Seven Rocket League Tips From The Game's Creator
It's no secret that we love Rocket League; the team at developer Psyonix did a fantastic job of scratching a sports itch we didn't know we had. We asked the founder of Psyonix, Dave Hagewood, to share his best advice for upping your game. Hagewood has been playing a version of this game for seven years now (since developing the game's prequel Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars) so he knows a thing or two about the intricacies of the "sport." The following is what he thinks every player of Rocket League should know.
Stay In Formation
Hagewood: When you see a bunch of little kids play soccer, they all bundle up in one big group to kick the ball around the field. You actually see new players playing Rocket League the same way. One thing I would say is to learn to spread out, to play positions. If you’re the person the furthest away from the ball and closest to your goal, you need to be playing defense. If you watch the pros, you’ll see that they’ll be very spread out in a big triangle on the field with one person back. They’ll naturally rotate that defender in and out and wait for an opportunity. Even if you’re not a rocket-flying player, there are a lot of shots to be had and a lot of opportunities to be had by playing more positional soccer.
Don't Worry About Immediately Mastering Aerials
Hagewood: I’ve played the game for seven years and I’m one of the better players at the studio, but I was never really a rocket flyer. I’m really only just now starting to get a lot better at doing aerials. I could score goals against guys doing aerials and be one of the better players even without really doing that. You don’t have to be an amazing aerial player to be a good player. But if you want to be the best in the world, then certainly. You want to find what works for you in the game. If you’re a really great ground player, then you can do well at that.... You have to be careful when you do want to try and do aerials, because you have to remember that if you miss the ball, you're flying through the air for a while and that gives the other team a big opportunity to try and score.
One of the best players, he goes by Gibbs and he plays with who is considered the best player, who is Kronovi. Kronovi is an air player. He loves to get up into the air and knock the ball to goal, and Gibbs gives him a run for his money because he’s very good at keeping the ball from popping up into the air. So he basically neutralizes that weakness. It’s really interesting to see them play; he really frustrates Kronovi because of that strategy.
Don't Forget The Sideways-Shot
Hagewood: When you first start playing, people drive by the ball. The ball is in between them and the goal, but it’s to the side of them. If you can learn to side-flip, you can knock it right in.
Be Flexible With The Ball Cam
Hagewood: My best advice is to try both [cameras] immediately. We should almost have a big message saying "try both." Some [players] go one way and some the other way, it really depends. A lot of the players [at the studio] started out not using ball cam except to see where the ball was. I was maybe one of the first ball cam-always-on players. From a tactical perspective, I want to know where that ball is. But I definitely see the advanced players – and I’m starting to do this as well – will toggle it quite a bit. There’s times when you want to have perfect alignment of your car and your camera, and there are other times when you really need to know where that ball is.
Hagewood: We tried the strategy [of blowing up other players] and found that (for good players) it’s not that effective. I think it’s fun and it’s interesting on the lower levels, and it can be a very strategic part of advanced play. In advanced play there’s almost always a guy in the goal when you’re coming up to try to score. Really advanced players – especially in tournament play – will have one player try to take out the goalie so that they can get that shot in, because the goalies get so good that you almost have to do crazy aerials to even score. There’s definitely a place for bashing people and smashing them – it’s a part of the game, and it’s something that we put in there because we thought it was a worthwhile strategy. I think just going around and demolishing people all day has limited effectiveness.
Here's How You Get To The Ball First
Hagewood: The first level is make sure you’re holding that boost right when the countdown hits. The next level of that is to do a dodge – dodging forward actually gives you a speed increase. If you played the game long enough, you’ll know that if you’re out of boost and you dodge a few times forward, you can actually get up to the full speed, even without having boost. That’s a big strategy in the game. Even if you start out with boost, the dodge move will actually get you to a higher speed faster than just boosting alone. So you can actually get to the ball faster by boosting and then timing it – and this takes a lot of practice – but timing it perfectly so you can dodge and hit the ball right at the end of your forward dodge. And there’s a level beyond that which is very tricky: A slightly diagonal dodge can actually make you go just a fraction of a bit faster. You have to boost, but you have to boost a little bit away from the ball, which requires some steering, and then do a diagonal dodge and still hit the ball at the right time. It’s very, very difficult, but you can hit the ball before everybody else.
Watch The Pros
Here's a list of the players that Hagewood recommends checking out on YouTube and Twitch. While Kronovi is considered the best in the world right now, the following are the top players in alphabetical order based on the latest #Go4RocketLeague ESL Tournament: