Rocket League’s wackiest game modes are getting their own ranked playlists

Complete with season rewards and new titles

To the untrained eye, Rocket League is always the same regardless of how many people are playing. One-on-one, two-on-two, three-on-three — it’s all cars deftly knocking a ball around in hopes that it goes into a goal. “Soccer but with cars” is always the high-concept pitch.

There are some deviations, though. Over the game’s three-year lifespan, Psyonix has introduced some alternate game modes. Hoops is essentially basketball. Snow Day is essentially hockey — complete with an obloid puck-shaped ball. Rumble adds all sorts of zany temporary modifiers, like a plunger to pull the ball behind you and a boxing glove to punch your opponent across the pitch. Dropshot has players breaking the floor apart in pursuit of scoring goals by slamming the ball through the ground.

These modes don’t have much of a consistent following these days. At time of writing, approximately three percent of Rocket League‘s online players were in one of these modes’ playlists. Rumble was the only one to crack 1,000 players. These game types have a few very dedicated folks who prefer these modes, but they’re mostly an afterthought for the average Rocket League fan.

This fall, Psyonix is making an unexpected move in hopes of bolstering these alternate modes’ player counts. At the start of Season 9, each of these game types will get their own playlist in ranked. All of Psyonix’s wackiest takes on Rocket League will have people playing competitively.

The reason this move is somewhat surprising is because Psyonix has spent the last year committing to standardizing Rocket League as best it could. For example, the developer removed all the unconventionally-shaped arenas from ranked play and replaced them with standardized versions. Serious players wanted a game with as few unpredictabilities as possible; Psyonix seemed to comply.

Senior vice president of game development Corey Davis tells Destructoid why Psyonix thinks there’s room for both regular Rocket League and the alternate modes when it comes to ranked play. “We have standardized competitive ‘soccar’ over time based on player feedback, but that doesn’t invalidate the interest in ranked alternate modes,” he explains. “Competitive playlists are desirable to players because they give quantifiable stakes (your rank goes up or down), grant rewards at season end, and have stricter leaver penalties. Giving these incentives to our biggest Hoops, Dropshot, Rumble, and Snow Day fans doesn’t oppose our goals in standardizing the ‘soccar’ experience, it’s just offering players more ways to play outside those very carefully defined boundaries.”

Davis also clarifies that wins in these new playlists will count toward rewards at the end of each competitive season. He also says “We plan to give out unique titles per sports playlist that are different from the one you can earn by playing the core competitive mode.” 

Psyonix doesn’t yet have a firm date as to when Season 9 will begin. It’s currently just softly set as “this fall.” But that’s when Psyonix will offer some added incentive to play its most non-traditional takes on Rocket League. It just might be the shot in the arm these modes need.

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Brett Makedonski
While you laughing, we're passing, passing away. So y'all go rest y'all souls, 'Cause I know I'ma meet you up at the crossroads. Y'all know y'all forever got love from them Bone Thugs baby...