Since Rocket League became free-to-play over the summer, the surge of new players has been tremendous. If you’re new to the game and are looking to up your skills, we’ve asked Joris “Joreuz” Robben, professional Rocket League player for Dignitas, to give us at SIG his insight into the game and top tips for mastering placement matches.
What should new players focus on in their first placement matches?
The most important thing to focus on in your first matches is touching the ball a few times per game. Of course, you should also try to stop the ball from going into your own net, but being able to hit the ball will make the game more fun and allow you to gain important skills that most newer players don’t have.
It sounds very basic, sure, but these are the fundamentals of Rocket League. If you can’t hit the ball, you are going to struggle further down the line. Always master the basics before climbing the ladder to more advanced things.
Do you recommend new players make any changes to their camera settings?
While new players don’t have to completely shake their camera settings up from the start, it is helpful to turn off camera shake. When camera shake is on, the screen shakes with you as you flip and hit the ball. This can be distracting, so it is best to turn it off while you are learning the game.
How to turn off camera shake:
As long as you make sure that camera shake is off, the basic camera settings should be fine for a while. As you start to get better and better at Rocket League, you can start changing your camera settings to figure out what makes you feel most comfortable and best suits your playstyle.
What is the best way for new players to train?
There are many training options available to you, such as:
- Free Play
- Custom Training
- The Tutorial
- Online matches in general
Which of these are the most helpful for a new player jumping into ranked? I personally believe the best form of training for new players is Free Play and one-versus-one matches. Both of these options allow you to touch the ball a lot, which will help you develop control and other techniques. In free play, you can try all the stuff you want and after that you can try to perfect them against a defender in 1s.
In Free Play, attempt to set yourself up for shots from different angles so you can get a feel of how the ball physics work and how hard you should be hitting it. Feel free to try it out on a defender in one-versus-one matches for a more realistic scenario.
How important is awareness of your surroundings while learning the game?
Knowing where your teammates and opponents are on the field at all times is a huge step towards becoming a better player. While new players should be aware of their surroundings, it shouldn’t be their primary focus. In my opinion, your main focus should be on yourself and trying to get as many touches on the ball as possible. As you progress in ranks, awareness of your surroundings will simply become natural.
What mechanics should novice players prioritize learning?
Dribbles, aerials, ceiling shots, air dribbles… the list of mechanics you can learn in this game is almost endless.
If you want to rank up quickly and win games, the mechanics you should focus on learning are being able to hit the ball hard from everywhere on the field and having a bit of ball control when it is in your possession. Having control of the ball gives you the opportunity to outplay your opponents and make them play your game.
Power hits are also an extremely useful skill to learn. Power hits allow you to blast the ball away when you are in defensive positions and start offense yourself. Power hits make it more difficult for other players, especially in lower ranks, to reach the ball before it enters their net.
Below is a useful video on how to best perform power hits, which discusses all the factors you need to know, such as:
- Air rolling
- Speed on the shot
- Reading the ball’s movements
What is aerialing and how important is it to master?
Aerialing is a mechanic that you will need to learn eventually to keep up with the higher ranks. An aerial is when you:
- Jump once
- While in the air, point your car upwards towards the ceiling
- Boost to get some momentum off the ground
- Continue to boost upwards so your car is flying in the direction it is pointing
As a new player, it isn’t that important to aerial. However, if you want to get better quickly, it is a very beneficial skill to learn early on. In the ranks above Platinum, aerialing is a must-have mechanic. Being able to aerial will give you a huge advantage in the lower ranks since most of your fellow players won’t be able to do it.
You don’t have to understand how to aerial straight away, but if you make progress learning how to aerial, you are already many steps ahead other new players in their placement matches.
What is rotating and how important is learning how to do it?
Rotating as a core concept is pretty simple. It means if your teammates are up on offense, you should be back on defense and vice versa. However, there are a lot more complicated aspects that can go into rotations.
This image, for example, shows one instance of a rotation. Player One has the ball and hits it off the backboard, where Player Two will receive it. Player Three will push up to support Player Two while Player One rotates back to defense. Does this sound complicated? If so, don’t worry!
Rotations are complicated. As a new player, you don’t have to learn all the pro rotations. You just need to make sure that once in a while you go back to help your teammate in defense and make sure that your teammate also has a chance to take the ball and try to create something with it. Also, try to drive towards the ball coming from your own net so you hit the ball towards their net and not yours.
In terms of rotations, what you should really be focusing on in your first ranked games are:
- Making sure someone is always back in defense
- Making sure you are supporting another player on offense
- If you have the ball, you can push up on offense
Do you recommend playing with teammates as a novice?
If you’re taking the game seriously, while you are learning, you should focus on improving your gameplay. When you play by yourself, your ball touching skills will improve more quickly. Another reason to take it solo when you are learning is that teammates at your level may not have developed reliable skills yet. As you continue to play and develop your skills, you will start finding players you have chemistry with and trust. When that happens, start thinking about the team plays instead of doing everything solo.
What tips do you have for keeping a positive mentality?
One of the few unspoken things about your gameplay is your mentality. Mentality is huge in Rocket League and even more so in the lower ranks. Mistakes happen and you shouldn’t let any mistakes you or your teammates make put you on tilt. Even at the highest level, this can be really difficult, but it is really important to stay calm when mistakes happen.
If your opponents or your teammates start ball chasing, you should just make them outplay themselves or start predicting that they are going to ball chase by hitting the ball early in your dribbles or go for long shots, etc.
If you are debating whether you are a ball chaser yourself, I suggest reading the Dignitas guide Ballchasing In Rocket League – A Guide With Yukeo.
What are your top tips for new players?
Overall, we have covered:
- What to focus on in your first placement match
- Turning off camera shake is effective
- Focus on Free Play and one-versus-one matches for training
- Be somewhat aware of your surroundings
- Ball control is a great starting mechanic
- Aerials are not extremely important at the start, but will help down the line
- Basic rotations are important
- Focus on yourself rather than teammates
- Have a good mentality
I am sure this is quite a lot to take in – but what, exactly, are the biggest takeaways from this guide?
The best tips I can give for new players jumping into placement matches are to try to keep control of the ball at all times, don’t get tilted, don’t always trust your teammates, and, most importantly, have fun!
It’s a long journey to rank up, but a rewarding one! Don’t get overwhelmed while you are learning the game, take breaks if you feel agitated, and always have as much fun as possible. If you do, everything discussed in this guide will come naturally and with practice you will climb the ranks in your placement matches.