Rocket League is a simplistic, yet deceptively deep, competitive multiplayer PC game. The gaudy RC cars, silly jet packs, and absurd aerial acrobatics can give any onlooker the impression that Rocket League is childish or casual.
So, it’s surprising, and even a bit frustrating, for new players to jump into online matches and get utterly wrecked. The truth is, Rocket League is less like a soccer game with RC cars, and more like a team-based billiard game with RC-shaped cues. Everything, from the angle you strike the ball, to the surface of the car you connect with, radically affects your trajectory. Controlling your car, and knowing how to hit the ball, is integral to playing the game, and the in-game tutorials only teach you the basics. Rocket League prowess comes from experience, but figuring out where to begin can be daunting.
To help you would-be prodigies, I’ve selected five important Rocket League tips to consider whenever you jump into a lobby. This is not a guide, by any means. The chasm of skill and experience between a novice Rocket League player and a veteran one is far too great to fill with only a few pointers.
Think of this article as more of an outline. These are things you should keep in mind when jumping into a match, or practice during your games whenever you get the chance. When it comes to Rocket League, be patient and always be ready to learn, because there’s a lot to soak in. With practice, you’ll soon be pulling off trick shots and amazing ball clearing saves.
Support Is Important
While learning the ropes, you’ll be inclined to make a mad dash for the ball. Everybody wants to be a goal-scoring MVP after all, so it’s only natural to make a scramble for possession. But in Rocket League’s fast-paced and ever-fluid matches, sticking to the ball isn’t always the wisest of choices. If your entire team is fighting for the ball, then no one will be ready to clear a shot at your goal if your opponents wrest the ball from your possession. Unfortunately, hanging back and waiting at the goal is just as detrimental, because your team lacks the pressure of a dedicated offense.
The solution is to find a middle ground between offensive and defensive action. During offense, if two of your teammates are guiding the ball towards the goal, hang back a bit, and be ready to catch the ball should an opponent make a steal. You’ll want to position yourself halfway between the ball and your own goal, ready to clear it the moment it gets too close to home. The caveat, however, is that you must follow the ball to make sure it doesn’t get back onto your side of the field.
If your teammate gets possession of the ball, and you happen to be near them, drive up and offer support. You want to help guide the ball into the goal. Don’t ever assume your teammate will make the shot: always be ready to nudge the ball in the right direction if your partner’s aim is off.
Lastly, if you have possession of the ball, then by all means carry on. Take a shot, make a pass, or do whatever you think is right for your team at the moment. Just be sure not to get over excited and drive ahead of the ball.
Manage Your Boost
Boost capsules are an important part of Rocket League’s core gameplay. Boosting lets you blast across the field to intercept or block shots and rival cars, and lets you fly through the air during jumps for spectacular trick shots. However, boost is consumed very quickly, so you need to regularly drive over boost orbs on the field to replenish your stock.
Boost orbs are available to all drivers, and take precious seconds to respawn once collected. Waiting a few moments for a boost orb might not sound like a big deal, but Rocket League matches are fast and furious: waiting for a boost orb takes you out of the action and cripples your team’s offense, which gives your opponents a major advantage for those few seconds your away.
Keep a good stock of boost on hand, but don’t go out of your way to collect them, either. You can collect a maximum of 100 boost units. Common boost orbs on the field restore 12 units each when collected, and respawn in about four seconds. Large orbs restore 100 boost units, but these only spawn on the four corners of the field and respawn in 10 seconds, so you shouldn’t go out to collect them unless the ebb and flow of the match takes you there.
If you have high boost, don’t get greedy and take boost just because you can: remember you are sharing these orbs with your teammates. The only time you should consider collecting excess boost is when you notice opposing players going for one and want to deny it from them.
Boosting to supersonic speed is a great way to get across the field. Once you reach your top speed, however, you won’t go any faster by burning more boost. You can maintain supersonic speed by holding accelerate and forward, so conserve your boost once you reach sonic levels.
Your car operates under the same intricate physics that the ball does, though your vehicle is decidedly weightier. This means that you can ram players, and they can ram you in kind. This is particularly useful when you’re playing defense. Often times you find yourself in a position where you cannot boost fast enough to knock the ball out of your opponents’ possession to clear it. In situations like this, ramming your opponents can greatly hinder their shooting ability, making them more liable to miss or slowing them down enough to let a fellow teammate clear the ball.
You can also completely destroy opposing players’ vehicles. This forces them to respawn on their side of the map, giving you precious seconds to capitalize on your opponent’s weakened offense/defense. In order to destroy a vehicle, however, you need to plow through them in a straight line while boosting. While doing so is useful if successful, it is also extremely risky and should be used sparingly. Attentive players can easily avoid your madcap ramming attempt, which is almost guaranteed to overshoot you. You don’t want to leave your team vulnerable while you scramble to reposition yourself, so don’t make a point of destroying cars if you can help it. In general, you want to hit the ball before you start hitting other players.
Take to the Air
Rocket League’s ball is a complex beast that ricochets around the field depending on how hard you hit it, where you come into contact with it, and what part of your car makes contact. Naturally, the ball takes to the air during hectic matches, making it tricky to retake control of it. Fortunately, your car’s boost and jump abilities lets you fly through the air to do exactly that.
Make no mistake, though, aerial gameplay is extremely difficult to master, and takes a lot of practice to properly grasp. At its simplest, jumping while boosting and holding back on the control stick slightly, lets you fly through the air. Further manipulation of the control stick and boost lets you correct your trajectory and pitch. Learning how to control your car in the air is extremely useful, and can give you a tremendous advantage during matches. Unfortunately, there is no simple trick to perfecting your aerial game aside from practicing. Our advice is to execute aerial strikes whenever the opportunity presents itself, and make heavy use of Rocket League’s practice mode to acclimate yourself to the physics. Don’t be afraid to try: you can’t get good if you don’t make the attempt.
Vault and Drive Backwards
Your movement options are not entirely boost dependent, though boosting certainly helps. The powerslide, for example, is a sharp turn that lets you wheel around quickly to orient your car towards the action faster than a normal turn. But there may be situations where you want to go backwards without reorienting your car. For scenarios like these, driving in reverse works surprisingly well, when combined with vaulting.
Jumping while holding forward or backward make your car vault in that direction. Doing so as you accelerate increases your movement speed noticeably, and repeated vaults further increase your speed. You can easily reach your top speed with some well-timed flips, so be sure to use them liberally if you need to catch up. This is also true for backflips and driving backwards. As crazy as it sounds, driving in reverse while vaulting can be faster than turning or even powersliding. Vaulting is a fantastic way to get into position quickly while also conserving boost, so give it a try sometime.
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