Virtual reality continues to establish a foothold in the billion dollar esports industry. This week, game developers, producers, designers, and other rising stars in the field of virtual reality will watch the world’s top VR athletes compete in the VR League season 2 grand finals of the games they created.
Traditional esports have been represented by individuals or teams who use a keyboard, mouse, or controller to fight battles in games such as Dota or Counter-Strike. While VR esports players still need strategy, stealth, and quick reflexes, they trade keyboards for headsets and play virtual reality games that require them to be fully engaged physically. They duck, jump, crouch, lie down, dodge, twist and turn. The games actually require an impressive amount of athleticism.
Each game featured in the second season of the VR League is unique. Players cast spells, sprint through the galaxy, play an ultimate-frisbee type game in zero-gravity, or enter a military simulation first person shooter. The variety and quality of games reflects well on the developers and the future of VR esports.
Players participate in a modern day urban wizard duel in Insomniac Games’ The Unspoken. Those who most effectively use gestures to conjure spells and beasts will gain an advantage over their opponent.
Competitors finished weekly tournaments in June. The top four from each region secured spots in the World Finals Qualifier. Another four from each region joined them after the Last Chance Qualifier. Following the World Finals Qualifier, two players from each region advanced to finals at San Jose.
Finals will consists of a double elimination best of three, three round match format. Players will be able to choose any of five provided classes: Anarchist, Kineticist, Blackjack, Drifter, or Electromancer. They’ll be allowed to choose only one of each artifact per loadout.
- Europe: Flushgogo and Yawning Soldier
- North America: Charizard and Reukifellth
The Unspoken Prize Pool ($11,250):
- 1st place: $5,000
- 2nd place: $3,000
- 3rd place: $2,000
- 4th place: $1,250
For more information about individual players, check out this article and be sure to tune in for live coverage.
Onward is a military simulator game that was created specifically for VR by Dante Buckley. The game is part of the VR Master League, which has been collaborating with the VR League this season. Top teams have participated in invitational events at the ESL studios in Leicester and the final four teams will be showcased on the main stage at Oculus Connect 5.
Globochem secured a spot at grand finals following their win at the Onward Invitational in June. BossFight, Beginners, and SMC Tactical qualified through the Summer Championship series.
- SMC Tactical
Onward Prize Pool ($60,000):
- 1st place: $25,000
- 2nd place: $15,000
- 3rd place: $10,000
- 4th place: $10,000
Be sure to tune in for live coverage of the Onward world finals.
Sprinters race through the galaxy trying to avoid obstacles while taking advantage of powerups in Survios’ Sprint Vector.
Eight players qualified for the world finals: three players through Oculus Home in Europe, four players through Oculus Home in North America and one player through Steam in NA. Unfortunately, European competitor Stoaty was expected to claim the $3,000 first place prize, but he is unable to attend finals so it’s really anyone’s race at this point.
You can read more about individual Sprint Vector competitors here and there will be more revealed during the live broadcast for races.
- 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
Unfortunately, Stoaty could not attend Oculus Connect 5.
Sprint Vector Prize Pool ($11,750)
Along with The Unspoken, Echo Arena was brought back for VR League season 2 and saw an impressive number of teams (over 70) throughout the weekly tournaments. Ready at Dawn’s Echo Arena could be described as ultimate Frisbee or soccer in space, except that instead of a ball, players work in teams of three to maintain possession of a disc until they can deposit it in the opponent’s goal.
Four teams earned the right to compete at Oculus Connect 5 through the World Finals Qualifier in August. Eclipse, the team that claimed the world championship title in season one, is joined by North American team MetaMercs. European teams to qualify for world finals are Team Gravity and Blast!
Read more about the individual teams and be sure to tune in for live coverage. Echo Arena is one of the most physical VR games so it’s fascinating to watch the competitors on stage as their avatars perform in the game.
- European league: BLAST! and Team Gravity
- North American league: Eclipse and MetaMercs
Echo Arena Prize Pool ($38,000):
- 1st place: $18,000
- 2nd place: $10,000
- 3rd place: $6,000
- 4th place: $4,000
Watch Grand Finals Live This Week!
World finals will be broadcast live from Oculus Connect 5. Viewers can tune in to the VR League’s social media sites for coverage: Facebook, Twitch and YouTube. Don’t forget to follow the VR League on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates, giveaways, highlights and more. The VR League is powered by ESL and Oculus.
Live coverage for world grand finals will begin at 12:00 PM PST / 20:00 CEST.
- September 26: Onward and The Unspoken
- September 27: Echo Arena and Sprint Vector
About the author
Sonya Haskins is better known among the gaming community by the username "hasko7." Although her version of "flat gaming" consists of cards and board games, she has extensive knowledge of VR esports and is an avid evangelist for virtual reality in general. Sonya lives with her husband and five children in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains in Northeast Tennessee.