Rocket League received its first new map yesterday, and while the layout is similar to previous arenas, it's got a completely different feel that's already causing headaches in the pro scene.
Here's a wide look at the new location, Utopia Colosseum:
Besides sporting a unique look, there are new sound effects to accompany scores, as well. (I'm not too proud to admit it feels cool to make a shot and hear trumpets blaring all around you.)
Though the map has outlines of lanes and paths, those don't mean anything besides providing a visual marker for the map's full turbo items. There are no ramps, bumps, or other obstacles in Utopia Colosseum, and while developer Psyonix has promised future maps will get "crazy," that's not happening here. In essence, Rocket League fans will feel comfortable pretty quickly.
But there are some wrinkles.
Right now, it's not 100% clear whether the map is bigger or smaller. It definitely feels smaller, but that might merely be an extension of the aesthetics, rather than a change in geometry.
"I really think it's just a re-skin," said Jonathan "Fyshokid" Taylor, one of Rocket League's highest ranked players. "But I've heard some people say it's smaller, and some say it's bigger. It's probably just the open environment and "invisible" walls messing with people's perception.
Psyonix did not respond to my request for comment, unfortunately.
But, yes, the "invisible walls." Utopia Colosseum is far brighter than previous maps, and people are split on whether it's a good thing. Some folks, like Taylor, appreciate the expanded colour palette that harks back to the last game, Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars. The issue is that it's much harder to see the outlines of the walls, making it difficult to bank shots.
(I wasn't having much trouble, but I've only played 30 minutes or so and my bank shots are largely by total accident.)
An ongoing thread on reddit highlights the current debate.
On one hand...
But on the other hand...
Taylor told me there have been rumblings in the Rocket League competitive scene of banning Utopia Colosseum from tournaments but figured it "could easily fade as people get used to it."
There are some fun additions to this free update, as well. Spectator mode allows you to watch matches without having to tune into Twitch or YouTube, and the developers even poked fun at themselves for the game's server issues when the game launched last month. For example:
One of the overlooked changes, however, is the ability for cross-platform private lobies. Taylor told me high-level Rocket League play has been hamstrung by the inability for there to be the widest possible pool of car soccer professionals, and this fix that.
For now, however, I'm going to keep watching this player bust out of the arena and cruise along the top of the arena. (You are not supposed to to this, but it's still pretty cool.)
There's DLC launching for the game tomorrow, but remember: it's all aesthetic. New maps and other features for the game will continue to free. But if you want new car models? Go for it.