‘Echo VR’ Launches Season 2 Battle Pass Featuring More Premium Cosmetics

Echo VR (2017), the zero-gravity sports game for Quest and Rift, has just started its second ‘Echo Pass’ season, which for a limited time lets players nab limited-time cosmetic rewards earned through playing matches. It’s open to everyone, although users with the paid Premium Echo Pass can skip the line and go straight for the gear.

Echo VR (formerly called Echo Arena) was originally planned to be sold for $20, but was made indefinitely free thanks to a partnership with Oculus. Developer Ready at Dawn, which was acquired by Facebook in 2020, has recently focused on funding development with a monetization model that offers its users the chance to grind or buy cosmetic-focused reward tiers.

Launching on June 8th and ending on August 22nd, the studio brings Echo Pass Season 2 to Oculus Quest and Rift players, letting them earn cosmetic items across 50 reward tiers. Ready at Dawn says this includes character customizations, heraldry, personal Tier Experience Points (TXP) boosts, group TXP boosts, and Echo Points.

Here’s a look at some of the stuff you can earn (or buy) during the Echo Pass Season 2. There’s new boosters, bracers, banners, emblems, and tags—many of them in splendiferous new colors and styles, and a few seemingly inspired by Ancient Egyptian mythology like the cool scarab booster and Anubis helmet.

Image courtesy Ready at Dawn, Oculus

Like the game’s first season of Echo Pass back in March, TXP is earned by playing matches, which then unlocks those sequential reward tiers.

Alternatively, you can buy an ‘Echo Pass Premium’ with 1,000 ‘Echo Points’, which can be purchased as add-on content through the Oculus Store. With the premium pass, you can then unlock specific reward tiers in 200-point bundles. Here’s how that converts into actual cash.

  • $5 – 500 Echo Points
  • $10 – 1,000 Echo Points +50 Bonus = 1,050 Total Echo Points
  • $20 – 2,000 Echo Points +140 Bonus = 2,140 Total Echo Points
  • $50 – 5,000 Echo Points +450 Bonus = 5,450 Total Echo Points

Ready at Dawn says it will be offering more ways to redeem Echo Points at some point later this year. Like with its battle passes, as long as that monetization model doesn’t hurt balance and keeps people engaged, you might see it as an overall win since players regularly return for new content and the studio stays engaged in further development.

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VR Master League To Bring Live Echo Arena Season 3 Matches To Oculus Venues

VR Master League (VRML) is returning to Oculus Venues starting this week with live in-VR broadcasts of Echo Arena Season 3 VR esports matches.

During Season 2 previously, VRML broadcasted VR esports matches in Oculus Venues so this will be a return to form with “more shows than ever” this time around. The slate of content includes “Challenger Cups” every six weeks for the top teams in the VRML.

You can see the current list of standings right here. At the time of this writing Team Gravity is on top with 9 wins. For Season 3, VRML revamped the entire ladder ranking format.

“Now, the top 10 teams in the VRML are slotted into the Master Division and face off against one another in a round-robin style of matchmaking over the course of five (5) weeks (one cycle). In addition to the Master Division, the Echo Arena VRML maintains its flexible ladder system for players of all skill ranges. Ranging from the Bronze Division to the Diamond Division, the ladder is a space for anybody to play Echo Arena, competitively, against equally skilled opponents.”

For those unaware, Echo Arena is developed by Facebook-owned Ready at Dawn Studios (the same team behind Lone Echo) like zero-gravity ultimate frisbee in VR and it’s awesome. You can get the game for free on Rift/Rift S or on Quest/Quest 2.

Echo Arena VRML games in Oculus Venues should be a really interesting way of enjoying the matches. The large theater-sized virtual screen will emulate the experience of attending a large-scale esports event in the real world like no computer monitor can, especially due to the social aspect of the Venues experience.

VRML has put in a lot of work to keep VR esports chugging right along and has continued to expand their content to include match highlights, interviews, recaps, and more each week. You can find that on the official Echo Arena VRML YouTube channel. They’ve added more casters as well for the hundreds of live matches each and every week.

There are two Twitch channels you can follow for Echo Arena VRML (channel 1 and channel 2) as well as a growing ‘Content Creation Team’ at VRML.

Let us know what you think down in the comments below!

Ready at Dawn to Monetise Echo VR With Seasonal Pass

Echo Pass Season 1

Dedicated online multiplayer Echo VR has always been free for Oculus Quest and Rift owners, so in a bid to help monetise the videogame Ready at Dawn will be launching a new seasonal event pass called Echo Pass. 

Echo Pass Season 1

Much like other free-to-play videogames, the seasonal Echo Pass will only offer players cosmetic rewards. No reward will provide an in-game advantage of any sort. There will be a free version with 10 rewards to unlock, whilst the Premium version will let players access a further 50 items. To earn them all they need to do is play matches.

The Premium pass will retail for 1000 Echo Points ($9.99 USD), purchased in-game or through Oculus DLC. After they’ve bought the Premium Echo Pass players can choose to purchase further tiers costing 200 Echo Points each if they don’t have time to earn the necessary Tier Experience Points (TXP). It’s unclear how long the season will last and therefore the effort required to unlock everything without paying.

The various Echo Points bundles:

  • $4.99 – 500 Echo Points
  • $9.99 – 1000 Echo Points +50 Bonus = 1050 Total Echo Points
  • $19.99 – 2000 Echo Points +140 Bonus = 2140 Total Echo Points
  • $49.99 – 5000 Echo Points +450 Bonus = 5450 Total Echo Points
Echo Pass Season 1

Ready at Dawn notes that it has overhauled the in-game customization system enabling players to get more creative. When it comes to body customizations the: “Chassis is no longer restricted by game mode and can be used everywhere,” whilst the new Boosters and Bracers offer more visual options.

Another new form of customization is Heraldry. Banners, Tags, Emblems, Patterns and Tints, Medals, and Titles give players further chance to stand out from the crowd.

Before all of this is rolled out Ready at Dawn has opened a limited Private Test Server (PTS) this week to test features and collect community feedback. The studio recommends players use an Oculus Quest 2 for the PTS as Rift and original Quest players may experience performance issues.

Ready at Dawn has yet to confirm when Echo Pass Season 1 will commence, just that its ‘coming soon’. As for the studio’s other big VR title, Lone Echo 2, there hasn’t been an update since October 2020, hopefully, 2021 will be the year. For further updates on both videogames, keep reading VRFocus.

‘Echo VR’ Launches Battle Pass to Monetize Game with Premium Cosmetics

Echo VR, the social VR sport game available on Oculus PC and Quest, has launched a ‘battle pass’ system called Echo Pass. Similar in structure to other battle passes for free-to-play games, the pass allows players to unlock some free cosmetic customizations for the game, while premium cosmetics can be bought with real money.

Update (March 9th, 2021): Following closed beta testing earlier this year, the Season 1 Echo Pass is available starting today on Quest & Rift, and will run through May 23rd. Developer Ready at Dawn has released a new trailer showing off the rewards that players can earn.

The original article, which outlines the structure of the Echo Pass, continues below.

Original Article (January 25th, 2021): The ‘battle pass’ approach to game monetization has seen increasing popularity in the last few years alongside the rise of free-to-play games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, and others.

Echo VR (2017), the multiplayer spinoff of Lone Echo (2017), is adopting the same approach with the introduction of the Season 1 Echo Pass, which Echo VR developer Ready at Dawn announced today. The Echo Pass is available first in a closed beta (which players can sign up for here), with a formal launch date to follow the testing period.

Like other battle pass approaches, the Echo Pass is focused on in-game cosmetic customizations that aren’t intended to impact gameplay balance. Players can unlock the rewards included in the Echo Pass by earning experience points from playing the game, or by paying real money to buy the experience points.

While 10 of the 50 rewards can be unlocked for free, the other 40 can only be unlocked if players buy the premium version of the Echo Pass for $10. Even after purchasing the premium version, players will need to earn XP by playing the game (or paying real money) to unlock the premium rewards.

Image courtesy Ready at Dawn

Ready at Dawn says it has overhauled the game’s existing cosmetic customization system to support a wider range of customization options introduced with Echo Pass.

Rewards include Chassis, which change the overall look of the player’s armor; Boosters & Bracers, which change the look of their arms and propulsion boosters; Banners, Tags, Emblems, Titles, & Medals, which allow players to change how their names and identity are presented in the game; and Patterns & Tints, which are colors and texture patterns than can apply to banners, tags, and some armor.

Similar to battle passes in other games, the Season 1 Echo Pass will only be available for a limited time; without earning enough experience, players may not be able to unlock all the rewards, even if they purchased the premium version. Players who don’t have enough time to earn the experience required to unlock all the rewards can pay real money to unlock them instead, for $2 per reward.

For perspective, that means that if a player purchased the premium Echo Pass and wanted to unlock all the rewards but had no time to play the game to earn experience, the player would need to pay $110 total. It isn’t clear how long the season will last, nor how much time spent in the game will be required to unlock all the rewards, so we can’t say for now how likely it would be that players need to shell out real money, even after buying the premium Echo Pass, to unlock all the rewards.

Battle pass systems like Echo Pass are designed to both monetize the game and give players an extra reason to spend time in the game. Depending upon the time needed to grind out the rewards, cosmetic-only battle passes are a less controversial way of supporting a game’s ongoing development compared to other approaches like loot boxes with rare rewards and micro-transactions for items which impact gameplay or game balance.

 – – — – –

Echo VR (formerly called Echo Arena) was originally planned to be sold for $20 but was made indefinitely free thanks to a partnership with Oculus.  The Echo Pass is Ready at Dawn’s first attempt at monetizing Echo VR, which has seen ongoing support and development, despite being free for years, including seasonal events and a port to Quest in mid-2020.

Later in 2020, Facebook announced that it bought Ready at Dawn, it’s third VR game studio acquisition. The studio is also actively developing Lone Echo II—the sequel to Echo VR’s single-player sibling, Lone Echo—though the project has seen significant delays.

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Third Echo Arena VRML Esports Season Begins January 2021

The third season of VRML’s competitive esports league for Echo Arena will begin on January 2021 with an expanded structure and format.

The season will start on January 4 and continue through to May 2, with finals matches scheduled to take place on May 8-9 and May 14-15.

As part of the new season expansion, a VRML Echo Arena Discord channel was opened this week, which will serve as a hub for players and for community leaders to oversee the league. Channels include areas to discuss the league rules, organize scrims, put together rosters and much more.

The new season will also introduce a promotion/relegation format, which is outlined as follows in the Discord:

“Master’s Division will play in a Round Robin format while subsequent divisions play in a Ladder system. The season will have multiple cycles, each ending with a Challenger Cup. The Challenger Cup will take the bottom 2 Master teams and the top 4 Diamond teams to determine which teams will play in Master’s for the next cycle and which teams will play in the Ladder.”

Matches from past VRML’s Echo Arena seasons were broadcast live on Twitch, as well as in Oculus Venues, allowing VR users to watch the games together in a virtual social setting. VRML also runs leagues for other competitive VR titles such as competitive fps Onward.

Echo Arena is the competitive multiplayer mode originally included in Lone Echo, a title that included a separate single-player story and launched for the original Rift in 2017. Last year, developers Ready at Dawn announced that Echo Arena would be coming to Oculus Quest, which launched a few months ago.

Players who are interested in competing in season three can create an account over on the VRML Echo Arena site and join the VRML Echo Arena Discord server now.

Third Echo Arena VRML Esports Season Begins January 2021

The third season of VRML’s competitive esports league for Echo Arena will begin on January 2021 with an expanded structure and format.

The season will start on January 4 and continue through to May 2, with finals matches scheduled to take place on May 8-9 and May 14-15.

As part of the new season expansion, a VRML Echo Arena Discord channel was opened this week, which will serve as a hub for players and for community leaders to oversee the league. Channels include areas to discuss the league rules, organize scrims, put together rosters and much more.

The new season will also introduce a promotion/relegation format, which is outlined as follows in the Discord:

“Master’s Division will play in a Round Robin format while subsequent divisions play in a Ladder system. The season will have multiple cycles, each ending with a Challenger Cup. The Challenger Cup will take the bottom 2 Master teams and the top 4 Diamond teams to determine which teams will play in Master’s for the next cycle and which teams will play in the Ladder.”

Matches from past VRML’s Echo Arena seasons were broadcast live on Twitch, as well as in Oculus Venues, allowing VR users to watch the games together in a virtual social setting. VRML also runs leagues for other competitive VR titles such as competitive fps Onward.

Echo Arena is the competitive multiplayer mode originally included in Lone Echo, a title that included a separate single-player story and launched for the original Rift in 2017. Last year, developers Ready at Dawn announced that Echo Arena would be coming to Oculus Quest, which launched a few months ago.

Players who are interested in competing in season three can create an account over on the VRML Echo Arena site and join the VRML Echo Arena Discord server now.

Echo Combat Will Not Come To Oculus Quest, At Least For Now

Ready At Dawn provided an update on a potential Echo Combat port for Oculus Quest, and it’s bad news for anyone who was holding out hope.

Echo Arena launched on Oculus Quest in open beta earlier this year, and moved out of beta into full release last week. Back in May, Ready At Dawn held a poll on its Discord server to gauge interest in bringing Echo Combat over to the Quest as well, but it now looks like that definitely won’t be happening.

Given the recent release of Echo Arena on Quest, Facebook-owned Ready At Dawn provided fans with an update on the potential of Echo Combat coming to the standalone headset:

To put it simply, we are not working on bringing Echo Combat to Quest. If there are any changes in the future, we’ll let you know at that time.

So what are we working on? Right now we’re focused on new features and tools for Echo VR, some of which have been in the works for a while whereas others are newer but vital to ensuring the game is fun and welcoming for all Echo Units.

Ready At Dawn encourages players with a VR-ready PC to enjoy Echo Combat on Quest using Oculus Link, but that’s obviously no consolation to those who only own the Quest and were holding out for a standalone port.

On the other side of the VR pond, PC VR players are still holding out for any news on Lone Echo II, the bigger, longer and more involved sequel to Ready At Dawn’s Lone Echo from 2017. The sequel was scheduled for an early 2020 release as of last year, but we’ve not heard anything for a while. We’ll keep our eyes on Facebook Connect coming next week for any updates.

Echo VR Leaves Open Beta, Now Available On Oculus Quest

Competitive multiplayer game Echo VR has left open beta and is now available for free on Oculus Quest.

In Echo VR, you play in a zero-gravity room with a single disc in the middle. There are two teams, and the aim is to push and boost yourself through the floaty environment to grab the disc and fling it into the goal. It’s a simple concept but one that could only work in VR. The game has been a multiplayer staple since it first launched for the Oculus Rift.

After a long wait, Echo VR released an open beta for Oculus Quest earlier this year. Now, after a few months of testing and minor adjustments, the game moves out of beta and into full release on the Oculus Quest store.

Despite leaving beta, if you’ve already tried the game you probably won’t notice any huge changes. In an interview with Facebook, Ready at Dawn Studios said that the beta helped them “scale to support the continued growth of the community” from the Quest launch, plus make a few tweaks to the social features as well.

“Before Quest, our players have been a dedicated core group that started on the Rift three years ago and have evolved with the game as we released updates,” said Ready at Dawn producer Johnny Wing. “The new players on Quest found it difficult to use our social controls, so in our final product, we made it easier for individuals to use our social controls like muting and ghosting. We also introduced new default social settings that help players determine how interactive they want to be with others in the lobby.”

Last month, we named Echo VR the best multiplayer experience available in Quest, so it’s exciting to see it finally move into full release.

Have you tried Echo VR on Quest yet? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Oculus Venues To Broadcast VRML Tournaments For Echo Arena, Onward

VR esports tournament organizers VRML (VR Master League) announced the prize pools for the next seasons of their Onward, Echo Arena and Pavlov leagues, with prizes valued up to $12,000 USD across the three titles. Plus, select matches will be broadcast live in Oculus Venues each weekend.

VRML has consistently organized tournament seasons for some of VR’s biggest competitive games, but this latest prize pool is the biggest cumulative pool yet. VRML says that the increase is thanks to more sponsors and partners, however it’s important to note that the pool is only valued at $12,000 — not all of that is cash prizes. However, VRML wants to ensure that opportunities for competitors to win cold hard cash remain available where possible, and so will be contributing to a cash pool themselves for Onward and Echo Arena.

The prize pool distribution is split as follows:

  • Onward: $5,520 USD (including $1500 USD in cash, contributed by VRML and Downpour Interactive)
  • Echo Arena: $3545 USD (including $1400 USD in cash contributed by VRML)
  • Pavlov: $3,060 USD (no cash prize included)

For Onward, this tournament season is the tenth organized by VRML. Pavlov, on the other hand, is in its seventh season with VRML, and Echo Arena its second, resuming after a hiatus.

onward oculus venues

Perhaps even more exciting is the announcement that select Onward and Echo Arena matches will be broadcast in Oculus Venues each weekend, allowing spectators to watch VR esports action in VR itself. The Echo Arena matches will continue to be broadcast in Venues each Saturday, having already begun on July 19. Onward matches will be viewable in Venues on Sunday, starting from a TBA date in August.

It’s an exciting development for the VR esports scene — will you be tuning in to catch any of the matches? Let us know in the comments. On the other hand, if you’re interested in competing instead, you can read more and sign up on the VRML website.

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How Social VR Helped This Esports Player Overcome Social Anxiety

Julian Apellanes was never comfortable going out of his house and although he struggled with issues like anxiety and depression, he didn’t want those things to define him. In a trend noticed by others, Apellanes has discovered a new path to reality through social VR. And unsurprisingly, he has dreamed of immersive gaming since he was a child.

“I’ve been gaming all my life and I thought how cool it would be to be inside those worlds,” the 27-year-old explained to me in an interview. Once news about the original Oculus Kickstarter came along years ago, he kept up with the progress and dreamed of a day when he’d be able to immerse himself in the gaming environment rather than simply watching the action unfold on a 2D screen.

Finally, when the Oculus Rift was released in 2016, his dream became a reality, but he couldn’t have known how being immersed in virtual environments would actually give him the confidence to face more traditional social settings.

Palidore in San Jose for Oculus Connect 6
Julian Apellanes

Apellanes became interested in gaming as a very young child. Raised by his grandparents, he would watch his grandpa play games as a toddler and by the time he was seven or eight years old, he was a master himself.

“I got my online / gaming alias from my grandpa,” explained Apellanes. “He originally came up with the name ‘Palidore’ as the name of his character in the RPG classic Baldur’s Gate, in the late 90s.”

Although his early years in gaming were spent in the lap of his granddad, watching him play and occasionally being permitted to help with a click of the mouse, eventually he began creating his own saves of the game and the name Palidore stuck with him.

Throughout his childhood and teen years, Apellanes started to spend more and more time playing games. In the case of VR, however, you’re actually more present and engaged in the virtual environments, whether you’re floating above the Earth or flying through a virtual arena.

“VR kind of blended the borders between reality and virtual reality,” said Apellanes. “It gave me the first step through that door of interacting with people a lot more so although I was still indoors and interacting with people within my own house, it was very social.”

vrchat rec room

Early studies of the technology, such as one Facebook IQ commissioned with Neurons Inc in 2017, revealed that people respond positively to interactions in virtual reality. This is particularly true of introverts, who might be less self-conscious and have more confidence in a virtual environment.

Social platforms such as AltspaceVR, Bigscreen, VR Chat, and Rec Room are revolutionizing social interactions. Games with social lobbies where players can hang out, chat, and even talk about tough life issues such as dating, schoolwork, and problems at home are indicative of the fact that people are possibly more comfortable in their virtual bodies than their real ones.

“Just getting to be part of the worlds and experience a totally different reality than you’re used to,” said Apellanes, “but still in the comfort of your own home, that’s huge.”

In the summer of 2017, Apellanes began playing in the beta of Echo Arena, a built-for-VR game from Ready At Dawn that utilizes a unique form of movement as players fly, glide, and boost through a zero-gravity environment rather than walking or teleporting. The immersive feeling of the game is so convincing that players frequently report feeling a sensation of “floating” in physical reality after initially playing the game.

Soon after the game’s release, it was featured in the first season of the Oculus-sponsored, ESL-run VR League (called VR Challenger League at the time). Apellanes created a team with two friends – Kerestell “Lemming” Smith and Bryan “iShiny” McCarthy – and they proceeded to dominate the newly formed league.

vr league echo arena esports championship

Being part of a championship team boosted Apellanes’ self-esteem, but the glory of winning also came with a price. Apellanes would have to leave the comfort of his home to compete at LAN events. Initially the team competed at Oculus Connect 4 in San Jose, California and eventually they would travel to Katowice, Poland and Leicester, England.

The team roster changed a bit during seasons 2 and 3 as Simeonk21 replaced iShiny, who remained on as coach. They managed to claim the second world championship in season 2, but failed to qualify for season 3 finals.

Apellanes took it in stride. Since he couldn’t attend VR League Season 3 Grand Finals as a finalist, the young man who wouldn’t leave his room several years earlier purchased a plane ticket to Leicester, England and attended the finals as a community member.

“Everyone has a purpose in life and sometimes it takes time to find it,” stated Apellanes. “For me, getting to go into Echo and being pretty good at it, start making friends, and things like that … my personal success there made me realize I could be good at something. I discovered who I was and who I could be.”

Since he became involved with VR esports, in addition to being one of the world’s top players, Apellanes has also written articles about his experiences and he has become a caster for the Echo Arena VR Master League (VRML). He was recently brought on as a board member for the VRML, a community-driven platform that features the most competitive VR games on the market.

“VR allowed me to kind of show myself what I was capable of,” he stated, adding that he has been “continuing the momentum since then.”

Eclipse image from ESL VR League Sesaon 2

“VR has been a positive influence in many ways,” he said. “VR has helped me socially and mentally with things like anxiety and depression. It allows you to step out of your comfort zones while still being in your comfort zone. VR lets you get out without getting out.”

When people can experience environments at a self-regulated pace, it enables them to develop coping skills that they might find difficult to develop in traditional environments. Whether someone is extremely shy or they’ve experienced trauma, the ability to control the rate of exposure to an environment is vital to success.

The phenomenon of virtual reality being used as exposure therapy without actually forcing people into stress-inducing settings in physical reality hasn’t gone unnoticed by others. Even the Veterans Administration is using virtual reality to help service members deal with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) through programs such as Bravemind VR Exposure Therapy.

“VR is a tech we’ve never quite seen before,” said Apellanes. “It immerses your brain in ways it doesn’t expect. Because of that, it helped me and it helps a lot of other people step out of their comfort zones and experience new things.”

These days Apellanes stays incredibly busy casting games and promoting VR esports. He keeps his eyes open for opportunities as the industry continues to grow and he explores career avenues, looking for ways he might be able to use his talents in a world where virtual and physical realities intersect.

echo vr


Do you have any stories about how VR has helped you with social anxiety, depression, or something else? Let us know down in the comments below!

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