Novice Echo Arena players are invited to participate in the Rookie Cup 2021, a competitive VR esports event organized and managed by Echo community leaders who encourage positive engagement between players of all levels. Registration is open now for the July 24-25 event.

Organized through the Echo Games Discord server, community cups have become a sort of tradition when players can get to know others and experience a fun tournament without a long-term commitment. Rookie events such as this one are also nice because newer players don’t have to go through the process of seeking teammates, trying out for teams, etc.

“The Rookie Cup will be an amazing opportunity for both new players, and semi-experienced players who have never played competitively to experience the thrill and enjoyment of competitive play,” states Lazerpent, who is leading this summer’s rookie event.

Competitors

In past rookie cups, requirements have been based largely on how long someone has been playing the game. Qualified rookies for the November 2020 Quest 2 Rookie Cup, for example, were defined as players who had begun playing Echo Arena after September 1.

For the upcoming Rookie Cup 2021, players can qualify if they’ve never participated in a competitive event (defined as tournament or league participation lasting 3 or more days) and have less than 500 total games played. The goal was to be a bit more inclusive with this event regarding the definition of “rookie” so someone who has been playing the game since last summer, for example, but who has only accumulated 400 or so games can still participate in this event as long as they haven’t also participated in a league.

The stipulation related to league participation is important because the true number of games played isn’t reflected in the tablet stats, which show public matches. This means a league player could potentially have over 1,000 games and have quite a bit of competitive experience even though it’s not reflected in “total games played.” Those players don’t qualify as rookies.

Coaches

After they register, rookie players will be placed on mostly randomized teams of four and they’ll be assigned a coach to work with them the week of July 17. How they perform during the July 24-25 event will largely be determined by how much they practice and how well they learn to coordinate during the previous week.

Coaching newbies is fun and it provides an opportunity for the newer generation of Echo units to meet some of the most skilled players in the game since it’s unlikely that they’d run into them in a pub match. Many coaches also simply enjoy helping less-experienced players and there can be a fun sort of rivalry between higher ranked coaches to see who can lead their rookie team to victory or how far they can go in the bracket.

Coaches in this rookie cup will include players from the National Esport Professional Association (NEPA) pro teams:  Florida LaserSharks, New York Kings, Austin Burners, and Denver Raptors.

“The NEPA Pro teams are setting an excellent example of giving back to the community that supports them,” says Lazerpent. “Each Pro team has committed to coach a rookie team throughout the Rookie Cup event!”

Since the goal is to provide opportunities not only for experienced coaches, but those with leadership skills interested in testing the waters, anyone who doesn’t qualify as a rookie is allowed to sign up as a coach.

“The opportunity for any player to coach is one of the major focuses of the Rookie Cup,” says Lazerpent. “By having minimal coach requirements, it provides that experience for players who normally would not have the opportunity to coach!”

Format

Once registration closes on July 14, cup admins will organize and then announce teams on July 17. Although teams are mostly randomized, a few factors such as MVP (most valuable player) rate will be taken into consideration so there aren’t four players on one team who are exceptionally skilled while four players on another team are really bad.

Rosters will consist of four rookie players, but each team will also be assigned a coach who will be with them during the event. Coaches will stay in the team area or tunnels during the event and are allowed to provide instruction from that area. Although it’s traditional to use closed comms during competitive events, community cups frequently implement open comms as it encourages engagement between community members.

The Rookie Cup 2021 is open to players in North America and Europe.

  • 4v4
  • Open comms
  • 2-day event for EU/NA (semi-finals and finals on 2nd day)
  • No mixed regions for this cup. EU/NA regions will be enforced.
  • Double-elimination with a bracket reset for finals
  • Best of 3 ten-minute rounds

Registration

Rookies can register for on the Smash tournament website and coaches can sign up on the Google form.

Note:  Players will need access to the Echo Games Discord server during the tournament.

Where to Watch

The Echo Arena Rookie Cup 2021 will be cast live on the VR Sports Network (VRSN) Twitch channel with experienced broadcasters who are familiar with the coaches as well as the incoming players.

Coverage will begin on July 24 at 11 am EDT for the EU division and 2 pm EDT for the NA division.

Connect with the Community

While the rookie event is geared toward lower level players, the Echo community regularly hosts events. You’ll find opportunities for players in different regions, including Oceania and Japan, as well as groups for female Echo enthusiasts, players over age 18, older adults, etc. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to find their place within the community.

In August the Echo community will host the Sunshine Cup, an event that will be open to players of all levels. Watch for news of this event on Discord and other Echo VR social media.

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