The VR League’s first offline event of the season has arrived! The Onward Invitational takes place this weekend, June 16th to 17th live from the ESL studio in Leicester, UK, presented by Oculus, Intel, Stack Up and ESL at esl.gg/watchVRL
The top 4 teams from the VR Master League’s fourth season will be headed out to compete for $10,000 and all the glory that comes with being the winners of the first-ever offline tournament for what many call the “Counter-Strike of VR.”
Onward is a tactical military simulation VR game where players attack and defend a satellite uplink, with an added dimension of physicality. Players must physically shoulder their virtual rifles, lob their grenades, control their breathing, crouch, lay prone and more to succeed.
Every action must be done by (virtual) hand - there’s no hotkeys or binds for instant weapon switching or jumping, no HUDs and no crosshairs. To reload your weapon, press the mag release, grab a new magazine from your tactical vest, put it in the weapon’s mag well and pull the charge handle. Each of these things is as realistic as possible, and every weapon is different; requiring players to possess a keen knowledge of not only how to use their tools, but do it quickly under pressure.
Aiming is very realistic as well. Players must grab the grips on either end of their rifle and shoulder it to look through the sights. Sights work like their real-life counterparts as well - EOTech and red dot sights allow the user to keep both eyes open, while magnification scopes require you to close one eye and position your rifle at just the right point due to the eye relief.
To “plant the bomb,” players must approach the satellite dish, retrieve their tablet from their back and enter the 7-digit code to secure the uplink and win the round - all while ducking and laying on the floor for cover from enemy fire. In-game communication is proximity based, and in order to talk to your teammates on the other side of the map players must let go of their weapon and use their shoulder-mounted radio.
All of this and more combines into the most realistic multiplayer mil-sim experience currently on the market. Physical dexterity, agility, speed and marksmanship are key to staying alive. Onward is currently in early access by developer Downpour Interactive, but that hasn’t stopped a passionate group of players who have built a vibrant competitive community online.
Globochem, Mob Squad, Beginners and SMC Tactical will meet for the first time to battle it out for their share of the prize pool. These are the most successful teams from the VR Master League’s ProTube & VR Cover Championship’s Round Robin stage, a grassroots community league for Onward that has just completed its fourth season of tournament play. The VR League is collaborating with the VRML to create the best Onward event possible.
The Onward Invitational is in aid of Stack Up, a charity dedicated to supporting US and Allied veterans from around the world through gaming. They’ll be joined by veterans at the UK studio, and Stack Up will be running a tiltify campaign to raise money where you can win your own Oculus Rift kit to join in on the action.
Check out the action at esl.gg/watchVRL beginning at 10AM EST/4PM CET this Saturday and Sunday, and may the best team win!
Don’t forget to follow the VR League on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube for updates, highlights, VODs and more, and check out the website over at vr.eslgaming.com to sign up for Echo Arena, The Unspoken, Sprint Vector and more VR esports tournaments!