Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Rocket League

Rocket League is one of the most fun games I’ve ever played. Normally I’m not a fan of sports at all, but there’s something special about Rocket League that I enjoy very much.

I’m not an expert at the game, but I’ve spent many along with many hours researching and learning. All of these tips come from either my experience with the game or from players much better than I. Besides this guide, one of the best ways to learn is by watching the pro players do their magic, so I definitely encourage watching some of them as well.

Which car should you use?

There are a ton of cars to choose from, ranging from the free vehicles you get to the DLC ones. Some of these vehicles look awesome, while others look outright stupid. A few years ago, the developers made the first couple DLC packs free, giving players, even more, to choose from.

You probably are reading this guide because you want to win, so naturally, you’ll want the best car to help you win. You’ll be happy to know what the best car in the game isn’t a DLC car. The car that many of the pros use is the Octane, literally the first car you start with.

There’s a myriad of reasons why they choose this one, and most of those are unnoticeable to the average player. Ultimately, the best car in the game is the one you like the most. Whichever car you use most often and practice with a lot will be the car you make most of your wins with.

I personally prefer the Dominus to every other car, but I really like the look of the ’16 Batmobile DLC. Find the car you like the most, and use that one until you’re good with it.

The good news is that the car’s stats don’t vary all that much. Once you’re good with one vehicle, you could probably switch to another and not have to practice a ton to get used to it. You can try different cars out as you go and not have to worry about losing your skills while doing that.

There’s no best car in the game, but some are better than others. The 4 most widely used cars are the Octane, ’16 Batmobile, Dominus, and Breakout. You can win many matches with the other cars, but keep in mind that the pros use those 4 cars the most.

Change your camera settings

When it comes to the camera, every player has their own preference. Here are the settings I like to use.

Camera ShakeOFF
Camera FOV105.00
Camera Distance110.00
Camera Height-3.00
Camera Angle0.50
Camera Stiffness4.00
Camera Swivel Speed7.00

Camera swivel speed will especially be subjective to your personal tastes. I hate higher camera speed, but sometimes it’s necessary to have faster reaction times. Use whatever settings feel good for you. If you ever find a setting becoming annoying, simply change it until it feels right.

Learn the basic controls

Now’s not the time to start learning how to perfect your aerials. Make sure you actually know all the basics maneuvers and controls first, and then you can work on getting your crazy shots down.

The main things you should know how to do are boosting, dodging, braking, and controlling the rotation of your car. Boosting is pretty straightforward. You hold down the boost button when your boost meter isn’t empty, and collect the little circles on the ground to fill the meter.

Boosting gives players the ability to zoom around the map, and even fly around when they get better at it. Dodging makes your car do a flip, which in turn hits the ball at a much greater velocity. These are performed by first jumping once, and then jumping again while holding the left stick in whichever direction you want to dodge.

Braking is done by simply hitting the brake button. You can use this to stop more quickly, as well as drift around for easier maneuverability. You can control the way your car is positioned in the air by moving the left stick around. It’s hard to figure out at first, but it becomes second nature when you get the hang of it.

Play around with all of these controls until your comfortable enough using each one of them. They’re all tools that have specific purposes, and you’ll learn more about each purpose the more you practice.

Practice practice practice

The training modes are beginner’s best friends, but I’ve found that they aren’t a suitable substitute for playing live opponents. Sure, you’re able to land that aerial on the 8th try, but you won’t get that many tries in a real match.

I’ll play the training missions until I’m comfortable with all of them, but then I join a match and get destroyed. There are many more factors in matches than just a ball being shot from a cannon. Nothing is predictable when playing with others, so it’s best to practice in that environment as much as possible.

It’s a smart idea to play the practice missions through until you can complete them flawlessly the better you are at controlling your vehicle, the more games you’ll be able to win. Mastering these missions will give you a better foundation for the rest of the game, but you can’t get good by only playing these.

When you find yourself on a major losing streak, never give up. The road to success is long and full of failures. The players who get good are the ones who have logged the most hours into the game, so never underestimate the power of practicing.

Know how to do a proper kickoff

At the start of every round and after every goal you’ll be pitted against your opponents for the kickoff. Sometimes the kickoff can determine who scores the point, so it’s important that you know how to do it right.

There’s a great video I want to show you about getting the perfect kickoff. Little did I know that I actually was using part of this technique even before I knew it was the best. Anytime you send the ball towards your opponents’ goal, you automatically have the upper hand.

Pay close attention to this video, as the kickoff is a part of Rocket League you should perfect as soon as possible.

Utilize ball-cam

Pressing Triangle or Y will change what type of camera you’re currently using. Ball cam does exactly what the name implies and keeps your camera focused on the ball at all times. In this mode, you’ll rarely lose sight of the ball, but it’s annoying when you need to backtrack to grab a boost.

Turning off ball-cam will allow you to drive around the arena more freely, without the hindrance of the camera being tethered to the ball. You’ll want to keep yourself on ball-cam most of the time, but you’ll quickly learn the situations in which you should turn it off. Eventually, the switching will be so effortless that you won’t even realize that you’re doing it.

Save your boost

In Rocket League, you’ll spend a lot of time boosting around the arena. Practice mode has unlimited boosting, but online play does not. At the edges of the arena you can pick up boost orbs that completely fill up your boost meter, but you shouldn’t automatically consume it just because you have it.

Aerials, which are ball hits while in the air, mostly rely on boost. If you blast it all out the second you get it, you won’t have enough when the ball flies just out of reach. You can also use boost for demoing opponents, which is sometimes a good use of it.

Sometimes it’s beneficial to go crazy with boost though. If I’m at the opponents’ goal and the ball gets flung towards mine, I’m going to boost straight through the other boost orbs until I get to my goal. This lets me get from one side of the arena to the other as fast as possible.

For the times where you don’t need to boost like crazy, wait until you have a good opportunity to hit the ball, and still use it sparingly so you don’t fly straight past it. Your teammates will overuse boost all the time, and they’ll smash into everyone just trying to get a hit on the ball.

Use the wall to your advantage

Since every map is completely enclosed with a wall, you can use it to make the ball go where you want it to go. Bouncing the ball off of the wall near your goal will send it in the opposite direction. Wall hitting a ball in the direction of the opposing goal will send it soaring towards the other goal.

Wall play will also catch your opponents off guard, forcing them to turn around to stop the ball. Most beginners don’t know how to properly use the wall, so learning this early will give you an advantage over other low-level players.

Know the right time to hit the ball

There’s a time to hit, and a time to refrain from hitting. Most beginners try to hit that ball as much as they can, but that’s definitely not an effective strategy. Knowing when to clear a ball and when to back off is a skill everyone needs to learn.

Sometimes you’ll hit the ball and realize there’s an opponent about to hit it a second later, causing the ball to fly into your goal. If you wait for them to hit it, you can accurately deflect the ball away from the goal.

This is especially the case when it comes to scoring. Don’t boost straight into the ball simply because it’s in front of the goal. If an opponent is guarding it, they could possibly hit it all the way to your side of the arena, right to where their teammate is waiting to score.

Just because you CAN hit the ball, doesn’t mean you SHOULD hit the ball. Many times I’ll go to hit it, but then stop because a teammate is about to hit it before me. Had we both rushed for it at the same time, it would have gone flying in an unpredictable direction.

Know when to back off

Sometimes it’s better to let your opponents bring the ball to you, especially in 1v1s. When I first heard this tip, it made a huge difference in the number of 1v1s I won. Basically, when you miss a shot on their goal, it’s better to rush back to yours to defend. You can then clear the ball away from your goal and attempt to score on them again.

I’ve lost dozens of games simply because I was attacking the ball too aggressively. Staying glued to the ball will allow your opponents to clear it all the way back to your goal, ultimately allowing them to score. Players good at dribbling can manage to maneuver around players, but it’s very hard to do without losing the ball.

When you get overwhelmed, back off and find a better position. Too many players in one area will cause chaos, and no one will be able to predict where the ball will go next.

Communicate with teammates

Since I mainly play casual Rocket League games, I run into a lot of players who simply don’t know what they’re doing. Sometimes the players I find think they should be the only one scoring goals, completely destroying the unity of the team.

Unless your playing 1v1s, communicating is essential to winning a game. You could be the best player in the world, but forgetting to communicate will cost you the game.

Nothing makes me more annoyed in Rocket League than a teammate that just won’t cooperate. I’m completely fine with losing games to players better than me, but I despise losing simply because my teammate is an idiot.

People will fly around the arena trying to score insane aerial goals, and never make any attempt to defend your goal. Then the opposing team will score, and that same person will send to you in chat “What a save!”, which just adds insult to injury.

The only way to avoid these people is to play with a team you can actually communicate with. I’m sure it’s possible to somewhat communicate using the in-game messages, but it’s better to jump in a voice chat with a few people you know.

Simple things like saying “I’ve got it!” will tell your teammates to not all rush towards the ball like a bunch of maniacs. Communication goes a long way, so you either communicate or get destroyed by a team that does.

Set your teammates up for success

Once you have communication down to a “T,” you’ll have a great advantage that many players don’t have. Then, you have to learn to pass the ball to positions that your teammates can advance with. Don’t ever try to score all the goals yourself. You’re probably not an amazing player right now, so don’t try to act like a superstar.

Being goal-hungry can sabotage a game even faster than bad communication can. Two players can have perfect communication, but a third person who wants all the goals for themself will cost them the game. I’m speaking to myself with this one. I have a bad habit of trying to score too often, all while I’m forgetting to pass the ball to my team.

There’s a lot to pay attention to in a match, so sometimes it’s hard to predict where your team members are going to go next. This is why having a voice chat is almost essential to being a good team.

Destroy your opponents

I’m sure every player has gotten to the point where they rage at an opponent being annoying. Well, Rocket League gives you the option to literally blow their car up!

However, you don’t want to go around simply trying to destroy the whole team. Rocket League isn’t a team deathmatch, but some annoying players seem to think it is. Demoing an opponent can sometimes be a good strategy, but in most situations, it’ll make you waste boost and lose your focus.

When you do see a good opportunity, it will catch your opponent off guard and force them to respawn. If done right, you’ll set your team up for an easier goal.

Be a good sport

I know, it sucks to lose. I’m guilty of leaving a match because I’m losing because I hate to lose. 90% of the time I quit a match is because my teammates are so horrible at the game that they cause the opposing team to score.

When you’re simply down in points and the game’s almost over, quitting is the lamest thing you can do. I love nothing more in matches than to score such a big lead that the other team just gives up and leaves. It gives me a lot of satisfaction, so it would have been better for them to have stuck through the match and accepted their defeat.

Conclusion

Rocket League is a game that’s easy to learn but very hard to master. You can be winning your first matches the first day you play the game, but you’ll soon face harder opponents who’ll wreck you. Just keep practicing and eventually, you’ll probably be able to do some of those crazy trick shots you see on Youtube.

Jay Simmons

I love writing about games and sharing helpful info with others. Whether it be exploring a vast open world or uncovering lore, I always enjoy learning about my favorite games.

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