Spawn. Die. Repeat. Spawn. Die. Repeat.
My experience with First Contact Entertainment’s fast-paced multiplayer shooter Solaris could’ve ended there because I very much don’t like to die and that’s all I seemed capable of. Fortunately every time I died, I heard encouraging words coming through my headset from a team of veteran players who informed me that somehow I had been dropped into a high rank game with two of the top Solaris teams. Their teammate had crashed and the game put me in as a replacement, which is actually incredibly amusing. Like a punishment from the gods or something.
Regardless, my teammates never once complained about my incompetence and rather than expressing irritation that we kept losing, when I finally managed to deal a tiny bit of damage to the enemy during one of my fleeting moments of life, they actually pointed out at the end of the match that I had two assists.
I joined the community Discord, received a warm welcome and more offers of help than I could possibly accept. This is truthfully one of the most supportive, positive communities I’ve experienced during my journeys through various immersive worlds.
“We try and foster a positive environment where everyone feels welcome,” states Dazlah, a 31-year-old who was born in the UK and then raised in locations around the world. He has spent the past six years as an educator in Hong Kong and Shenzhen and it’s in China that he was introduced to virtual reality through a six-man zombie game in a shopping mall, where he says they strapped on the headset and handed him the weapon. He has been hooked ever since.
“I picked up the Rift S in March 2020 and never looked back,” says Dazlah, who created and manages the community-run, developer-supported Solaris Offworld Community Discord server.
“I first played Solaris on the day of release [September 24, 2020] and I was super attracted to it,” he says. “I realized instantly that I wanted to put a lot of time into this game.”
People were initially excited about Solaris and like Dazlah, others wanted to see the community grow, but only a few weeks after the game released, the playerbase started to drop off. Several factors contributed to this, including the fact that the game came out three months before the Christmas Quest 2 rush and it was released only a few weeks before the launch of BigBox VR’s Population One, an immensely popular battle royale game.
In addition, Dazlah points out that there were no scrims, tournaments, or competitive events. Although the game is multiplayer, no one was organizing interactive community events so he decided to do something about that.
Athlon Champions Tournament
The first community tournament was held January 23-24 with 14-teams and sponsored prizes. The tournament was a success, and Dazlah, CyMon24XX and other leaders recognized quickly that the activity created a certain cohesiveness among players.
“Everyone got really excited,” explains Dazlah. “There were a lot of bonds and friendships made.”
Teams that participate in community events are also more likely to continue playing and participate in future events, which helps sustain the playerbase. When those veterans are then encouraged to train incoming rookies, it creates a positive growth cycle.
Athlon Champions Tournament Winners
- 1st place: Team VOID
- 2nd place: Deranged Ducks
- 3rd place: Loonies Red
In addition to the tournament, the community began hosting game nights. Players in Solaris as well as other VR games enjoy checking out other VR experiences together. In fact, some developers are even beginning to offer beta keys to players who sign up in groups. (Teaser: I’ll share a really great opportunity for one of those later this weekend.)
During Friday game nights, players suggest various VR games they’d like to try, organize everything on Discord, and then spend the evening in other VR games and experiences.
Several larger VR communities now host game nights such as this and it’s a great way to try other VR games with your friends while simultaneously encouraging friendships and even introducing others to the game you enjoy most. When groups of friendly players go into a Rec Room or Echo VR lobby and start chatting, for example, that’s a great opportunity for them to tell others they meet there about Solaris.
Rising Star Tournament
This community is incredibly welcoming and engaging with new players, offering round robin pick-up type events as well as a tournament specifically to help new players learn the ropes before the upcoming Solaris Pro League.
During the Rising Star Tournament, trainees are paired with a veteran. Each of these pairs is then combined with another veteran + new player pair. The objective is for each pair of veteran + trainee to work their way up the ranks throughout the tournament.
The event is being sponsored by Asterion Products, a company well-known for contributing to events that promote positive community interaction. Winners of the Rising Star Tournament will each receive an Aura Universal Illuminated Charging VR Stand.
Sign ups for this event close on Saturday, March 6 and currently the tournament is capped, but pairs are still being added to the queue in the event of a cancellation.
The Rising Star Tournament will be held on Saturday, March 13.
Solaris Pro League: Season 1
For those who miss the opportunity to participate in the Rising Star Tournament, you can jump right into Solaris’ first pro league!
With a set-up similar to other gaming leagues that offer flexibility in scheduling, teams have one week to complete their assigned match and report scores. The makes it possible for teams to organize their own match times around work, school, and personal schedules. The season will last up to eight weeks.
- March 10: Sign ups end.
- March 16: First league week begins.
The winning team will receive the Solaris Pro League Trophy and a VR Cover for each member.
About the Game
Solaris Offworld Combat is a 4v4 action shooter that comes to us from First Contact Entertainment, the studio behind the popular PSVR title Firewall: Zero Hour (2018). Unlike the team-based PSVR mil-sim, however, First Contact Entertainment designed Solaris for fun and ease of play. Basically you can load the game and jump right into the action. You might quickly perish, as I did many times, but it’s still a lot of fun because it’s not so serious as a mil-sim type game.
In Solaris, your objective is to coordinate with your team as you try to take control of the point and eliminate the enemies. Whether you want to know more about the maps, weapons, or simply how to play the game, we recommend that you watch the series of instructional videos featuring Frank Marm, Community Manager for First Contact Entertainment and a hilarious, well-spoken video content creator.
You can find other training videos on the First Contact Entertainment YouTube channel and I highly recommend that you watch these before leaping into a firefight.
Solaris Offworld Combat can be played standing or seated (as I did) and it’s supported for Oculus Rift and Quest platforms. The game is coming to Playstation VR this spring.
Connect with the Community
Games with engaging communities tend to thrive and for VR games, a positive, inclusive atmosphere is essential since presence in immersive reality makes relationships and interactions more like those in physical reality versus those of traditional flat (2D) gaming environments. You’re not just looking at a screen; VR puts you in the game.
It’s excellent to see communities such as Solaris recognize this and make a concentrated effort to welcome all gamers. You can join the Solaris community, ask questions about gameplay, or participate in community events through community social media pages.
- Solaris Offworld Community Discord server invite
- Solaris Offworld Community Facebook page (run by players)
- Solaris Community Podcast
For more information about First Contact Entertainment, Solaris Offworld Contact, or to download the game, you can also use the following links.
- Solaris official Facebook page
- Solaris Offworld Combat Community Facebook page (run by First Contact Ent.)
- Solaris official Twitter
- First Contact Entertainment Discord server invite
- Purchase Solaris Offworld Combat on Oculus Quest.
- Purchase Solaris Offworld Combat on Oculus Rift.
As always, follow VR Fitness Insider for all news related to VR fitness, health, and esports. We’d also love to hear about your experiences and how these games and communities are making a positive impact in your life.