Tips For Improving At Rocket League
So you've just bought Rocket League, you've played a few games, maybe even won a few, but you realize that you really aren't as good as everybody else. That makes sense, seeing as how Rocket League is a weird game, and oddly simple too. I would argue that the game's simplicity is actually the most challenging part about it. There are no strategies, builds, or routes to memorize. There are no choke points or motions to get down. The game is simple. Which means it's very easy to get better, but incredibly hard to master. Hopefully this guide will help you get at to at least the former.
The first, and absolutely most important thing for any new (or bad) player to do in Rocket League is to learn the controls. While controls will change depending on which system you're using, knowing what every button does is key. The most important button is the boost, which allows your car to accelerate quite a bit. But that's basic. Speaking of basic, the next button is your jump button. If you click this once the booster under your car will fire and pop you up in the air, but it gets better, because you can press it again! Even better still on the second jump you can push in a directional stick and control which way you flip. Click forward and you do a forward roll, backwards is a reverse bicycle, left and right do a barrel roll, and without any direction you go straight up. The next most important button you need to know is the ball camera lock. If you find yourself often wondering where the ball is or what's going on, click this button. While it's not recommended, you can play the entire game in this mode and do better than never clicking it at all. Another button that helps less but can still be key is the handbrake. If you need to you can press this button to made a hard turn. Now the scenarios when you would want to do this are limited because the speed of your car tends to determine how effective you are, but it does have its occasional use. The final buttons are the least used and arguably some of the most important, your push to talk button and you preset text communications. Whether you like it or not, talking to your teammates is key. One of the best things you can do is talk to your teammates, tell them where you're going, what you want them to do, where the ball is going, who is defending, if you want a pass or if you want to give a pass. Talk. Talk. Talk. Even if you don't want to talk that much or if you don't have a mic, use your non-verbals. The game has built in quotes like "Centering", "Defending", or "I got it". But even if you don't want to talk that much, you would be shocked how far the simple "Thanks!" or "Great Shot!" goes. That's it. That's all the controls you need to know. Next, is how you use them.
1) DON'T CHASE
So here's the deal. While yes the ball is all powerful and is the objective of this game, don't follow it around. If you do you're going to be in trouble because next to the ball is generally the worst place to be, ever. In this game you're job is to hit the ball. No dribbling. No catching. If you are sitting right next to the ball or right under it you're not going to have speed. This game is physics based, the faster you're going the harder that you're going to hit the ball. There are a few general places you want to be depending on where you're teammates are and where you are, but none of them are "following the ball like a lemming".
Positioning is very simple and easy in this game. If the ball is on you're side of the field, always go INSIDE OUT. What that means is that if the ball is in the corner to the left of your goal, don't charge at it or hit it by the wall, instead go towards your goal then once you get to basically your goal line, turn and hit the ball away. That is the best way to make sure that the ball doesn't bounce back in towards your goal. If the ball is on the other team's side, look at where your teammates are. If you have somebody on the ball and your other player is hanging around midfield, go at the net and sit around the box and hope the ball comes to you to score. If you have one teammate at the net and one at the ball, sit on the wall a fair distance away from the ball but still on the same wall so if the other team pops it out of their corner you can put it right back or towards the goal. If the ball is in the other team's corner and you don't see a teammate, go after the ball. A very general strategy is that if the other team is trying to do something specific, such as clear the ball away from the net or lead the ball towards yours YOU CAN NEVER GO WRONG HITTING THE BALL AS HARD AS POSSIBLE so long as you don't hit it in front of your net or at your own goal. Which brings me to point three:
3) CLEAR THE SLOT
The most goals in the game are scored in a very simple way: The ball is bounced off of a corner near a net or off the wall, and a player sitting at the top of the box or halfway between the midfield line and the goal charges in at a perfect angle and scores. That's it. If you want to limit the other teams goals THEN DON'T LET THE BALL INTO THE MIDDLE OF THE SLOT. It works the other way to, the best way to set up your teammates is to try and hit the ball off the corner or off the wall near their net and have your teammates put it in.
Lets say that nothing so far is working for you. Maybe you have bad teammates or maybe you just kinda suck at timing or maybe you just aren't good at hitting the ball. What do you do? Chaos. It's easy and it's fun. If the other team has the ball CONSTANTLY CHALLENGE THEM. Hit the ball as many times as you can, don't ever let them hit the ball without you being there right in their face. More times than not the ball will bounce off of you in a direction that they don't want, but be careful to not accidentally hit the ball towards your net or in the slot area. Another thing you can do is hit the other teams cars! If you're going fast enough, as in boosting for a while and your opponent isn't and you hit them, its a demolition which will destroy their car and take them off the field for a few seconds. Even if that's a bit too tricky, all you have to do is bump the other team's cars with speed. If you move cars out of the way, or at least move them to where they don't want to be, it'll cause problems for the other team, and create opportunities for yours.
Lastly, I have a few little tricks that I've learned from playing the game with my friends and watching others play.
1) If you double click your jump while pressing forward, you will accelerate quickly, if you do it twice you will reach top speed. If you use this at the beginning of a match as well as your boost, you can get first touch more reliably.
2) When using the second, directional jump, the direction isn't where you're looking but its based on the keys. What I mean by that is that if you are looking to the left of your car and you use your directional jump while pressing forward, you will do a forward roll not a side roll.
3) To get the maximum amount of vertical lift, double tap jump with a slight delay between them, angle your car up using the directional keys after you have already used your second jump, and boost.
4) Going slightly out of your way for boost is almost always worth it, with the absolute best time being when your team is in the offensive zone.
5) Have fun. As corny as it is, this isn't a serious game. Its about cars with jet engines on the back that shoot out rainbows. Just enjoy the game and don't take it that seriously!