Speed vs. Positioning: A Balance in Pacing
Fri 11th Sep 2020 - 10:33pm
Hey gamers, TurtleRL here! In this next article, I want to cover a topic that is quite a struggle for Rocket League players, particularly at the higher levels. I’ve covered rotation and the importance of putting yourself in the proper position to make a play on the ball, however the faster pace that games can move can make this process increasingly difficult. By this, it’s meant that since things are moving so much quicker, it’s easier to move yourself out of the position you should be in to make the best play on the ball in an effort to match the speed of the game itself. This isn’t a surprising statement to many players, myself included. Once realized, players may find themselves playing hesitant in an attempt to not overextend themselves in rotation and leave them open for a counterattack, or conversely overthinking their game in ways that leave them slower than normal. There are many solutions and pieces of advice one could provide to maintain this balance, but in this article, I would like to briefly cover wavedashing, boost management, the right mindset to have, and a reminder on positioning from a Tweet from Virge, the coach of the Dignitas Rocket League team.
The first topic to help you in your efforts here is wavedashing, a relatively advanced mechanic which can help you gain more speed in times you are without boost or even help you recover on all four wheels while also propelling you forward. The concept of the mechanic is simple; to try it out yourself, jump while tilting your car up in the air, and as you come down, imagine flipping down at the ground right before your wheels hit the ground as demonstrated in the gif below. If it works as intended, it will propel you forward, giving you more speed. This can also be used in various scenarios to help you recover and get back into the proper positioning. Having this skill in your toolbox will allow you to feel more comfortable and confident in your contests knowing you have the ability to get yourself back into the play, while also making your entire game move quicker.
Another tip is boost management. At the lower ranks and even well into Champion, people tend to revolve their gameplay around the bigger boost pads, seeking that glorious 100 boost refill. At the higher ranks, it is essential to incorporate the usage of the smaller boost pads into your game. In fact, doing so allows you to not only maintain high boost levels, but opens up your options for positioning while simultaneously keeping your boost reserves high. In addition to this tip for picking up boost, however, it’s important to also ensure that you are using your boost wisely and efficiently with no wasted movement. Proper boost management and wavedashing are huge tools for maintaining efficient and intelligent speed at the higher ranks, but how do you mix this with positioning yourself to ensure you are always in the right place to make a play on the ball?
The Right Mindset:
Part of putting yourself in the right position to do just that is through having the right mindset. By that, it is meant that you are playing in a manner that considers both your team and the opposition's actions and following reactions. This is furthered in the next section on positioning, however there are some important clarifications to make first. Unless you are blessed with telepathy, no one expects you to flawlessly predict every opponent's move, especially considering the various factors that go into a 'move' in Rocket League. An opponent could miss, could fake, or something else entirely could happen.
As a result, you may get down on yourself and start to second guess your instincts. You cannot hesitate when it comes to reading your opponent, especially if you want to keep up with the pacing of the higher ranks in the game, and therein lies the mindset one must have. One with no regrets but informed decisions, leaving their options open, and a next play mentality with those reads inevitably fail from time to time. Despite those mistakes, you will score more times than you miss in due time, and regardless, the purpose is to put yourself in the best position possible to give the best opportunity, something that Virge expresses much better than I can.
I want to start the conclusion of this article with a tweet from Virge:
Simplistically put, this short tweet encapsulates the crucial truth of offense on Rocket League. You cannot rotate back for a big boost on your side of the field, leaving your two teammates to fend for themselves on an attack, otherwise you compromise the attack and reduce the number of options your teammates have. Also, this same philosophy can be applied to defense in that you must continually ensure you are playing in a manner which gives your teammates options. Consider the possibilities continually of where your teammates may be wanting to play the ball both on offense and defense, and use your newfound speed to ensure you are in a position to give them as many options as possible to maintain pressure or relieve it. In conclusion, there are many ways to maintain speed without compromising your positioning, but even so, playing at a high speed is not enough. You must be cognizant of your teammates and their apparent intentions and use that speed wisely to respond to them in the best way possible.