It's patch day for bizarro esport giant Rocket League. Teased and foretold in aeons past, today's update (the serious-sounding version 1.50) completely overhauls levelling and progression and adds a clubs system so like-minded car-to-ball aficionados can drive under a shared banner. This update also paves the way for the game's first seasonal Rocket Pass, which rolls out next week.
While this update introduces no new car models or arenas, it's a good time to take a peek if you're late to the rocket party. The game is 40% discounted on Steam until Monday, September 3rd.
While clubs are a pretty big feature, this is called the Progression Update, so let's take a peek at that. Experience and levels have been redesigned. For the more solitary creatures among us, you can sadly now only earn XP through Online Casual and Competitive matches. XP earned is now based on match length primarily, with small bonuses for scoring well, being MVP, playing multiple consecutive games or replacing a bot in a match.
Your first two wins of each day (and you can stock up to fourteen - a week's worth - of these) also doubles your XP payout. There's no longer any level cap, and once you hit level 20, the experience curve flattens out completely. It'll take just as much time to get from 80 to 81 as it did from 20 to 21. Hopefully this should make it a little easier to unlock all the shiny car-bits you want to hoard.
The big new addition this update is clubs - clans, in any other game. While limited to only 20 players per club, your crew can roll in your team colours and with a club name-tag to let people know when you're in town. When both teams in a match are representing their clubs, it will be declared a "Club Match". Both team and stadium colours will be changed to reflect this, and the scoreboard will say your club names instead of the default "Blue" or "Orange". Psyonix may also verify particularly well-known competitive clubs, letting you know they're the real deal.
This update also sets things up for the release of the game's first Rocket Pass next week. As is increasingly popular for competitive multiplayer games, Rocket League will now be running seasonal events, each with their own ladder of cosmetic rewards to climb. Fraser Brown broke it all down here, but the short version is that you can play a lot of hours to unlock extra goodies, or pay $10 for a booster to speed up your gains.