No events

What is Rocket League?: The Hotspawn Guide

Luna Meschiari

Rocket League has been an extremely popular game for the past seven years with a huge eSports following. Soccer with cars doesn’t necessarily sound like a concept that would work brilliantly together, but that belief would be incredibly wrong. As soon as people started playing it, they got immediately hooked, just like us. 

what is rocket league

Image Credit: Psyonix/Epic Games

Another fact that supports this claim is that within the first month of its release, six million people downloaded it on PlayStation. Further, it was the most downloaded game on the PlayStation in 2016. It’s no wonder Rocket League has an amazing esports following today, as the game blends real-life sports and esports like no other.

How do you Play Rocket League?

Games in Rocket League are usually five minutes long unless the score is tied, in which case you go into nerve-wracking overtime. The game starts off with a kick-off, just like in real life. The difference, however, is that instead of one team having possession, the teams start at an equal distance from the ball in the middle. The closest player rushes to the ball and tries to hit it in a way that would advantage their team the most. But of course, so do the players on the other team, making it much harder.

Once the kick-off is complete, the players start to adjust and assume positions all over the field depending on where the ball and opposition are. It’s incredibly important to keep track of where your teammates are and coordinate, constantly moving and reacting. That way, you don’t end up in the same spot as your teammates, which can result in bumping them or getting in their way. The opposing team can use your positioning to their advantage, and vice-versa. 

The game can seem deceptively simple at first, but the more you play, the more you’ll realize how much there is to it. It’s a game with an incredible amount of crazy mechanics, but you won’t need to worry about them at first. Even the pros are still figuring out new ways to play that change the dynamics of the game.

The controls are relatively simple, but everyone binds them differently. You can jump, boost, and flip to make saves and score goals. Boost pads on the ground allow you to fly into the air, where you can impact the match in so many ways. Those are game-changers once you learn to control them properly.

Most people play Rocket League with gaming controllers, even on PC, though a few players use a keyboard and mouse. Joysticks allow for more accurate positioning of the car, especially in the air, than WASD controls do. WASD controls may be easier to start with, but there are limitations to them further on.

While there is still an active player base on console, almost every pro plays on PC. The reasons are the same as any other esport: when playing at the highest level, every movement matters, so the connection and display need to be perfect. On consoles, the wireless controllers used come with input lag. Still, Rocket League’s availability on consoles allowed many pros to try the game for the first time. Once they got good, those shortcomings became noticeable and they switched to PC.

What are Rocket League’s Game Modes?

Rocket League features 5 different game modes. All of them bring unique challenges with them, providing a great deal of variety.

  • Soccar, a clever play on words, is the normal game mode.
  • Snow Day features a hockey puck instead of the usual ball, and the arenas are made to resemble hockey rinks instead of soccer fields.
  • Hoops is a basketball-related version of Rocket League, where the goals are replaced by hoops. There is one special arena specifically for this mode.
  • Rumble is a demolition derby-esque, battle royale kind of game mode. Your goal (no pun intended) is the same as in Soccar, but you get a lot of power-ups that you can use. Their uses vary from destroying your opponents to helping yourselves and your teammates.
  • Dropshot is a game mode where there are no goals or hoops whatsoever. Instead, you have to break hexagonal floors through which the ball has to fall through. You break the floor tiles by sending the ball into them repeatedly until it breaks.
  • Alongside these modes, there is also a Practice mode, and you can create Custom Games where you can modify everything to your liking.

what is rocket league duo

Image Credit: Psyonix / Epic Games

What is Rocket League’s Ranking System?

If you choose the Competitive option, you will be presented with three choices. 3v3 Standard, 2v2 Doubles, and 1v1 Duel. All of these contain their own separate ranks.  Additionally, Snow day, Hoops, Rumble, and Dropshot have their own rankings as well. On all three regular competitive modes, you first have to play 10 placement matches with and against people of a similar skill level. That is where the MMR comes to play.

MMR stands for Matchmaking Rank, a system that works behind-th-escenes to best determine who the game will team you up with and put you against. A number of things can change it, like which players are in your party or the strength of your opponent. If your opponent has a higher rank than you, you’ll probably get more of a boost for a win. Similarly, a loss wouldn’t impact your rank as much.

Here is the complete list of ranks that you can achieve:

  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Platinum
  • Diamond
  • Champion
  • Grand Champion
  • Supersonic Legend (SSL)

All of these ranks, except SSL, have three tiers. Within these tiers, there are four divisions. Win games and your ranking will increase; you will climb through divisions and tiers. Lose, and your ranking will decrease, causing you to drop down divisions and tiers.

How is Competitive Rocket League Structured?

The top level of competition in Rocket League is the Rocket League Championship Series, or RLCS for short. It is an esports tournament hosted by the developers themselves. The RLCS is split into multiple regions – North America, Europe, Oceania, and South America. In October 2021, they also added the Middle East and North Africa, Asia Pacific North, Asia Pacific South, and Sub-Saharan Africa regions.

They have made a couple of big changes in Season X. League Play format is gone, and so are the twice-a-year seasons. The format is now an open event-based circuit. They have also added three splits, with one each for the Fall, Winter, and Spring. Because of these changes, the Rocket League Rival Series has been removed.

The current season of the RLCS introduced even more major changes. Each one of these aforementioned splits includes a total of three regional events, which then merge into one international Major. The points that teams earn during these events provide the ability to qualify for the World Championship and the World Championship Wildcard.

Each Regional event begins with an Open Qualifier. Teams can bypass this by having a winning performance at the previous Regional Event. However, all teams have to play the Open Qualifier if it’s the first Regional event of the year. Every Regional and Major will feature 16 teams. Interestingly enough, each split offers a different format. The RLCS season concludes with the exhilarating Rocket League World Championship.

what is rocket league watermelon

Image Credit: Psyonix / Epic Games

What is the Rocket Pass?

The Rocket Pass is a battle pass-esque system that allows you to earn rewards and cosmetics more often, including new cars to drive. There is a new Rocket Pass every season, offering both free and premium rewards; the premium track of the Rocket Pass can be purchased for 1000 credits ($10).

Once you buy it, you can earn additional credits and possibly earn enough to unlock the premium track of future Rocket Passes without needing to pay further. You also unlock ‘XP Boosts’, as well as ‘XP Awards’. Rocket Pass rewards are purely cosmetic and do not actually alter gameplay, so it is not necessary to buy if you’re not interested.

Cosmetics & Blueprints

There are tons of cosmetics to choose from in Rocket League that can change your car drastically: bodies, decals, paint finishes, wheels, rocket boosts, goal explosions, and more. You earn cosmetics freely whilst playing the game as a reward, but you can also get a lot more by having a Rocket Pass.

Blueprints, on the other hand, allow you to craft an item by spending credits. You also earn them while just playing the game casually, but similarly, you will get many more with a Rocket Pass. The rarity system in Rocket League is:

  • Common (Grey)
  • Rare (Blue)
  • Premium (Green)
  • Limited (Orange)
  • Very Rare (Purple)
  • Import (Red)
  • Exotic (Gold)
  • Black Market (Neon Purple)

You can also trade five of your own cosmetics or blueprints of a specific rarity to unlock one that is of a higher rarity. You can even trade these items with other people!

what is rocket league ox topper

Image Credit: Psyonix / Epic Games

What is the Garage?

Here is where all the magic happens in regards to customizing your car. You can create up to 50 different presets, manage your inventory, trade, and even purchase credits here. Here’s a full list of customization options:

  • Paint Finish
  • Body
  • Decal
  • Rocket Boost
  • Goal Explosion
  • Wheels
  • Trail
  • Topper
  • Antenna
  • Player Banner
  • Title
  • Engine Audio
  • Avatar Border
  • Player Anthems

Rocket League Frequently Asked Questions

What is griefing in Rocket League?

If a player uses certain aspects of the game in unintended ways to bother other players, that’s what’s called griefing. In other words, it’s trolling. Spamming the quick chat repeatedly through the match and constantly demo-ing people, when there’s no tactical advantage, are just a couple obvious examples.

What is the best car in Rocket League?

The most famous car is also arguably the best car, and it is none other than the legendary Octane itself. Both rookies and pros use it as it is well-rounded and can be efficiently used for offense and defense. It is a truly versatile car, and if you get used to it, you will be able to wreak havoc on both ends of the floor.

What is a turtle goal in Rocket League?

A turtle goal is one of the actions you can perform during a match, and the game keeps track of how many times you do it. What you need to do in order to score a turtle goal is to score a goal by hitting the ball while upside-down. It sounds harder than it is, at least relatively. We say that because there will most probably be instances where you manage to do it by accident. That’s actually how I got my first one, and what is Rocket League if not a collection of happy occurrences like that one? Well, it is a lot more than that but they do happen often, which can feel amazing.

What is a clear in Rocket League?

Clearing is one of the most vital parts of turning defense into offense. So what counts as a clear? If an opposing player shoots towards your goal and you manage to send it flying far away from your goal, that’s a clear. Bear in mind, it’s not enough to just deflect it, as that counts as a save; you have to yeet it as far as possible. This can generate all sorts of counter-attacks with which you can punish your opposition.

This all sounds fun and dandy, but you won’t know the real charm until you actually start playing. The game is so intuitive and beginner-friendly that you have no reasons not to try it. Unless you don’t like soccer . Or cars. But even then, we’d still advise you to give it a try for a couple of days. Many people started out by not being fans of either, yet they’re still playing up to this day.

Luna Meschiari

Luna Meschiari

Luna is a former World of Warcraft Game Master (class of 2010) and tech passionate. Initiated in gaming and computers from a very early age, she then developed her professional career in Gaming, Marketing, and Art. In addition, she loves strategy games and loves watching eSports championships.

More from author

Want more Hotspawn delivered right to your Inbox?

Sign up for the Hotspawn newsletter to receive the latest esports and tech news, exclusive offers, giveaways, and more!