Rocket League Championship Series Returns With Largest Prize Pool in Rocket League History Plus LAN Competition
The Rocket League Championship Series had to forgo international events due to the pandemic. Still, Psyonix made a huge announcement about how the next season of the Rocket League Championship Series will look like as global conditions improve and esports organizations adapt to new policies and procedures for travel.
Outside of the WePlay Rocket League Invitational, the announcement of the new RCLS season marks the next event for international competition in Rocket League. Rocket League fans learned about the 2021-2022 season’s changes in an announcement stream hosted on the Rocket League Twitch channel. They include a revamp to the path to the Rocket League World Championship, the inclusion of new regions, a $6 million prize pool, plus a bunch of new changes that will elevate the broadcast of the Rocket League Championship Series for fans.
Let’s go over all the changes that fans should expect for the new season of RCLS.
Rocket League Championship Series: New Regions Included for 2021-2022 Season
Perhaps the biggest announcement for the Rocket League Championship Series 2021-2022 season is the inclusion of four new regions participating in RCLS play for the first time. Those regions include Asia-Pacific North, Asia-Pacific South, Middle East & North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Unfortunately, Sub-Saharan Africa will be unable to participate in regular seasonal play, including majors. Still, the top two teams competing in regional tournaments for Sub-Saharan Africa will be invited to the Wildcard tournament for the Rocket League World Championship.
The inclusion of countries like Saudi Arabia, Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia shows good faith from Psyonix that these regions have both the passion and the talent pool depth to compete globally. Players like ReaLize and Ahmad have already captured the attention of community figures in the western Rocket League, so the inclusion of these regions in the Rocket League Championship Series should give them the opportunity and infrastructure necessary to develop their talent. Not to mention, the inclusion of new regions may be able to break up the stale rivalry of NA versus Europe that has hung over professional Rocket League for so long.
Rocket League Championship Series: New Format for 2021-2022 Season
As with the previous season, the Rocket League Championship Series play will happen over Fall, Winter, and Spring Splits, culminating in the World Championship during the summer. Each split will contain three regional events that lead to a Major that invites 16 of the world’s top teams for international competition. To qualify for a Split’s Major, teams will have to lead their region in points gained from their placement in Regional Events. At the beginning of the season, all teams will have to compete in open qualifiers to make it to their region’s Regional Event. As the season progresses, teams will auto-qualify for Regional Events based on their performance on previous Regional Events, thus avoiding open qualifiers.
Both Regional and Major events will consist of 16 teams total competing in the Rocket League Championship Series for the 2021-2022 season. They will provide teams the opportunity to score points that they need to qualify for the Rocket League World Championship, with more points awarded for winning Majors and Majors event placement.
Each split will have different formats. The Fall Split features a Swiss format that results in an eight-team, single-elimination bracket. The Winter Split will showcase a Group Stage format with four groups competing against one another for placement in a double-elimination bracket. The Spring Split will place teams in a double-elimination format.
With changes coming to seasonal play of the Rocket League Championship Series, the Rocket League World Championship will also receive a facelift. The Rocket League World Championship will be divided into two main events: the World Championship Wildcard and the World Championship Main Event.
The Wildcard will consist of sixteen teams competing in a swiss format for the coveted top eight spots to qualify for the World Championship Main Event. Seeds for the Wildcard event are as follows:
- North America: 3 seeds
- Europe: 3 seeds
- Middle East and North Africa: 2 seeds
- Oceania (OCE): 2 seeds
- South America: 2 seeds
- Sub-Saharan Africa: 2 seeds
- Asia-Pacific North: 1 seed
- Asia-Pacific South: 1 seed
The Main Event will consist of eight teams who have auto-qualified based on regional performance at Majors, with the best performing region earning the most spots, along with the eight teams who qualify from the Wildcard event. The World Championship Main Event format will be four double-elimination groups that feed into a single-elimination bracket, which should bring incredible tension to the final moments of the Rocket League World Championship.
However, it’s not just the split format of seasonal play returning to the Rocket League Championship Series, but also LAN competition.
LAN and In-Person Events Return to the Rocket League Championship Series
During the announcement stream, the team at Psyonix mentioned their goal was to bring live LAN events back to the RLCS 2021-2022 season, beginning with the Fall Major in Stockholm, Sweden. With the expansion of regions and changes to the format, local, in-person play will be required for Majors for the format to work as intended. The Fall Major will be the pilot event for the rest of the season as Psyonix grapples with the logistics and challenges of planning a LAN event after two years of the pandemic. “The initial return LAN event (the Fall Major) will have no crowd and will have stringent health precautions in place for every player, talent, and staff member that is on-site,” says Psyonix. “We want to get fans back into arenas with their favorite players.”
Psyonix pledges to continue observing global conditions for in-person events. Their goal is to bring the Rocket League World Championships back to North America with an event set to rival prior Rocket League World Championships. A commitment to this growth and prestige includes a $6 million prize pool, the largest in Rocket League history. No doubt, this should make the Rocket League Championship Series and the World Championship a fascinating event for both fans of Rocket League and esports.
Additional Goodies and Changes Coming In 2021-2022 for the Rocket League Championship Series
Rocket League’s in-game esports shop will see changes as well. Players will purchase car decals of their favorite teams with designs informed by players and team management that highlight the brands and increase their visibility. These decals will also include ‘Home’ and ‘Away’ kits. Oceania and South American teams will also be included in the esports shop for the first time.
The team at Psyonix will be utilizing Unreal production assets courtesy of Epic to streamline production to bring the broadcast experience as close as possible to in-studio production. These include graphic assets that can be modified on the fly to showcase upcoming matches, along with title cards and transitions that use the Unreal Engine’s capabilities for sports broadcasting.
Overall, there’s a ton to be excited for. The 2021-2022 Rocket League Championship Series seems to come out of the past two years with engines roaring to bring fans the best experience possible.