Comp RL: A History

4 years ago by NinjaRiderRL in Esports


Many user created tournaments happened between matches and after the end of the first Duality. A goodly number of those tournaments did not finish as players would either lose interest or run out of time to complete matches and the tourney would fall apart. These events were ran over a long period of time, unlike the modern way of only a few hours at a set time. Players would play when possible, with events taking weeks, even a couple of months.  As mentioned before, TOs were sometimes forced to step in and make contestants play their matches or risk forfeit.


In the year after the first Duality, more SARPBC players began to make their way into the forums and looking for some good organized competition. Many names that we know in the current modern era of Rocket League (near end Season 3 RLCS for reference) began to participate in the organized competitions and tournaments. Fenrir was not the only one organizing things though, as people like Fireburner (of NRG fame), Gibbs (Analyst and Cosmic Aftershock), and Mega-Shogun (Caster, Team Rocket/ SubParButInHD) really stepped up and made inroads in creating competitions that kept players interested while remaining as fair as possible. Many of these players were kids or teenagers, so obviously they were not able to get on the PlayStation or the forums everyday.


Gibbs organized a 1v1 NA only tournament very soon after the first Duality got under way. Gibbs created images for the brackets that are now lost to time, but he did use the in game 1v1 ranking charts to create seedings. Once seedings were created, players were divided into groups as listed in the image. Signups went for about a month, as Jadaski (now known as Pluto) tried to sign up right after the group stages started.  The groups played in a round robin style, keeping track of overall score. The player who scored the most goals in 5 games takes the win.  Players simply posted their scores in the thread, where Gibbs kept track of things.  The final rounds were pushed until a major update containing the Galleon map came out… but that would create controversy as a player called Animekunai posted that he is quitting due to the differing maps. He said that until tournaments required Urban only, he would not be playing. This is one of the first displays of need for standardization in maps for players who wanted to take competitive play seriously.

Eventually the update would come out that contained Galleon, unfortunately spelling the end for this tourney.  A bug was found that cause the person not hosting to have a major advantage on kick off that was wreaking havoc in the game. Not to mention the players that were left at the end had their PlayStations die on them… well things just did not end well for this event.  Gibbs had real life get in the way which forced him to stop hosting this tourney as well as others in the future.


Many tournaments organized by various members of the community came and went from there, but fell by the wayside for a variety of reasons.  European players were quite active in this timeframe, and the forums showed this in spades.  Most posts were from users located in EU, and it has been postulated that the United States players were still playing, just in a more casual sense.  In an attempt to mix things up, Shogun began to organize a variety of challenges. Some kept track of excellent aerial plays and shots, some used the in-game leaderboards to track the progress of players in a fantasy team of sorts ( ex. http://psyonix.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=4985)


Diabolo created the 1v1 ladder for EU that kept track of “Experience Points” based off of wins against people above and below a player, in what was called a King of the Hill sort of setup by user Fenrir12. One challenge a day tops, and a map picking/ other player host system that worked extremely well considering the lag that was generally encountered while playing. Remember, there were no public servers, hosts were local, but because this was EU only there generally was not a problem.  The leaderboards worked much like ELO of Gamesbattles fame (now MLG), using a level multiplier system that made sure you did not get max points for every win as you “leveled-up”.  All of this should sound familiar as this is beginnings of experimentation of a Ranked system, as opposed to the SARP way of straight ELO. Diabolo even used a color system to denote a Hot Streak or vice-versa, as well as denoting someone who had not participated in some time.


A champion was crowned when the person at the top of the leaderboard stayed active and was there for 2 weeks.  Serious names in the SARP community were quite active in this, and the forum gave much evidence of the laid back but very competitive nature that this tracking system allowed.  The top-5 really duked it out, going back and forth for a couple months.  At that point play was shifted to other tourneys and events, and the relevant posts began to trickle down the page. Some tried to revive it, to no avail.  To give some perspective… this was middle 2009.




Throughout the year after this died down, there were a few tournaments that found some traction but were not so popular.  Fate of Norns, run by Fenrir12 was a 3v3 EU tourney that took a few months to finish due to players not able to get together to play their matches (http://psyonix.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=1708). Gibbs attempted to put together a U.S. and E.U. regional based series where you would play with a team of 5, and have teams separate matches in all of the modes included 4v4.  It was not convoluted in any way, but players kept jumping around teams so much that Gibbs simply let it go due to his real life stuff forcing him away from the game.  Fenrir came around again with Wenches and Mead, with a whole pirate adventure theme upon the ship map Galleon. The forum thread is a great read, with a great number of pirate themed posts. In typical Fenrir fashion, points and npcs were acquired in a complex way, with players able to make deals and trade npcs and resources as needed. Towards the end, players were attempting to merge ships, in fact that was the final. (http://psyonix.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=2359)


Early 2010 saw Duality II begin, again with Fenrir12 complex rules systems.  This one boiled down to one player being assigned an Yin (attacker) and Yang (defender). This was common practice in SARP as players were generally good at one or the other, as well as differing styles within those jurisdictions. To enter, a team had to play against one of the house teams to determine seedings, then the tournament would begin. League tables were created in Flash as Fenrir liked to do, and those are lost to the Interwebs as of this writing.  The finals were only about a month after the creation of the tourney, featuring Greatest Hits (ThePieManOfDeath & Mario) vs. Kiss My Spirits (KissMyTinyAss & El-trickser) with Greatest Hits taking it with a colorful match report from the one and only GreatGambit. There was some controversy about lag and the banning of mics. Greatest Hits players were from the US whereas Kiss My Spirits were from EU, so there were some issues, but it was to be expected and is implied that it might happen. Gambit was a player in this, playing as ThePieManOfDeath.


March of 2010 saw a major 2v2 pop up in the form of a double elimination tourney created by user “jetnf” that saw the emergence of two powerhouses of Rocket League come out of the woodwork. A young player known as SteveBills would team up with a slightly more tournament experienced Fireburner to take the win in astounding fashion, even over the established Gambit and Ryan (aka Doomsee).  Rules were established that if a player missed an agreed start time there would be a 2v1 or a forfeit, which created some animosity, but did keep the tourney going. A simple bracket image was used to keep track of happenings, but tracking websites were not used yet.


August of 2010 brought along the first of Psyonix sponsored events, and it was a big one. The EU playerbase had grown to a point that Fenrir decided it was time for a revolution in tournament organization. Many lessons have been learned and were passed on to Fenrir by Shogun and his series of challenges. Features such as Promotion/ Relegation were introduced, an in game news feed covering the tournament, and a coveted Psyonix sponsored t-shirt was up for grabs. Fenrir explained it best in his OP:


Some clarification of the rules were needed along the way.


Some defense of the rules and choices made was also needed.


Players were given two weeks to play one of the helpers or Fenrir himself to qualify into the tournament. What a list it turned out to be!

The players were split up into separate leagues to determine promotion into The Byte for season 2.  They played in the first two weeks after the qualifiers.  Again, the nice images that Fenrir made are lost to the sands of time, but these results lists shed some light on things.  Points were distributed accordingly, and the scores listed here are the total goals.  The bottom player is eliminated from the next Bionix, unless that player got in through tournament play next time.  The top player in these leagues were promoted to The Byte.

After the dust had settled during league play...


The Byte played out after the Leagues were done with.

Battles raged, and the thread lit up with banter and tomfoolery. In the end… well... see below.


Mephistophes was a very well known 1s player in the SARP community, and this saw the emergence of Kuxir97 and M1k3Rules as competitive forces at the time and in the coming years.


Bionix was the largest scale tournament up to that time in Rocket League competitive history. It established a format that brought out the best in all of the players that participated, with clear cut goals for the players to work for. The SARPBC community was small enough for anyone on the forums to recognize all of the names on these lists, especially because they ran into each other in game almost all of the time. This set the tone for tournaments to come, and showed Psyonix that this little game that they thought would be fun to play around with could become something larger than they had dreamed. Some speculated that the success of this and other tournaments after this really made Psyonix think hard about what the sequel would become, and how important it was to the players to be perfect.





3 years ago
i loved this article on the history of rl ...makes me wanna become even better to make it to tourny level...good luck mates


4 years ago
Thank you for sharing the history :). Great read!


4 years ago
I'm KillJoy54321 in the first 1v1 screenshot of seeds :D That was a fun tournament!


4 years ago
Really interesting, thanks for writing.


4 years ago
ok mate thanks for shring i didn't read


4 years ago
Thanks! Please feel free to peruse the first two articles as well!


4 years ago
this was very interesting
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