Hype is building for Echo Arena VR Master League Season 1, which is set to begin on Monday, February 3.

Teams have been preparing for the highest level of competition and many participated in the Echo Arena VRML pre-season, which took place in late 2019. There were 205 players (including reservists) registered and those numbers are expected to increase for season 1 as competitors from all walks of life continue to discover the joy of this zero-gravity team sport.

Kevin Vaughn, 39, is one of the older and more experienced players in Echo Arena. Known in game as speedy_v, Vaughn has spent countless hours floating around the lobby, joining public matches for fun, and playing competitively for glory and prize money.

“I’ve played since the first beta weekend when I just happened to be looking for something to do with some extra free time,” says Vaughn. “I had been busy playing racing games for years, hence the username, and Echo filled a void for something I had missing out on for a long time – team sports.”

Ready At Dawn released Echo Arena in July 2017 and the game was immediately ushered in as a title for season 1 of the VR League. The latest season of the Oculus-funded / ESL-run VR League featured a $250,000 prize pool and LAN finals near ESL offices in Leicester, England in June 2019.

Loveridge, Strembitsky, and Sealablebag (left to right) of Kangorillaz took the Echo Arena VR League Season 3 championship title.

VR Master League

Players like Vaughn were given another opportunity to enjoy competitive team sports in VR when Ready At Dawn developers and Echo VR community leaders collaborated with the VR Master League to introduce Echo Arena to the community-driven platform in the pre-season competition that took place throughout November and December.

The VR Master League is a community-driven platform that was established in 2017 by DaKinMan, with help from others in the competitive VR community. Over the past three years the league grown in size and popularity. They now feature tournaments for some of the best games in VR with a professional production crew.

Since VR esports is still a budding industry, this is an advantage for new VR gamers. The goal of the VRML, for example, isn’t simply to highlight the best teams. The league’s ladder structure enables new teams to climb the ranks without being placed in a situation where they repeatedly face the top teams like they would in many traditional competitive set-ups. VRML teams play against others of similar skill, which creates better matches and builds their confidence. This structure also makes for a more enjoyable atmosphere in the games and within the community overall as veteran players have incentive to welcome and train newer players.

Echo Arena VRML Boot Camp

Echo Arena is widely known for its supportive community and veteran players will be available to guide new competitors through the first season of VRML.

There will be a VRML Boot Camp on Saturday, February 1. Details will be shared in the Echo Arena Discord league announcements channel next week.

New teams can also meet experienced coaches who are willing to offer feedback and advice. Many of these coaches have played since the beta and they’ve learned ways to optimize their practice time, improve skills, etc.

“Even when you have a team like Eclipse dominating the standings,” says Vaughn, it’s important to remember that “every team has their weaknesses and I enjoy figuring that out.”

Eclipse dominated VR League Seasons 1 and 2, claiming two Echo Arena world championship titles, but no team is unbeatable and they failed to qualify for season 3 finals.

“I love strategy elements of the game and being able to build and develop the competitive meta while this game is still in its infancy,” adds Vaughn, who has gone through several teams over the past two and a half years.

Illuminaughty

Despite the fact that his current team, Illuminaughty, formed just before the start of the Echo Arena pre-season competitions, they beat every North American team and claimed the top spot that now must be defended during season 1.

Here’s an introduction to the Illuminaughty team members.

Speedy_v

Age:  39
Fun fact:  Began playing Echo Arena during beta
Quotes:

  • “I’ve played in every major competition and been fairly successful despite facing many hurdles like having to find a new team practically every season.”
  • “Whatever the next step is in competitive play, we plan to defend our position and we know there isn’t a team we can’t beat.”
Speedy_v (center) poses with Season 2 teammates Strembitsky and Fahrenuf.

Ender

Age:  19
Fun fact:  He loves going to the mountains to ski.
Origin of gamer tag:  He watched the movie Ender’s Game in 2014 and read the book immediately afterwards. Since he liked the name and the movie, he began using it for his gamer tag. He says, “flash forward four more years. I get a VR headset and happen to play Echo VR and the name fits absolutely perfectly.”

Suburbanlegend0

Age:  25
Fun fact:  This is the first and only video game he has ever played competitively.
Origin of gamer tag:  It’s a play on words. Instead of an urban legend, he’s a suburban legend because he grew up in the suburbs.

qlyoung

Fun fact:  He prefers to maintain a secretive allure around his identity.

Team Gravity

Illuminaughty might’ve been formed only a few months ago, but the team that took the top spot in the EU pre-season competitions is already a veteran team in Echo Arena competitions.

“Team Gravity was formed God knows when,” states Alppuccino, a 17-year-old from England who joined the team in October.

In fact, Team Gravity was established in 2017 and has continued to rank among the world’s best teams, not only in Echo Arena, but other VR games as well.

Here’s an introduction to the members of our top seeded European Echo Arena VR Master League team.

Viatrex

Age:  24
Home:  Ludwigsfelde, Germany
Fun facts:

  • He has been with Team Gravity since season one.
  • He’s affectionately known as “sugar daddy” due to his age compared to the others on his team.
  • VR has positively impacted his life by enabling him to travel more.

Alppuccino

Age:  17
Home:  England
Fun fact:  The first game he played in virtual reality was Echo Arena and he was introduced to the game by TutorialBot.
Origin of gamer tag:  A family friend used to call him Al Pacino as a reference to his common name (Alex) so he added an interesting twist and combined it with the caffeinated beverage.

Sim3n

Age:  16
Home:  Norway
Fun fact:  He began playing around the same time as LouisANMO in January 2019 and they’ve been enjoying the game together ever since. They joined Team Gravity together in October 2019.

LouisANMO

Age:  16
Fun facts:  His first name really is Louis and he plays as a striker in Echo Arena.

Echo Arena VRML Season 1

If you think you have what it takes to compete against the top North American or European teams, or if you simply want to experience the thrill of VR esports, then find a team, join the community Discord, and sign up with VR Master League to compete!


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