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Rocket League

04 Sep 2018

Rocket Pass: Psyonix' answer to the Battle Pass

Photo Credit: (Psyonix)

The Psyonix assault on all things dull is in full swing, with this Summer bringing some fantastic content to everyone's favourite vehicular gladiatorial genre-bender, and the 5th September sees the release of Rocket Pass. We're here to examine the new feature in all its glory. What is it? How much will it cost? What do you get? Read on for all the juicy tidbits.

Rocket Pass brings a tried and tested formula to an already well-established bag of tricks. Much like the season passes in other popular titles Rocket Pass is a time-limited event that will enable access to new content that will enable you to trick out your battle car to your heart's content. Access to the Rocket Pass is free for all, but a premium Pass will provide massive XP boosts that further help to facilitate that; with the premium Pass you'll receive a new item at every level, while the free pass will limit players to a reward every few tiers you surmount. When you hit 70+ you're looking at some high-grade items that are potentially unique. This could be something as simple as a specific colour scheme for your item, or one of your own stats emblazoned on it. I go weak at the knees for little personal touches like that so that's pretty damn cool in my eyes.

As mentioned above all players will take part in this event, with the free pass also unlocking access to new items, albeit at a slower rate and lower levels of quality and rarity. Freebies don't come with the XP boost so you'll find yourself collecting the same basic rewards as everyone else. If you're like me that doesn't bother you, but if you need to have the latest and greatest of everything you're going to want to purchase one of those premium bad boys.

Is it a good thing? On the face of it, sure – who doesn't love new stuff? I'm all up in those new rims, baby. One of the core elements of Rocket League beyond the obvious re-playability is the epic level of customisation available to the player when it comes to the vehicle used to dominate your opponents. I mean, let's face it – the whole shebang can be an aesthetic marvel to behold. The pop culture references are genuinely rib-tickling and the graphics are seamless; the cosmetics of this game are almost as good a reason to play as the allure of the action.

On the other hand I know some true sceptics that don't welcome features like this. I've spoken to some who believe things like this are akin to exploitation of easily swayed young gamers (and their parents), and that they're indicative of a trend in video games and modern marketing within the industry: a weird parody of aristocracy in the digital age whereby money entitles you to more than does hard work. Of course most gamers don't bat an eyelid at this kind of tactic from developers – you're either old enough to know the score when it comes to paying through your nose for good content or you're young enough that this has always been your reality as a customer. as

Would it be going too far to suggest that tactics like this bring an upstanding and respectable post-release service like the one Psyonix currently operates closer to a far less desirable “freemium” model that is not only becoming worryingly more common by the day, but that potentially drops a big steaming deuce on those huge swathes of players that can't/won't buy the Premium pass. It's not fun when you've played hard for 10 hours but that guy over there on the opposite team threw some cash at the game and bought himself some levels to make him feel he earned something, and now he looks truly badass while you just look moderately menacing by comparison. It's easy to see both sides of the argument. 

That being said where the Rocket League staff are concerned there doesn't seem to be any evidence of a real desire or necessity to further monetise something that is by their own admission already self-sustainable. Rocket League Director Scott Rudy spoke recently on the subject in an interview with Variety: 

“We didn’t even really think about it from a financial perspective. We have enough new players each month to sustain the game, frankly. It’s more about having a short-term experience that engages with players all across the spectrum. I’m a big believer in the one-more-turn compulsion – this idea that, well, I’m only one game away from getting my next tier, so let’s go again.” 

“I mean, hey, they’re all cosmetics. No impact on gameplay whatsoever. We even let the premium players pay keys to move up a few tiers. If you want the crazy hat, you can just go, man. It doesn’t really matter, you know?”  

So is it worth your time and money? For me, I personally cannot stand any kind of hack, official or otherwise, that boosts XP faster than those around you who aren't forking out money on a game they've already purchased, but that's just me. I've got too many games to play and too many mouths to feed to whip out the old credit card when some new hats become available for my virtual car. and I'm content to grind away on the same even keel as everyone else playing the game, satisfied with the money I've sunk so far into keys for things that won't make me a better player or grant me any kind edge. There's so much fantastic work being done by Psyonix to keep Rocket League fun and exciting and I'll always be grateful for free stuff, but I won't be purchasing a premium Pass personally. 

I won't lie to you by claiming that I won't be jealous of whatever awesome gear you get hold of if you grab it for yourself though. 

How do you feel about the Rocket Pass? Comment below!