Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Rocket League

Before you take to the arena, spend some time in practice mode not only getting familiar with the mechanics of the game

Rocket League has finally gone free-to-play in time for its fifth anniversary. If you’re new to Rocket League and are looking to dive into the competitive playlist right away, this is our essential RL beginner’s guide to learning the basics and setting yourself up for future success on the field.

Customize the camera settings

Before you take to the arena, spend some time in practice mode not only getting familiar with the mechanics of the game, but also setting up your camera. You can change the distance of the camera from your car, your field of view, the angle of the camera and much more. All of these things will affect what you can see in-game. And everyone has a slightly different preference for how it should look. Personally, I say the more I can see, the better.

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.

Conserve precious boost

Boost is a precious resource in Rocket League. Even though it regenerates quickly, you will often find yourself without any, struggling to get back and defend your goal.

Instead of using boost all the time, you can "lunge forward" by holding the joystick forward and double-pressing the jump button. If you do this a few times, you can reach the same top speed as you can with boost (you just can't sustain that speed as well or maneuver as quickly or easily).

Learn to use both effectively in different situations to reduce the number of times you get stuck without boost.

Stealing boost from opponents is also a good strategy, so long as you're not going out of your way or breaking rotation to do so.

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