.
- Fall Regional (Oct 15 – Nov 21, 2021)
- Fall Major (Dec 8 – 12, 2021)
- Winter Regional (Jan 14 – Feb 27, 2022)
- Winter Major (Mar 24 – 27, 2022)
- Spring Regional (Apr 29 – June 5, 2022)
- Spring Major (June 3 – 5, 2022)
- Worlds Championship (June 30 – July 3, 2022)
After the Fall major are the usual Winter and Spring regionals/majors leading up to the World Championship. Each regional and major will have sixteen teams, where teams earn circuit points based on their performance in each event. The accumulative scores will then determine the qualified teams playing at the World Championship.
Transfer Window Period
The RLCS 2021-22 maintains its stance on the impact of roster shuffles and protects players from becoming victims of untimely retrenchment. Presumably, after each major, there will be a grace period for teams to make roster changes without any point penalty.
While the controversial policy may seem to be siding teams on kicking players, frankly, players benefit from avoiding the worst-case scenario. That being players getting kicked within days before the regional, where most teams likely already have a proper line-up.
Return of LAN events
Don’t we just miss the defining moment when screams echoed across the arena when NRG Esports won the RLCS 2019? As the pandemic subsides, RLCS 2021-22 majors will be hosted in physical venues, but are players-only.
The thousands of passionate Rocket League fans will just have to watch eagerly at the comfort and safety of their homes, until the pandemic is truly over.
An Augmented Reality (AR) collab
In other news, Psyonix also discussed upcoming AR technologies in collaboration with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine to implement the ‘Hype Chamber’. Essentially, the Hype Chamber is a rotating showcase of vehicles and a massive screen lighting up the environment.
We can expect unique team decals to be on the vehicle, serving as a fresh new look for Rocket League broadcast productions.
Of course, this isn’t just for merely aesthetic purposes but also financially support teams. The revenue share program will give a percentage of sales made from team decal skins purchased from the in-game shop.
WePlay Esports Rocket League Invitational 2021 shines through
Speaking of new technologies, WePlay Esports is certainly no stranger to redefining the boundaries of AR technology. Having showcased their AR-themed tournaments in various Esports titles, WePlay finally included the Rocket League Esports too. The WePlay Esports Rocket League Invitational is the organizer’s first take at hosting Rocket League matches. With robotic arms, rotating broadcast setup and sci-fi themed screens, WePlay’s production value is something to be impressed by.
The event itself was a blast. Karmine Corp. becomes the new EU powerhouse, after winning both the LoL EU Masters, and the WePlay Rocket League Invitational in a single day. They dethroned Team BDS as the default EU favorites in Rocket League as well.
Over at North America, Team Envy were crowned champions after beating Shopify Rebellion. It was a miracle run for both teams, as Envy went 0-4 in the opening bracket and had to steamroll through the loser bracket eliminating SSG, G2, FaZe and NRG in their path. Shopify Rebellion beat the same opponents in the upper bracket practically feeding Envy teams down below. The two set final was close for the most part, but Envy came out on top by the end of it all.
With the entire competitive scene going solid, and the overall playerbase growing, we can’t help but giggle at the perks we shall be experiencing soon in Rocket League esports.