Hey guys, welcome aboard! This is the second installment of my new Rocket Stock Speculation Series! Today we’ll be covering Illuminata wheels.
These wheels hold a special place in my heart. They gifted me a lucky Beverly Hillbilly style road to riches story that I never truly expected to happen! You might be wondering what makes Illuminata wheels so valuable. Certified Illuminata can fetch a pretty penny, with striker sets selling upward of 10,000 credits. Good news! I’m about to tell you all about them.
Wheels extracted from seasonal crates have their own unique story to tell. They attract collectors of a different sort, you could say.
When most seasonal crates were in circulation, they were often overshadowed by a new mainline crate release filled with higher value (and more sought after) items.
To anyone fortunate enough to begin their Rocket League grind after the blueprint update, you may not realize we spent years caught in a gambling loop for in-game purchases. RL boomers like me have loads of ugly decals for cars we’ve never owned.
Old Crate Odds:
Divide those odds by 4 for a painted item, divide by 16 for a painted certified item.
Illuminata Wheels are Exotic, but they also came out of a crate that featured no Black Market items. That’s part of the reason seasonal event crates were unpopular. A Spring Fever crate was worth the equivalent of 1 credit a pop. Meanwhile, a Victory Series crate could fetch 50 credits. Times were different!
All of the gambling addicts sensationalized the idea of cracking a Chameleon Black Market decal capable of fetching roughly 3000 credits, or white Infinium wheels, worth about 2500 credits.
Both of those items are dirt-cheap today, and yet Illuminatas gained a ton of value. Wonder why that is?
The Spring Fever event lasted from April 19th of 2018 to May 9th, 2018. Sometimes the crates would drop randomly after matches. However, drop rates were pretty low. Most Spring Fever crates sparked to life by redeeming event currency, along with limited-time toppers, boosts, and trails not unlike events currently in circulation.
The Spring Fever event used flowers as currency.
While a player could theoretically purchase up to 9,999 Spring Fever crates with flowers, those crates cost 50 flowers each and still required an in-game purchase of keys to crack. Would you prefer to spend your flowers on a free limited edition item, or a crate that cost a dollar to open?
Total: 580 Flowers
Usually, the player progression ran like this:
You get the point. Collect 175 flowers – Pick up the new meme toppers and antennas. Etc. Etc.
An average of 10 flowers dropped per game. So after clearing 58 games, a player could redeem crates about every 5 games.
So they should still be floating around somewhere, right?
Today, I consider 2018 to be the “Golden Age” of smurfing. The Rocket League community was at the height of its Pro player craze, and the professional circuit of players was still on a bit of a freestyling kick.
In 2021, if you post a wicked trick shot clip to social media, you face the eternal flames of Tartarus for scoring on a bad goalie. What the internet trolls aren’t telling you: they posted the same clips three years ago and were revered more than Paul himself.
The community mentality was still in development. Most of the complex mechanics reached widespread discovery, but the concept of “more important skills to master” was virtually non-existent.
Without taking my tangent any further, our player-base was pretty pathetic compared to today. Rocket League was three years old. It cost twenty bucks to purchase yet the game still reeked of ever-unpopular micro-transactions.
Worst of all, hopping on meant a 1:3 chance of getting your dreams crushed by someone playing on an alternate account to practice air-dribbling the ball in circles around the map.
Our average player-base was 120k users.
“An event should remedy that, yes?”
The items in the Spring Fever crate appeared to be drafted by Psyonix Devin’s five-year-old nephew.
Oh boy. So many breathtaking cosmetic items, so little time. Maybe if the universal decal and goal explosion came painted, there would be some value to spending your hard-earned dollars on this heap of garbage. Probably not.
The original design for Illuminata wheels featured a yellow ring and red rim core on all paint colors. The only changes painted Illuminata featured were in the simplistic flashing lights. You can still see the original design on the unpainted variant, for reference.
The RL community was at the peak of its White Zomba hype. Everyone wanted clean animated wheels. Psyonix was already under fire for making other colors of Zombas and Infiniums multi-color.
The developers ignored this feedback and offered a tri-color wheel.
A sky blue painted wheel with a yellow ring and red rims? Talk about a train wreck of mismatch!
The wheels updated on April 11th – with only one week remaining on the event. Of course, not everybody knew that the patch had occurred, nor did they care.
The wheels may be rare, but it takes an interest in an item for anyone to take notice.
Two factors made the Illuminata wheel an oddity.
Illuminata wheels represent the first time community feedback resulted in a patched design – a pretty hefty merit of its own! Of course, Psyonix didn’t stop there. Seasonal events picked up in amplitude to further remedy the backlash. Most importantly, we would notice a change in Psyonix’s overall design philosophy. Cosmetics down the line began catering to our tastes more adequately with single-tone color palettes and more obscure tread patterns.
Secondly, Illuminata wheels did something experimental. Over time, they revealed a community interest in tread patterns. Up until that point, Psyonix designers were treating wheels as a Two-Dimensional design space.
I can’t pretend they were the first to feature tread exploration since Septems existed and were much flashier.
But if you check the tread pattern on Voltaics and Zombas, you’ll notice they share the same skin. A simplistic rubber tire with two vertical lines to make a three-column tread. A few horizontal lines connect these columns intermittently through a zig-zag-like pattern.
Psyonix fell into a bit of a design rut. Here’s a full list of wheels sharing this specific tread layout:
Notice anything in common with most of these wheels? They all arrived in the same period. Illuminata wheels may feature a tread pretty tame by modern Rocket League standards, but after a several month dry-spell, these multi-colored triangle spam treads were a godsend. People began to take notice.
Hypnotik wheels shook up the tread pattern. Reevrb wheels did the same.
As a matter of fact, that dried up old tread pattern only returned once in the first rocket pass as Troublemaker wheels, and even those added some extra color.
With only a handful of these puppies slipping into the hands of traders, a devoted group of traders could check weekly for new listings and sustain complete ownership of their respective platforms. It’s pretty easy to break the price sheet bible when a single seller is holding an item for months on end.
Eventually, the price begins to normalize.
After all, it doesn’t matter what some YouTube reviewer states how much a product is worth if the MSRP doesn’t budge in actual retail chains. You can choose not to buy it, but you can’t stand there picketing your cashier expecting results.
The price sheet read 400, but sets were selling for over 2000. The disparity lasted for years. It was an insider’s market.
Uhh… Illuminata wheels look dope? I’m kidding, I’m kidding.
Illuminata wheels proved a lot to us. They proved to us that price sheets are not laws to be followed. They proved to us that the Rocket League community does have a voice that Psyonix can hear. They proved that long-term Rocket Stocks pay off more than short-term Black Market flips.
Chameleon decals are virtually worthless these days.
Illuminata wheels have a story to tell. In many ways, they wound up breaking boundaries. Their very existence would help shape the direction of Rocket League for the better.
So, when I equip a set of painted Illuminata, I can’t help but feel the weight of holding a little piece of Rocket League history.
Here: Take one more of these awesome photos with you for the road. Just promise me you’ll scroll down to that “Return to Blog” icon afterward, eh? Maybe give it a click? Much love! I hope you enjoyed your time here.