Echo Arena, which ranks among our 5 favorite Rift sports games, has seen the release of patch 9.0, which totally overhauls the game’s social lobby, a place where players can socialize and participate in a number of activities while waiting for matches to begin. An incomplete section of the lobby teases forthcoming Echo Combat content.
Launched in 2017, Echo Arena is the multiplayer spin-off of Lone Echo. It’s proved to be a popular and competitive title, bringing zero-G ultimate frisbee-like action to VR.
Surprisingly, the game’s lobby space—which automatically connects players together into a shared environment—has turned out to be one of the most fun social spaces to spend time in VR, thanks to its intuitive locomotion, fun props & toys, and functionality which supports Echo Arena’s actual matches (like customization and practice).
What was good is now being made better, developer Ready at Dawn says, thanks to an update which has brought a total overhaul to the social space which they’re calling Lobby 2.0. The new lobby has been significantly expanded in size and scope, adding a new quarter court to one of its wings, which gives players the opportunity to practice shots and passing on a more accurate representation of the arena used in matches.
The symmetrical mini arena remains, leaving the door open for other types of practice and some honor-rules mini matches. Players can now summon their own ‘personal disc’ to allow for faster practice iteration and less trolling from other players who might try to steal or hide the lobby’s shared disc.
New launch tubes in the lobby let players practice the essential round-opening blitz, before entering a live match, which sees players catapulting themselves off of the launchers to be the first to reach the disc.
The brawler room (for punching and blocking practice) and customization room return with some tweaks of their own.
In addition to Lobby 2.0, the patch also brings some gameplay tweaks to Echo Arena. Notably, the backboard behind the goals has had its geometry simplified, which the developers say should increase the consistency of bounces, leading to more predictable disc behavior.
Some issues relating to throwing inconsistencies, a few exploits, and some bugs have also been seen adjustments and fixes, along with other tweaks like single-player private matches and global control of private match settings. Check out Ready at Dawn’s blog post for the full details.
Echo Combat Tease
Last year Ready at Dawn teased Echo Combat, an upcoming expansion to the Echo universe which promises to bring zero-G FPS combat to VR. There’s been almost no details reveal thus far, but a huge section of the new Echo Arena lobby is currently cordoned off with a sign that says “Echo Combat – Under Construction.” On the Oculus blog the company writes, “And don’t forget your hardhats—one of the most exciting parts of the update is still under construction…. Stay tuned for more on Echo Combat very soon.”
This interesting development suggests that Echo Combat might be an update or expansion of Echo Area rather than its own separate title. Or perhaps the under construction section will just be a teaser or promotional element of Echo Combat. We’ve reached out to Oculus and Ready at Dawn to learn more.