Onward players will kick off 2020 VR esports action with guns and grenades in the first Onward Rookie Bootcamp Tournament of the year on January 11-12.

Onward Rookie Bootcamps are designed to allow newer players an opportunity to learn the mechanics and tricks of the game in a competitive setting without having to face top teams in the popular VR first-person shooter from Downpour Interactive. Instead, players who have never played on a winning VR Master League (VRML) or ESL team can join a rookie team with veteran coaches and play in the rookie tournament against similarly skilled opponents.

“We wanted to make a tournament where it didn’t feel like you were just going to get crushed,” states Traiden, head coach from Onward Rookie Bootcamp.

“There is a big barrier to entry between playing in public lobbies and playing on a VRML team,” he continues. “The difference between playing with a bunch of randoms and facing a team that practices together a few times a week is huge. You can’t just go from one to another without a lot of frustration.”

The Onward Rookie Bootcamp group began in the summer of 2018 and they held their first tournament in January of 2019. A second tournament was held in June and now coaches are recruiting for the January 2020 event.

While not everyone wants to be a competitive Onward player, there are many who enjoy the challenge and they want more than casual games. There are resources for players at every stage and skill level. In addition to the Onward Rookie Bootcamp Tournament for beginners, there is also the Onward Starter League and of course the VR Master League.

The Onward Starter League began in the summer of 2019 and helps players transition from pubs and competitive lobbies to the VR Master League. Following an Onward Rookie Bootcamp Tournament, the Onward Starter League provides players with an opportunity to gain confidence and build their skills in a league setting before moving on to the VRML.

The VR Master League is a community-driven platform powered by players. It was established in early 2017 by DaKinMan and has held regular tournaments for nearly three years. The VR Master League also partnered with Oculus and ESL to feature Onward in seasons 2 and 3 of the VR League (VRL). More recently several members of the VRML attended DreamHack to introduce VR games and talk about the community-powered league at the gaming lifestyle festival.

Baymonaco tried Onward for the first time at DreamHack with several teammates from Team Dixx.


The purpose of the Onward Rookie Bootcamp Tournament is to help newer players make the transition to these more challenging leagues so rules have been adjusted to encourage participation of the rookies in such a way that they’re not simply carried by their coaches.

“In the first tournament,” explains Traiden, “a lot of the time the team captain often carried the team. This time the team captain can only use a pistol. The captain will have to lead the rookies to victory by coaching.”

Coaches or captains are banned from using any rifles, bolt-actions, shields, and explosives (frag, C4, Molotov). Captains are allowed to use pistols with an unlimited number of attachments, as well as flashes and smokes.

Other rules will be the same as those set forth in the VR Master League. You can read those here.

A “rookie” for this tournament is defined as someone who has never won a VRML or ESL game of Onward. If someone has won only a few, but they still want to participate in the tournament, they can appeal to Traiden for an exemption.


The tournament format will be as follows:

  • Saturday, January 11: Swiss wildcard
  • Sunday, January 12: double elimination finals

During the wildcard on Saturday, each team will play five maps and teams will be randomly seeded. Those who win will play others who win so that by the end of the wildcard, the top four teams will proceed to the finals.

During the finals on Sunday, team #1 will play #4 and team #2 will play #3 in a best-of-3 maps match.


The ORB Discord server has rookies, veterans, coaches, and other Onward community members who encourage overall growth of the community and the competitive scene.

If you would like to participate in the Onward Rookie Bootcamp Tournament, join the Onward Rookie Bootcamp Discord server and check out “announcements” for more information.

Note: While the Onward Rookie Bootcamp isn’t officially affiliated with the Onward game, Downpour Interactive, or VR Master League, they do encourage and support active player participation.