Rocket League has enjoyed increased popularity over the years, thanks in no small part to Sony offering it free to PS Plus subscribers during its first month. Capitalizing on that early success, Rocket League will finally become a full-fledged free-to-play game this fall, bringing many changes to the vehicular soccer game. Here are the key things to know before it makes the jump.
When is it coming?
The free-to-play upgrade is coming to all platforms on September 23. The current game will receive an update on September 16 to pave the way for the change. Rocket League will launch on Epic Games Store on September 23 as well and players will receive a $10 coupon for buying it there before October 23, which can be redeemed to buy games or add-ons above $15. Players who download on the Epic Game Store will receive the Sun Ray Boost and Hot Rocks Trail.
The newly free version will host a Llama-Rama event in-game during its launch weekend where players can earn rewards in both Rocket League and Fortnite.
The revamped Rocket League will bring one of fans’ most requested features to the game: Cross-platform progression. By connecting an Epic Games account to the game, players can set a primary platform. All progress, experience points, and rank from that platform will carry over to any other linked platforms.
Tokens and credits will not carry over between accounts, nor will premium DLC packs or console-exclusive items, such as Mario-themed items. Any purchased items can not be traded between personal accounts, which developer Psyonix says is in place to curb fraud. New players will need to have purchased 500 credits to trade items with one another.
Players can switch which system is their primary platform at any time, but the unlinked platform cannot be connected to another Epic Games account.
No online subscription required
Not only will Rocket League be free, but fans will not need to purchase additional online services to play it. The game will no longer require a PS Plus or Nintendo Online subscription, similar to how games like Fortnite work on those platforms. Anyone who downloads it will be able to go online and start playing for free on any platform as long as they have an internet connection.
Changes to challenges
The free-to-play transition won’t just change the game’s price. Psyonix is bringing tons of changes to Rocket League, including a complete overhaul of its challenge system.
All players will have access to weekly and seasonal challenges with three new challenges added each week. Seasonal challenges are longer with multiple progression steps throughout a season, and premium pass owners will get double the amount of both challenges.
In addition to those, players will receive driver challenges, which reward items that were included in the base game before its free-to-play launch. Weekly challenges are only unlocked after completing these or by hitting level 20.
Challenges will become the primary source of earning rewards, replacing the current experience points-based system. The game will get a new challenge menu where they can track progress and claim drops.
The biggest new feature coming to Rocket League is the Competitive Tournament, a ranked mode where 32 teams of three compete in a single-elimination format. Each region will have different tournaments scheduled every day.
Winners receive a title showing off the rank of the tournament they won, while those who win three tournaments of a similar rank get a more colorful one.
Players will receive a new currency called Tournament Credits for making it through any first round or beyond. The higher the tournament rank, the better the credit payout will be. Players will receive more rewards for doing three placements every week. Credits are used to unlock cups, which contain customization items of increasing rarity. Items can be traded in exchange for a tournament item of a higher rarity.
Psyonix is including strict restrictions to discourage people from quitting mid-tournament. Doing so will result in a three-hour tournament ban, on top of a 15-minute matchmaking timeout. Repeat offenders will receive a 24-hour and then seven-day tournament ban. Dropouts will not earn any rewards either.
Tournament matches will not have infinite overtime and instead cap out at 11 minutes with a coin toss deciding the round’s winner.
Ranks and seasons
With all of the changes coming to the competitive scene, ranks will receive a refresh. Grand Champion will be split into three different ranks and a new Supersonic Legend rank will be added. Players at these high levels will receive season-specific awards and titles.
Psyonix says that lower ranks are being shifted to account for new players. The developer notes that current players will be matched into higher ranks when competing in placement matches so they don’t get matched with newcomers.
On top of those competitive changes, the standard solo playlist will leave the game at the end of the current season.
Seasons will be streamlined to better suit all the changes, with competitive modes, tournaments, and Rocket Pass all following the same schedule. The game will launch at season 1 with set start and end dates for all activities.
Welcoming the newbies
Tons of little changes will come to make the game more accessible for new players. Psyonix is adding a tutorial to teach new players the buttons and on-screen HUD. A new bot difficulty is coming, which is lower than the bottom rookie rank.
A few tweaks are coming to the game’s communication tools as well. New quick chat options, such as “faking” and “on your left,” will be added. New players will also have voice chat disabled by default.