Last week saw a couple small but much-requested updates, immediately accessible to anyone without even downloading a patch: Friend challenges issued in VirZOOM Arcade now last three days, and challenge results remain visible for a couple days after challenges end. This should give you and your friends plenty of time to take a shot at that high score you were so proud of (and point to it and gloat for awhile afterward).
Given these changes – and the influx of new VirZOOM players on PlayStation – it feels like a good time to recap what friend challenges are and how to use them.
What is a friend challenge? A friend challenge is a private match between you and your VirZOOM friends. It runs for a limited period of time – three days if issued in-game, or a custom duration if you set it up from My VirZOOM (my.virzoom.com/challenges). It also has some funky special features that you don’t get in other modes. All challenges have private leaderboards: At the end of the challenge, you’ll see how you and your friends did relative to each other. Challenges in some games, however, take the multiplayer experience even further.
Like in Quickplay, friend challenges for multiplayer games let you drop in and out of other people’s games anytime. If you jump into Quickplay while a friend is playing, you may or may not see them depending on how many other players there are – but if you jump in during a friend challenge you’ve issued, you’ll only see your friends, no strangers allowed. And even if your schedules don’t quite line up, in some games, you can still “see” your friends after they’ve logged off: Each participant in the challenge leaves behind a “ghost,” a translucent avatar that shows their top score in the game. You’ll even see your own ghost so you can try to beat your previous top score in the challenge. (We left this feature out of some games, though. The Jailbreak! experience isn’t really improved by crowding the street with ghost cowboys, regardless of how cool that might sound.)
How do I create a challenge? There are two ways to initiate a challenge. The quickest and easiest is just to start one while you’re playing: After you finish a session in QuickPlay, you’ll be prompted to challenge your friends to beat your new score (as long as you haven’t already issued a challenge that isn’t finished yet). Say “yes,” and everybody in your VirZOOM friends list will get notified of the invitation.
The second way to initiate a challenge is to go to My VirZOOM and set up a custom challenge. Here, you can invite only specific people from your friends list, set a time range with specific dates and times, name it whatever you like, and designate whether you want it to repeat regularly (just in case you need a regular “Tuesday Tankstravaganza”). This method is popular among folks who are running tournaments and other events.
How do I accept and play in a challenge? When you go looking for games in VirZOOM Arcade, head into the Friend Challenges menu (instead of Quickplay, Hot Seat, or a Timed/Custom Workout). From there, you can not only accept challenge invitations, but also launch the games themselves. You can also accept and refuse challenge invitations at My VirZOOM, of course. Just make sure that if you want your progress in a game counted toward a challenge, you start the game through the Friend Challenges menu, not through Quickplay! And don’t worry about only your friends seeing your whopping high scores: Challenge scores still count for the global leaderboards.
And now, let me pose a question to you: What else should challenges do? We’ve been refining challenge features for weeks now, and are curious to hear about what you’d like to see. If you’re reading this on the blog, please comment below; if you’re reading this by email, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop by the blog to leave a comment! We’re looking forward to hearing what you think.