They’ve been promising it for a while but it’s finally here: Rocket League on Free to Play (F2P). But what does this really mean for fans of the game?
Well, Psyonix spelled it out in the press release announcing the move to F2P: “We’re revamping and improving major features like Tournaments and Challenges, and introducing cross-platform progression!”
So far, so good. But there are some Rocket League regulars who want to see more from the game’s developers, especially in light of the fact that there is about to be a huge influx of players into the game once it goes F2P.
Server worries aside, of course, it’s easy to carp about Psyonix from the sidelines without really making any sort of constructive proposal. So with that in mind, here are four areas which we think Psyonix can improve as the game readies itself for F2P:
1. Competitive Options
Back in April 2018, Patch v1.43 was released by the game’s developers. The patch allowed Rocket League players to create and join tournaments.
However, since then, the patch has hardly been used.
Elsewhere in the online space, many game creators offer regular official tournaments on their platforms, giving people a greater diversity of competition than Ranked or Casual one-offs.
This isn’t simply happening on classic console game apps either. For example, Chess.com offers almost hourly tournaments for punters to sign up for and play in.
If Psyonix want to maintain interest in the game after the novelty of F2P has worn off, updating their competitive formats could be one way of generating a longer-term interest.
We know the Tournaments system will be improved but it has to become a system that has something on the line to play for.
2. Club Potential
Released in August 2018, Patch v1.50 has enjoyed more success than its predecessor, v1.43. This was the patch that brought us “clubs”.
Although a lot of people are members of clubs, there are questions about what club membership really offers the Rocket League community.
Yes, it’s fun having a little tag in front of your name. And the cool colour options are exciting for a little while (although if, like me, you suffer from a level of colour blindness then sometimes they can play havoc).
But beyond this, Psyonix really haven’t thought through the whole club experience on Rocket League.
As several people have suggested time and time again: Why not introduce club leaderboards, for example, so that you can rank up as a group? Even something this simple might offer another angle to Rocket League that makes the game more attractive as a playing experience.
There are many other aspects that could be brought into the clubs aspect of Rocket League but, so far, they remain untapped.
3. Community Experience
Both of the suggestions offered so far touch on the same intrinsic issue: it seems like Psyonix are focusing too much on the esports side of the game and forgetting the fact that, in its most basic form, Rocket League is a game played by millions of normal people who just want to have fun.
Of course, the irony of the F2P shift in Rocket League is that it’s being used by Epic Games as a PR drive to bring people into RLCS X. But it’s vital that they don’t forget that both sides of the game are important.
The fact of the matter is, you can’t simply make the game F2P without making sure the immediate consumer experience matches what the majority of players of the game want.
Founder AlexKF also mentioned in a recent interview how the shift in RLCS is a good move. The idea that a games company truly commit to their community is vital for other teams and orgs to get involved.
There are so many potential improvements here:
- Revise the ranking system to make it more workable. This is all the more necessary in light of the fact that the game is going F2P.
- Make it easier for players to spectate on games within the platform. This will allow a more social aspect to the game.
- Develop a market place for players to buy and sell items on rather than using a third-party website. Dota2 earns millions of dollars in revenue by taking a cut of sales from their market place.
There are countless other suggestions possible here. But the important thing is this: for Rocket League to remain successful, it has to offer a social space where people can have fun together.
4. Creative Training
It’s not just on the competitive side that Psyonix have let things slip. The training facilities in game could be improved too.
Since the game appeared in 2015, the only improvement that Rocket League has seen in terms of training is the expansion to include training packs. Fun as these are, though, the game is still fairly limited to firing balls around in an empty arena.
Anyone who has used BakkesMod will know that there is already a lot more than could be done with training.
Here’s an example of what you can do with BakkesMod to develop more creative training systems in-game:
The difficulty behind improving at Rocket League is one of the reasons why people give up at the game (and one of the reasons why platforms like GamersRdy exist). Psyonix should recognise this and do their best to make training as fun and accessible as possible.
It’s hard not to be excited about Rocket League going F2P. The game will receive an influx of new players and this can only be a good thing.
We know that there will be improvements coming very soon including a interface overhawl and plenty of new features. However, Psyonix need to think in the long term and make the game itself – as a game played by millions of people around the world – as satisfying an experience as possible.
If they can crack this, then they’ve cracked gaming.