With the launch of Season One: Uprising, BigBox VR delivered a massive content drop that will change virtual combat and impact VR gaming overall as they continue to set higher standards for the industry with their award-winning battle royale game, Population: One.
Yesterday’s update launched a 10-week-long season that includes new weapons and items, map updates, and some fantastic social features. A tournament at the end of the season will enable top squads to battle for bragging rights and exclusive rewards.
“Season One: Uprising will challenge and reward both new and existing players,” said Gabe Brown, BigBox VR’s CTO and co-founder. “We’re incredibly excited to see how players will use the new environment, weapons, and features!”
I finally had an opportunity to hop in the game for a while last night and here’s some of what you can expect.
Throughout Season One, all players have access to a massive amount of free content and they also have the option to purchase the Battle Pass for 330 Bureau Gold, which equates to $4.99 in USD. This affordable in-game purchase gives them 13 free rewards and access to all Battle Pass tiers.
Once players have the Battle Pass, they can gain access all 50 tiers of unlockable rewards by earning XP and leveling up. There’s also the option to purchase XP for those who might not have as much time to spend in game, but want the awesome customizations that come with all tiers.
The Battle Pass and additional tiers are cosmetic only and provide no advantage for gameplay. The developers have emphasized that they want to give players as many community and personalization options as possible, but they aren’t interested in a pay-to-play system. The game is structured so that players purchase the game and can enjoy many cool features, but basically if you want to put on fancy skins or proclaim your allegiances in game, you can purchase additional customizations.
One of the first things players will notice in Season One: Uprising is the fact that the area surrounding the Tower has been fortified by the Game Bureau, the mega corporation that controls the city. There’s also a blockade bordering the Plains area of the map.
Population: One devs stated earlier this month that the Tower would open up later in the season. Players have speculated on social media about what’s inside the gigantic Tower near the center of the map. Theories range from a traditional corporate base to an opening that has access to a great ocean under the map. Several players have suggested that the Tower is actually a giant robot that’s going to wake up later in the season. While that seems unlikely, it is a possibility, especially considering the Tower Heads that roam the world in AI mode and make terrifying sounds with their stomping as they stalk you.
The map changes have contributed to a world that is visually appealing, provides opportunities for strategy and teamwork, and also is simply fun to explore. The Bureau Base has an appropriate futuristic feel and is an ideal representation of what you might expect from a near future world that has been taken over by a corporation.
New Weapons and Items
With the map changes, it’s just as important to provide weapons since the Seekers need ways to defend themselves and lead a successful rebellion.
(Bulleted item specifics listed below were posted by BigBox VR on the community Reddit page.)
Light Machine Gun (LMG), aka M60
The light machine gun enables the user to slice through defenses more easily. With the war ramping up and the uprising becoming more intense, this is incredibly useful as increasing numbers of players are taking advantage of the building materials to create defensive structures.
- LMG designed around suppressing a position with constant, powerful fire
- Fire rate starts at 50% max and ramps up the longer it’s fired, with rarity level affecting how many shots it takes to reach max fire speed
- Players holding an M60 will be slowed down to 80% their max run speed (when in-hand)
- Base magazine capacity is 75, increases by 15 per rarity level
- 22 damage per bullet
- Destroys build walls with two bullets
- Requires 4 steps to reload instead of the usual 2
The katana is very cool. I’m a fan of guns, but I greatly enjoy melee combat so it’s exciting to see the introduction of the katana and a knife to Population: One.
- Can deal up to 75 damage based on swing strength and distance
- Damage skips shield and hurts health directly
- Speeds up player movement by 10% when holding in 1-hand, slows down player by 10% when 2-handing
- 2-handing the katana produces a small personal shield
- Shield mode blocks all bullets but does not block other damage types (grenades, melee items, etc)
- Using the shield is loud, it is more stealthy without the shield active
Community member Sumatchi has created a helpful tutorial with katana fundamentals that you can check out on his YouTube channel.
Players now begin every match with a knife. It’s in your weapons wheel when you spawn on the launch ship. If you’re in close quarters and can be quiet enough to sneak up on someone, you’ll be able to stab them. Be careful not to stab yourself with it, though.
Can deal up to 35 damage based on swing strength and distance
Damage skips shield and hurts health directly
Speeds up player movement by 10% when in-hand
Automatically given to the player after leaving the launch platform (or when exiting the launch pod) and after being revived
The zone grenade is quite fun. I’m a huge fan of grenades in general and usually fill my backpack with them rather than loading up on health items. In fact, I enjoy collecting grenades, throwing them at people, and then going to find more. Zone grenades don’t kill people the same way regular grenades do. The zone grenades create a battle zone on impact that deals damage and forces players to retreat from a particular position.
- Designed to force players out of cover (anti-peek tech)
- Sticks into the wall/floor/ceiling on impact
- Deals 10 damage per second (5 damage per tick) while inside its influence
- Starts with a 15 meter radius and shrinks down to nothing over 10 seconds
- Does not hurt squadmates, but does self damage
Energy Shield Soda
While you can find shields around the map, the ability to carry Shield Pop in your inventory enables you to restore your shield when you most need it.
- Blue soda can
- Restores 25 shield over 15 seconds
- See “Inventory Management” changes below for stacking info
One of the changes made with the Season One: Uprising update is the ability to stack inventory. This is particularly useful for items such as the health sodas and shield pops, which fit 5 per slot.
Players can also stack up to two frag grenades and two bananas per slot.
Other useful changes related to inventory management include placing accessory items directly into the inventory when picked up with an offhand rather than auto-equipping in the dominant hand. Another important change is that lower rarity items now are swapped out if you pick up a same type higher rarity item.
In addition to aesthetic changes and practical improvements to the game, the Season One: Uprising content drop creates numerous increased opportunities for the community to connect and express themselves.
“The Season One update builds upon our Vertical Combat System to give players even more ways to play and create social connections, only possible in VR,” said Chia Chin Lee, BigBox VR’s CEO and co-founder.
Since I’ve never played flat games, I was completely unfamiliar with things like “sprays, titles, and calling cards.” During the Season One beta I was introduced to these things for the first time and some of the players enjoyed explaining why they’re important and how to use them since this is knowledge most of them take for granted.
For others of you who might be new to gaming or who simply want to know what these items are and how to use them, here’s a description of the new cosmetic social features that can be earned or purchased through additional tiers on the Battle Pass.
Sprays are very neat expressions that you can “spray” on the ground or walls, etc. and they can be small or large, depending on how close or far away you are when you’re spraying them on. Sprays can be equipped through the main menu under “loadout” and then you use them in the game through the ping wheel.
Titles allow players to show a bit of their personality. These are chosen in the loadout menu and your selection is then displayed under your player nametag.
Calling Cards define your in-game profile by displaying a pre-selected image and select player stats. When you eliminate someone, they will see your calling card so it’s an effective means of adding insult to injury without violating Conduct in VR policies through actions such as t-bagging.
Another cool community feature is the introduction of Seeker Credits. There is no real currency involved and you can collect up to 25 Seeker Credits per day. You can then send Seeker Credits up to 1 friend per day and they can purchase things from a Seeker Credit specific shop.
End of Season Tournament
Season One: Uprising will last ten weeks and at some point later in the season private servers will come online, enabling players to hang out in the lobby and choose who they want to play with and when they want a round to begin. This opens the door for tournaments and private events.
Many leagues and groups interested in the future of VR esports have already expressed interest in establishing tournaments for Population: One. Several individuals and clans have already host smaller events within the constraints of the current system that doesn’t guarantee participants will end up in the same lobby.
BigBox VR plans to host an end of season tournament where players can squad up to compete for bragging rights and exclusive rewards. They’re collaborating with individuals who have experience coordinating large events for traditional esports as well as people with knowledge of VR esports so we anticipate a groundbreaking event. VR Fitness Insider will share more details about this tournament as they become available later in the season.
Connect with the Community
Join the Population: One community on social media, in game, or during our upcoming Community Day. Many veteran players offer to squad up, answer questions, or share advice. There are also training videos and other resources available on various social media platforms.
- Join the Population: One Discord community.
- Join the Population: One Reddit community.
- Follow Population: One on Twitter.
About the Game
Population: One supports 18 players, six squads with three players each, per match. The unique Vertical Combat System in Population: One enables players to climb, fly, and build even as they engage in intense firefights.
Population: One is available and supports crossplay on Oculus Quest and Rift, as well as HTC Vive, Windows MR and Valve Index.