Rocket League‘s Rocket Pass is straight up better than Fortnite’s Battle Pass. There. I said it.
That’s not really surprising, given that Epic used the system before Psyonix. The company is locked into certain structures, like weekly challenges, and its current experience system, which hasn’t really changed since Season 2 when the Fortnite craze truly took off. While Psyonix surely rushed to get their iteration of the feature out as soon as possible, they were also able to learn from Epic’s shortcomings. I think that’s given them a big leg up on the most popular game in the world.
Battle Pass Boundaries
In Fortnite, skins are huge business considering how expensive they normally are. Even the cheapest will run you almost $10. The highest quality ones fetch double that. The same generally holds true with gliders and pickaxes, though those are usually a little less pricey. Boiled down to its essence, the Battle Pass is mainly a way to earn Fortnite cosmetics at a much cheaper price than normal.
Each season does offer a number of contrails which, thus far, have never been available in the Item Shop. But there’s still a lot of filler in the form of sprays, emojis, banner icons, and loading screens. Nearly 33 percent of the Season 6 Battle Pass tiers contain one of these filler items exclusively. Which really swings the sense of value wildly. Going from chasing an awesome skin at one point to a simple emoji I’ll never use at the next doesn’t feel very good.
Psyonix takes a different approach with Rocket League. There are no challenges. Focus remains on winning games. The amount of experience required to level up doesn’t increase, either. You can play whenever you have time for the exact same benefits as any other week. I feel the need to play every single day, not just when new challenges are live.
The economy of Rocket League is also much different. It’s centered around the crate system. Random chance dictates what you get for your funds. While you can trade with other players through various third-party websites, that’s mostly for PC players and the hardest hardcore fans.
Because of all of this, car bodies are at a premium. Most either need to be purchased directly or unlocked through random chance crates. There are also boosts, wheels, antennas, toppers, goal explosions, trails, and engine sounds. One of the biggest targets for many players right now is the Motormouth engine sound: a human being imitating an engine sound with their mouth. It’s tremendously silly and the first of its kind.
The closest things to filler are titles, which go on your player card, or decals, since you can get skins for cars you don’t own. But you also get keys and decryptors: two items that unlock any crates you earn along the way. There aren’t a ton, but it’s a nice little treat to earn something outside of your initial investment.
One Just Feels Better
The Rocket Pass just feels like a better ramp up to good cosmetics. What you earn later are upgraded forms of the first things you get, but you keep those early items, too. That Supernova goal explosion gets longer and more complicated with each of the three tiers you hit. The Capacitor wheels change color and complexity, eventually adding glowing treads and a hub that juts out from the center. I’ve found it leads to a better feeling of investment.
There’s even a long-term end goal that’s even more rewarding. Although I personally have a zero percent chance of hitting it. After level 70, the final Rocket Pass level, you start earning Painted and Certified (palette swapped and stat tracking) versions of the high-level rewards at random.
Fortnite‘s Battle Pass is cool and popularized the concept, but it ultimately lacks a sense of true progression. Epic chose to tie progress primarily into challenges with what feels like minuscule progress from leveling.
Looking back, I think I actually played Fortnite mostly to progress the pass, focusing on challenges and not the game itself. With Rocket League, I’m playing primarily to have fun, get better, and win. I just happen to be ranking up the pass while I play. It’s both fun and rewarding. Which is something I find lacking when leveling the Fortnite Battle Pass.