Rocket League switching to standard-shape arenas only

Novelty can be novel but Rocket League [official site] is falling back on the familiar. Developers Psyonix are planning to switch the carball ’em up’s map rotation to only standard-shaped arenas, not any with dips or knobbly bits or other weird tricks. And like they did with NeoTokyo earlier this year, they’re making standardised versions of the Wasteland and Starbase ARC irregular arenas. Psyonix say they aren’t that popular and the inconsistency detracts from the game. Both the Competitive and Casual modes will feature standard arenas only, though oddities will still be playable in private and offline matches as well as some on the experimental Rocket Labs playlist.

The first non-standard arena arrived in 2015. Since then, Psyonix said in yesterday’s announcement, they’ve been listening and assessing feedback.

“While we still value the variety that non-Standard Arenas brought to the map rotation, we no longer think the benefits outweighs the downsides they bring,” they say. They explain why they’ve changed their minds:

  • We see Rocket League as a digital sport. As such, we think standardization is important and necessary to provide a level playing field and foster consistent competition across all skill levels and events.
  • We introduced non-standard arenas partly to provide variety for pro play, but they have not been embraced. Given the success of RLCS and Rocket League Esports in general, we no longer feel that map variety is needed or appropriate for the competitive scene.
  • Rocket Labs showed us that only a narrow set of arena designs would be well-received by the Rocket League community. Even the designs that more closely resembled conventional Arenas (like Octagon and Starbase) have been extremely divisive. Ultimately, the alternate layouts we devised simply didn’t add enough strategically to offset the corresponding loss in predictability and muscle memory.

They also say they “want a consistent set of rules and interactions” for all players, from newbies to the World Championship, but weren’t willing to force non-standard arenas on pro play and so they had to go.

Psyonix plan to make the switch with launch of Rocket League’s autumn update and the start of season 6.

16 Comments

  1. Nelyeth says:

    That’s certainly a good thing to do for ranked play, even if I enjoyed the occasional change of pace. I don’t get why they would remove it from casual play though.

  2. shinkshank says:

    That sucks a lot. Competitive, fine, I can accept it for competitive, but I don’t want standardized maps in casual matchmaking. Different maps meant different playstyles required, a little adaptation and changing of play instead of doing the same stuff every round. I frikkin love Wasteland, the wideness and slight curve changes things just a little in a way that I greatly enjoy.

    The idea that having a slightly different ramp on one map is somehow too much for people to handle is absurd to me. I’m always disappointed to hear that a game’s design choices are made to support a pro community’s muscle memory instead of providing new challenges to master on top of the old ones.

  3. Sp4rkR4t says:

    I’m saddened by this, I really enjoyed the non standard maps and I think this moves limits Rocket Leagues future, after all if you are not going to change the map then eventually it’s going to get dull.

    Having said that 1000+ hours in and I’m nowhere near bored.

  4. bee says:

    Bummer. I spent 95% of my time in game on those maps :(

  5. pepperfez says:

    ESPORTS.

  6. Jstn says:

    If professional baseball players can play on numerous, varied fields (including things like Fenway’s Green Monster), why can’t e-sports players? So long as the fields are symmetrical or the teams switch sides regularly so that its fair, idiosyncratic elements in any given arena is just part of the game, and dealing with that is part of being a good pro player.

    • Titler says:

      This is my opinion too; there’s always been this weird perspective in gaming that mastering a tiny subset of skills to perfection is somehow far more impressive than being an all round expert. We’d expect for instance the best golfers to win the most on courses around the world, on unique holes and traditional ones… but in e-sports it has to be an exact same course, again and again, even though to my mind, the person who can predict the ball bouncing off multiple types of surface shows they have a much better understanding of physics in general.
      Maybe it comes from the particular mental inclinations of nerds, the obsessive focus upon their loves to the exclusion of all else? I suspect that their inability to adapt, rather than obsess is why unusual courses were so disliked in RL. Which sounds like I’m stereotyping people… but then again, the whole point of this change is to stereotype the RL experience down to a single course type, so how else can you respond? I don’t get it, I loved the variety.

  7. Ushao says:

    I’m rather disappointed in this. One of my favorite things when playing Rocket League with my family and friends was having fun adapting to all the different fields as they came up. It kept the variety and fun in the game for us. I don’t dislike e-sports but I do wish the variety possible in video games would be embraced rather than this dogged pursuit of keeping everything exactly the same so players can perfect the minutiae of the same boring layouts. I’d much rather see players and teams be challenged by changes in the environments.

  8. TheAngriestHobo says:

    Chiming in to add my dismay. Casual play should embrace as much variety as possible. Don’t limit what we can do when we’re just playing for fun.

  9. lanelor says:

    I highly agree with this decision. Competitive play needs to have predictive outcome, so I know what’s going to happen if I kick the ball in a particular way.

  10. Cederic says:

    I liked Wasteland. It was a very mild deviation from standard, with inexperienced players barely realising and the good players having to adapt.

    As Jstn says, the pro players should be good enough to cope with this. They’re already awesome at car control, team tactics.. the top players should also manage the arena.

  11. Orageon says:

    Agreed with most here : For Ranked, that’s okay, since the pros will practice on similar setups etc etc.
    For Casual that’s stupid, unless casual is just seen as another way for pros to practice with less consequences..

    I’d rather hace casual keep the old neotokyo, which had its fun stunts, wasteland, starbase, and even some of the labs arena that showed up with Rumble mode.

  12. ZippyLemon says:

    This makes no sense for casual unless Psyonix actively want to push non-standard maps into the same category as basketball and hockey – novelties.

    If you “still value the variety” non-standard maps bring, why sideline them so hard?

    Pros have normal ranked, freeplay, and scrims to practise in already. Let casual be for the casuals!

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