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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.

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