VR esports is still in its infancy, but the second season of the VR League has continued to attract competitors and fans. As competition progresses and players learn increasingly advanced techniques, the level of physical athleticism in VR esports becomes more evident.
Each VR game forces players to master different skills and possess varying degrees of fitness. In Onward, for example, players might need flexibility to crouch or lie prone in order to ambush an enemy. The Unspoken competitors use mind games and need fine motor skills to cast spells quickly and accurately. Sprint Vector is one of the most physically exhausting games as racers must constantly swing their arms and use core muscles to navigate the maps and avoid obstacles. Echo Arena allows players to work with teammates, but they still must jump, make quick side-to-side movements, duck to avoid a punch, etc. – all of which require remarkable athleticism at the upper levels of competitive play.
Oculus and ESL sponsored the VR League for season 2 and the world finals will be held at Oculus Connect 5 on September 26 – 27 at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose. Players and teams participated in weekly cups and various qualifying events in order to secure a spot at finals, where we’ll see the world’s top virtual reality esports athletes compete for cash prizes and championship titles.
A popular tactical military simulation game created by Dante Buckley, Onward just finished its fifth season as part of the VR Master League. Onward already had a well-established player and fan base, but the VRML collaborated with the VR League to present the Summer Championship tournament series that included invitational events at the ESL studios in Leicester, UK.
Patch 1.3 for @OnwardtheGame dropped last week and it's remarkable how robust of a game such a small studio has been able to put together!
Day two of the Onward World Finals Invitational Qualifier begins at the top of the hour – 10AM PST/19:00 CEST 🕙 pic.twitter.com/HGmWWDwoEC
— VR League (@VRChallenger) September 2, 2018
All summer teams developed strategies, improved their tactics, and spent many hours practicing. The best teams in the league were invited to participate in the various invitational events and the top four teams advanced to Oculus Connect 5 to compete in for a portion of the $60,000 prize pool.
Globochem secured the first spot at world finals during the Onward Invitational in June. In August at the semifinals, BossFight and Beginners filled the next two spots. SMC Tactical snatched the last when they defeated Danglers in the Onward Invitational Qualifier on Sept. 2.
- SMC Tactical
The world’s top four spell-casters will duel on the Oculus Connect 5 stage to see who can conjure the most powerful spells and take home the second championship title for Insomniac Games’ The Unspoken. Last season Charizard claimed The Unspoken’s first world championship title.
Getsu tries desperately to hold on but ultimately falls to Charizard! Congratulations to both players as Charizard advances to the grand finals and Getsu earns himself €2000 in third place. pic.twitter.com/XMoh4rDXVH
— VR League (@VRChallenger) March 3, 2018
This season, players competed in weekly cups throughout May and June. In August, the four top players from each region based on weekly cup points advanced to the World Qualifier tournaments, where they were joined by four players from each region who had advanced from the Last Chance Qualifier tournament. The World Qualifier tournaments allowed two players from each region to secure a spot at finals.
- Europe: Flushgogo and Yawning Soldier
- North America: Charizard and Reukifellth
Professional players continue to develop new strategies and tactics in this highly competitive game from Ready at Dawn. Echo Arena requires athleticism, teamwork, flexibility, and quick reflexes – all in addition to the skills required in the game itself such as throwing accuracy or precise timing on regrabs.
Echo Arena is one of the many games you can compete in within the VR League. In zero-G, using other players to move around the arena is one of the fastest ways to travel! @echogames pic.twitter.com/SqK9v2Tsph
— VR League (@VRChallenger) August 21, 2018
Nearly 70 teams participated in the Echo Arena tournament series during the VR League season 2. Teams that did well in weekly cups were awarded cash prizes and points. A revised tournament system gave teams a better chance at advancement if they improved throughout the season.
Ultimately, the world’s top four teams secured spots at the grand finals after they took the top two positions at the World Qualifier tournament for their region.
- European league: BLAST! and Team Gravity
- North American league: Eclipse and MetaMercs
The eight fastest VR sprinters from around the world will race on stage at world finals. The winner will take home the bulk of the prize money as well as the first ever Sprint Vector world championship title.
Survios, the game’s developer, actually hosts community tournaments pretty regularly. Community tournaments are how some of the players became aware of and involved in the professional competitive scene. Now they encourage new players, share information about the game, and offer advice on how to go faster, play without getting injured, avoid obstacles, etc.
There were three World Finals Qualifier tournaments. The following players advanced from those tournaments and secured a position to compete at World Finals.
- Europe (Oculus Home) – top 3 players: Stoaty, Flushgogo and Dirvel
- North America (Oculus Home) – top 4 players: Kazznaz, Codsworthless, Pr3Ci510n, and Katiedead
- North America (Steam) – top player: Bartuby_Jones
World Finals will be broadcast live from Oculus Connect 5. Viewers can tune in to the VR League’s social media sites for coverage that will include interviews, fun facts about the contestants and more. The VR League is powered by ESL and Oculus.
Live coverage for world grand finals will begin at 11:30 AM PST / 19:30 CEST.
- September 26: Onward and The Unspoken
- September 27: Echo Arena and Sprint Vector