i’ve played over 500 hours of Rocket League since i bought it last summer. lots of you guys play it too, so i thought i might be able to share some things about the only game i’m actually above-average at.
when i got a little more serious about RL and started trying to rise up the ranked ladder (i refuse to call it competitive, since most games reserve that moniker for actual organized teamplay, be it amateur or pro) i picked up new things along the way almost daily. i still do, really often, the most recent one being kind of what inspired me to write this little deal. but the game doesn’t tell you much, and videos and guides from excellent players sometimes either start at the very basic level (no help to a challenger) or kind of forget what it’s like for someone who’s brand new and sucks out loud. the rocket league pros mostly played supersonic acrobatic rocket powered battle cars as well as the RL alpha so its been thousands of gameplay hours since they were like you or me.
so what follows is, well, what the title said. a brief list of things nobody told me, or that i only found in passing.
you don’t need to dodge roll into everything.
ever miss a shot or worse, a save, because you dodge rolled too soon? probably you didn’t need to dodge roll anyway. just jump/fly into the ball sometimes. i made a horrible habit of rolling into every ball for MAXIMUM POWA and it’s tough to shake it now. this is the #1 thing i would go back and tell <50 hours Steph. stop dodge rolling into everything and you will have more control over your accuracy and miss less.
communicate on kickoffs. always.
if you plan to go hit the ball say Up-Up (or 11) for I got it. If not, tell us to take the shot. lots of headaches saved right there.
speaking of kickoffs, someone should be contesting them and someone should be cheating.
in 3s, someone is I got it! and they contest, someone is Take the shot! and ideally they cheat (i.e. get close to the kickoff so they can take the second touch), and someone is Defending… and they STAY IN THE NET THEY DO NOT GET GREEDY FOR BOOST. in 2s, it’s obvious who should take the shot, and the other person should half-cheat, but if you start equally close to the ball someone should call it and the other should immediately make for the net just in case. if your teammate is always going for it (or not) no matter what, just let them & cover for them because you aren’t changing their mind.
car choice matters. individualize your pick.
we’re told each car is basically equal when we ask which is best to use, but that implies they drive and hit the same which is just not true. and you see most pros using octane, so many people think it’s the best, but it’s really just the car they’ve used since sarpbc. it’s comfort. the way you want to play the game absolutely should inform your choice of car, and you can kind of get a decent idea what the car can do by looking at it. they have rectangular hitboxes that mostly mimic the shape of the car, so think about what you want to do, and select a car that gives you the best chance to do it. if you are playing solo and dribbling a lot, you want something that suits a ground game. octane is an awesome choice because its height makes dribs easy, but so is the ultralow batmobile because you can carry the ball on its long and wide roof effortlessly and block well with its length. octane and i think it was zippy have a pretty good hitbox for hard shots in that width X height is solid, but it’s a short little dude, so for defending you want something with more surface area. batmobile is a decent choice but its powerslide turning radius is terrible. dominus becomes a great option here, but if you don’t have that dlc breakout is good too. basically, with a little bit of thought, and not bothering with which car is OP (none of them), you can pick any car you like best that appears to suit your needs.then stick with it because they DO handle differently and you’ll be adjusting.
except merc. never merc.
the trainings are very useful.
you should start by mastering striker up to pro, goalie as far as you can manage, and aerial up to pro after those two. i used to warm up by playing all 10 balls of every trainer. (now i just play hoops for warmups lol.) goalie and striker trainings give you practice with balls you see in every game. hit a goal from your own corner, watch the players shower you with praise, and think to yourself “really? that’s just a ball from all star striker.” the muscle memory will kick in and you will get better. all star striker is nice to keep working on forever, but you really should try to get good at all star goalie first i think. all star aerial is nice for warming up your air control and practicing hitting balls where you want, but they aren’t very good game examples honestly.
a thing i learned from watching kuxir97’s stream was that you don’t have to sit in the post-game lobby while you queue for the next one. between games, after you start your search, bounce back to the menu and do a goalie training til the next game launches. go to free play and work on those jukes. go into an exhibition map and work on kickoffs – that’s important, by the way, the free play ball is slightly elevated so it isn’t exactly real kickoff practice. what kux was doing was freestyling in all star aerial and scoring 100%. wtf. speaking of,
start flying immediately.
when you’re trying to add a new element to your game, play normals, not ranked, and just try to do it a LOT. the titular aerial balls make a good example. go queue for unranked 3v3 and try to hit balls in the air. you will whiff. oh lord will you whiff. i still whiff now. (the difference is, when you connect, and it gets even close, your chat will say Wow! Nice shot! whereas if i whiff i get Whoops… and OMG! and the other kind of Wow!) then focus on aerial trainings between matches. rookie helps you get an idea of hitting balls off the ground without making you fly to them all. pro gets you pumping your jets, and finally you find yourself doing what i used to do, which was trying each all star ball until i hit it in the GENERAL DIRECTION of the net, congratulating myself and moving on to the next one. then moving on when it goes in by any means. then moving on when it goes in directly. then only moving on if it flies in, lands in the box and one-hops, or you redirect it off the wall. …you get there.
i did the same with wallhits. just went into normals and tried to hit every ball on the wall i possibly could. its hella hard but man is it important as a defensive/midfield oriented player. between games i’d go into free play and ride on the wall, jump off the wall, roll the ball up the wall and try to hit it, and where i’m at now, accuracy is kind of the goal but it’s not easy to practice that. you can do the same with dribbles or carroms or anything else you want to get better at. just go to normals and DO it, man.
eyes on the prize.
i watched a really important video the other day from good player and good guy amoney. he streams all the time and is worth checking out because he’s super chill all the time no matter what. but this video was basically his guide to not tilting. the secret, it turns out, is turning your attention away from whether you won or lost That Game, and instead focusing on whether you’re getting better. to paraphrase, Forget the rating. It’s meaningless. It’s a title. Who cares. You’ll get where you want to be anyway–as long as you’re playing the game to get better, you’re doing it right. Your end game should be consistency, whether winning or losing games. and since i adopted that attitude i’m playing much better, having more fun again, and it feels like there’s hope to get out of the rising star trench i’ve been stuck in after all. (i’ve been shooting star in solo 3s twice, only to drop out immediately both times because, surprise, i was hyperfocused on the rating.)
that said let me end with a quick story of the human bucket of toxins i ran into today. i only played a handful of games of rocket league tonight, and i was doing great too, i played doubles today and went from rising star III to rising star V, but i quit even though the prospect of promotion was right there in front of me because of this… peach.
so i queue into a game of 2s, both teams are solo players, cool, equal footing. i’d won games earlier in the night with both of my opponents and i know they’re both a tier above mine (although i had just hit div 5). this asshole goes in for the kickoff and it carroms off to the side, like it does, and i go to challenge it because i can beat the opposing second guy to it. i miss. sharp angle bounces are so hard to judge when you’re close to them. naturally their player had the easier line to the ball, coming from farther away, and did not miss. 0-1. mr. sarcoma fills chat with Wow!s until his spam filter kicks in then adds the BM forfeit vote for good measure. really dude? so i team chat, maybe this was where I screwed up, i just team chat “lol fuck off” during the replay after he forfeit voted. we should be done there. i hear you, but you’re being dick, defused, right? he’s so busy typing a flame back at me because i misspelled one of those words that he doesn’t contest the faceoff, which our opponent picks into a top corner over me. of course, slimeball over here starts with the aggressive What a save! spam. friends, don’t do this. when your teammates do it (to teammates) mute them immediately. especially don’t do it when the shot itself is CLEARLY YOUR FAULT. the forfeit clock hadn’t run out yet so i just voted myself and got the hell out of that game. told him to fuck off again and got greeted with racist, homophobic slurs. cool. of course the game wasn’t over yet, it was like :10 in, but it was not worth the frustration to continue with that dude. let’s go find a new game to get better.
but he wasn’t done. oh no. all four of us queued into each other again, shuffled, with king anthrax now against me. you talk about wanting to win a game. man. he fed me 2 easy goals with duffed clearances, was toxic to his new teammate, became toxic in allchat, kept referring to “scoreboard” to tell his teammate he had more points (i think it was 50 points and their stat line was the same), and in post game continued to flame all of us and call his teammate (who was logical and levelheaded) “mad cuz bad” for some reason.
friends, these people get to me. they make me think about proving them wrong, or worse, not proving them right, instead of about playing rocket league. it’s a feeling i don’t shake easily. so i stopped playing. no need to risk queueing into turdjoy again. that’s my last tip no one ever taught me. if you’re about to tilt and amoney’s advice doesn’t apply, do something else immediately. you WILL play worse and life’s too short anyway.