Rocket League is taking the gaming world by storm. Free on PlayStation Plus in July, just £14.99/$19.99 on PC, with fast-paced and addictive multiplayer, easy to play and hard to master controls, shareable and competitive gameplay - it’s a dangerous concoction of gaming bliss.
When you start to find yourself rising the ranks online, only to be getting stuck in a rut of losses despite believing you aren’t doing much wrong, you need to start asking some questions.
What's the worst that can happen if I miss this shot?
If the answer is anything but 'they are guaranteed a goal' then think again. There are times where you may go up for a 50/50 ball in the middle of the arena, thinking you can punt the ball before you opponent reaches it. However, if you are coming from a tight angle, the shot may be harder than you think - meaning you should hold up, retreat and reassess - your ignorance might give your opponent an easy opportunity!
You learn a lot playing solo duel because one mistake against a half-decent player can put you in a complete mess. You're up the other end of the arena, facing the wrong way, hurtling away from your goal, whilst your opponent can have a calm and calculated tap in.
If you are the last line of defence, and you want to power forward to do a crazy clearance/shot/center, then first think, what will happen if I've mistimed this? Are you going to be left out to dry? I've done this far too many times myself and always beat myself up about it later.
Same goes for center clearing - do you really need to attack your opponent before they shoot? 9 times out of 10, when they have a tight angle, they could miss, or give you a chance for an easy save - don't take unnecessary risks.
Think before you hit, what position will my opponent be in if I miss? Can I get back into position if I miss? You will learn quickly that sometimes, it's best to sit back, play more defensively and see what your opponent does - especially if you are clinging onto a slim lead or trying to force overtime.
Can I get a better angle on this shot?
Shooting is brilliant fun, and everyone wants a piece of the action, period. However, patience truly does win you games. Sometimes you just want to hit the ball towards the goal but you will soon learn that 8/10 times, that just doesn't cut it. If the ball has just bounced above your opponent's goal and is coming towards you, think: Can I honestly make this shot? Maybe reversing or making a slight side adjustment in time, will make for an easy gooooallllassooooooo.
Have I got time to refuel on boost before shooting/defending?
Some of the most panicky times are when you are waiting. If you think to yourself: ‘I’ve got time time to grab that full tank of boost before lining up my next hit,’ - absolutely do it. Boost can really help you out in tough situations, plus, going for the boost might give you a different/better perspective on the move you are about to play - what a bonus!
Is now really the time for a rocket jump?
Sure, when you are winning 5-0 with a minute or so to go, with no real chance of losing then go nuts practicing your rocket jumps/shots but don't do it during overtime. Unless you have practiced hard and are able to face a barrage of abuse if it goes tits up, then don't do it - you aren't winning any friends with that type of tomfoolery.
You have just gained an unfair advantage by reading these questions. If everyone did the same, Rocket League would be highly competitive even at the low ranks, but the fact is, even some of the higher ranking players are falling short with some of these mistakes.
Even if just one of these questions has made an impact on you, leave a comment below telling us which one. Got any suggestions for follow-up questions? We’d love to hear them, too.
Keep an eye out next week for even more Rocket League tips and tactics, only on GameGrin.
If you missed the previous part, then click the series link.