Rocket League - Get Ready For the Ride of Your Life

Get Ready For The Ride of Your Lives! - Buy on Steam

What is this and why am I here?

It’s an online multiplayer game made by Psyonix, an indie dev that mostly did contract work, but they always had a baby, that baby was called Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars. Quite a mouthful, huh? So when they made the sequel to this little known gem they decided to just give it a different name. Rocket League. It’s about rocket cars going vroom vroom in order to smash some balls into some goals. Some say it’s like football (if you’re a wanker) or soccer (if you’re a pleb) but with cars! It’s super fun and cool. Available for PC (including Linux and Mac), PS4 and Xbox One with crossplay between PC and either of the consoles (but not both at the same time :frowning: ) it turned out to be a huge hit with around 200,000 concurrent players every day. Which is tremendous for an indie title.

Eh, seems fun, bit won’t it get boring soon?

At the time of writing this I played the game for almost 850 hours. And Counting. There’s an immense amount of depth to each and every mechanic and new ways to utilize them are discovered all the time. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “easy to learn, hard to master” before and I’ve seen no other game that embodies the phrase like Rocket League does. You will begin giggling with delight as you whiff the ball with your friends but will soon acquire skills that seemed super-human to you not long ago.

There are various game types:

This comes in several varieties, first up there’s the Standard Modes of play: Duels (1v1), Doubles (2v2), Standars (3v3) and Chaos (4v4). No frills, just hitting the ball and having some fun with rocket cars.

In case you’re feeling like something different there’s Snow Day a hockey mode that replaces the ball with a puck as well as Hoops, which replaces the goals with basketball hoops you’ll have to score into from above.

If you just really want to experience true chaos first hand there’s Rumble Mode. This mode gives you special power-ups after a set amount of time has expired. You’ll be able to punch the ball away from you from a distance with a boxing glove, grapple hook yourself to the ball, swap positions with another player, draw the ball to you with a plunger and some more things too. It’s almost a bit like Smash, only you get to pick characters other than Fox and items are on.

If you’re feeling a bit more serious you can join the Competitive playlists. This will give you a fancy symbol next to your name telling you how good you are, making you feel better about your choice to play over 1000 hours of Rocket League. But aside from tighter matchmaking it’s basically the same as the Standard Casual modes (except Chaos, there is no Chaos mode here). Oh, and at the end of every competitive season you get a reward based on your highest reached rank, so, that’s another reason to git gud.

Oh, and you can dress up your car with pretty colors, fancy wheels, nice hats and classy antennas. How, could I forget, this is the most important part!

Nice, but do people really play this one map for over 1000 hours?

Well yes, that’s just how deep the game is, but there’s more. They did add several non-standard maps to the rotation since. Some of them are inspired by maps from the predecessor (I’m not gonna say the name again).

First of all, there’s Standard Maps. It’s the rectangle (technically octagon). This map has the most variants. There’s a quiet pitch in the forest, a big busy stadium a scenic arena with a bit of a coliseum vibe and some more. A lot of them come with day and night variants or different weather effects too.

But if that’s not exciting enough for you there’s the Non-Standard Maps.
Wasteland was the first one they introduced, it’s a larger arena with sloped sides, forcing the ball more towards the middle.
Neo Tokyo was the next, and also the first Rocket Labs alumnus (more on that in a bit). It has too raised platforms on both the left and right allowing for some creative passes and aerial plays
Starbase Arc is essentially just a very large octagon for you to play Rocket League in. This was the second map that ascended from the Rocket Labs.

So about these Rocket Labs… Psyonix added several maps with only basic tron-like assets to the game in order to see how well they play and what people think of them. The above Neotokyo and Starbase started out as Rocket Labs maps, but if that’s just not enough you can just select any Rocket Labs map in private games with friends. Unfortunately Rocket Labs maps are out of the map rotation for public games for the time being, but my understanding is that they will be back.

Okay, I’m sold! What now!?

Oh, just play the tutorial and then hop into a game, grab some friends if you can, everything is more fun with friends. If you want to learn how to play the game better there’s a couple places you can check out.

  • Team Rocket’s Rocket League Tutorials: They were made when the game was just about to come out, the overall skill level has since skyrocketed but these tutorials are very good for new players to learn the ropes, they also go at it with a sense of humor, which makes it easier to stay interested.

  • Gibbs’ Playing with Potatoes Series: Gibbs is a retired Rocket League pro (yes) who one day decided to start a series of him playing at the lower ranks. Initially he hanicapped himself (no jumping, boosting etc.) to show just how much good positioning trumps mechanical skill when you’re just starting out. Feel free to also check out his replay analysis series.

  • Kevperts Advanced Rocket League Tutorials: And I mean advanced. We are talking the finer points of aerial and ball control here. You’ll want to come here once you’ve played the game for many many hours.

If any of you beautiful people know more resources, be they tutorials or otherwise interesting feel free to share, I might add them here.

With all that said I hope you’re gonna have some fun talking about the game and hooking up for games and whatnot.

Maybe post your pretty car fashion itt too? Cheers!

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I remember this game was by far the best PS Plus free game I ever got. I ended up buying it on steam a few months later anyway. I love games like this that have such a simple concept yet so much depth that you will probably never ever master it.

I’m also way into Rumble mode. I haven’t played in a while but driving around and kicking people into the sky with a big cartoonish boot is so satisfying!

Okay so are more people playing this on PS4 or PC? 'Cause I got it on Steam (and I’ll play it eventually I’m sure) and a PS4 isn’t really happening for me anytime soon.

PC has the largest possible player pool due to crossplay with PS4 and Xbone. Right now the crossplay is not free for all due to Sony not playing along. This applies to public and private games.

If you want to start a party/group with friends you can only do so with players on the same platform.

I’m gonna say that PC has more active players, though PS4 has the largest amount of owners (due to the game being free on PS+ during its launch month)

I have it for steam but havent really done any heavy team matches with people i know. Mostly only played against ai and trying to get a handle on flying.

If you’re new to the game and mostly played the AI you shouldn’t really worry about flying yet. It turned from an advanced to an intermediate technique over the lifespan of the game but we all gotta start somewhere and solid ground play is where it’s at in the beginning. Once you actually learn to fly you’ll skyrocket out of that skill tier like nobody’s business and while learning mechanics is important what you should focus on first are good positioning and general gamesense. The game will always try to match you against people of your skill level, both in ranked and unranked modes (It’s more lenient in the latter)

Having friends of about the same skill level seriously helps. Because the game is just more fun with other people.

A couple pointers for decent positioning:

  • Try not to be where your teammates are if at all possible, instead either be behind them to catch the ball if they lose a challenge or be in a spot where you might be able to catch a pass. If you’re where your teammates are there will be no one to make an emergency save or transform a pass into a goal.

  • Generally, if you see that both your teammates are in the front it’s better for you to stay a bit further back. Far enough to catch a stray ball, but up enough to be the third man in case a good scoring opportunity arises.

  • You might have noticed that the above tips favor a 2 in front, 1 in back formation. You should try to maintain that as long as reasonably possible. So if you notice one of your teammates is getting aggressive and no one’s back, you should rotate back. Good rotation is key to maintaining monentum .

  • As good as an idea as it seems, having one person to be a dedicated goalie is a bad idea. That’s how people used to do it and if you’re good enough you can still be valuable to your team that way. But the distinction between attack and defense players has completely disappeared from the jargon of the game. Instead everyone needs to do everything. The idea is that players rotate in and out of position as the situation demands it (Out of boost? Probably means you should cycle back and let someone else do the thing. When you notice you can’t make a good touch anymore it’s best to cycle back as well, otherwise your teammates might be confused and think you have a plan.)

  • When playing 2s you’re still supposed to rotate, but there’s one less player. On one hand, you can’t afford to make as many mistakes in this mode, on the other, neither can your opponents. Another advantage is that you only need to find one reliable partner instead of 2.

  • A lot of people seem to be afraid of Duels, finding 1v1 games very stressful. But this mode can teach you two things: Ball control and boost management. While you won’t be able to learn proper team positioning here it’s a good place to learn when to go for a ball and when to leave it and go for a save or clear instead.

Keep in mind, though, that especially when playing with newbies, that others won’t really play like that. So you’ll be forced to be a defensive player for a while if you want to play “correctly”. It’s easy to fall into that habit but you shouldn’t dedicate yourself to always being back. However, observing the chaos from a distance will eventually pay off, when the ball bounces just right so you can put it in.

I could go on with all kinds of exceptions and special situations, but since I played this game for 850 hours at this point this would become a long, long post. With the above I was just trying to keep it somewhat simple while still naming examples where possible.

I get the feeling the best way to play would be with team speak on. But I’ve found very few games where this actually happens. I can read whats happening on the field, and I can keep the above in mind. But I find that what I think is about to happen, doesn’t actually happen. IE my team mates do things that don’t make sense to me. And I’m not prepared to handle the aftermath.

The games built in voice comms suck hard.
It’s definitely easier to set up plays and avoid getting each other in the way if you can talk over Discord or Skype or w/e it is that you want to use. But the real reason your teammates might do something that doesn’t make sense to you may be that they just don’t know better at this point.

I still recommend finding people your skill level to play with and use some app to communicate. (Again, the in-game voice comms are pure garbage, come with a delay and have horrible compression. I have them turned off). It’s also way more fun to play like that. But I personally learned how to play without that at first, mainly because my buds and I weren’t on comms initially. And when we were we didn’t really talk about the game. I actually only learned how to call shots relatively recently (again, I’m 850+ hours in) and then my calls usually get ignored anyway because the game is just full of split second decisions and the second it takes for you to say “mine” might not be enough in a lot of situations.