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The Worst Things about the Rocket League Off-Season, Ranked

Welcome to Rocket Launching, a midweek RLCS column that discusses the wonderful world of Rocket League esports.

So the off-season is in full swing, and while there are some cool parts about the break, the rest of it is just kind of looking at r/RocketLeagueEsports and waiting for something to happen. I’ve had more fun watching paint dry. Imagine having the premier division of your esport only take up like three months of the year. Then when flesh sports are in season (like the NFL, NBA and just before European soccer kicks off) there are no major events going on. Snoooore.

If you aren’t one to inject random community tournaments or Rocket League podcasts into your veins, then it’s the absolute slowest time of the year. Here are the absolute worst parts of the Rocket League off-season, ranked.

1. Before the stinky parts, let’s talk about a rad new mechanic that could actually be pretty dang useful. Some are calling it the Sonic Flip, others are calling it the Bucci Flip, but given the recent hub bub about Rule 1 actually being Rule 2, let’s not worry too much about that and just call it a Sonic Flip for now. 

Reddit user u/Dang_Commies posted a video on r/RocketLeague and it blew up. 

Basically it’s using the wave dash but with a twist. If you over rotate forward on your front flip and cause your car to rock back onto its back wheels after you land, then you can flip into the ground and effectively wave dash immediately after dodging.

So in one flip, you can go from zero boost to supersonic which seems pretty useful. It’s not some goofy glitch mechanic, it’s the real deal. If it doesn’t get patched out, it will eventually become a part of competitive play. I can’t wait until the pros figure it out and start Gotta Go Fast-ing around the field. Somehow, this game continues to move faster and faster.

YouTube creator and discoverer of his own mechanic, Musty, tweeted the video as well as his feelings about its potential usefulness.

2. Also before the sad part: Psyonix announced RLCS Season 8 yesterday. New things: there will be 10 Rival Series teams in NA and EU, and an extra week of the promotion playoff and six RLRS teams will retain their spot for Season 9 (RIP Baguette Squad, hope you guys qualify). The top four RLRS teams play in the Promotion Playoff for a shot at RLCS. They will no longer broadcast the Rival Series play-ins, but you can’t have something new without giving up something old. Season 8 will start October 5. Oh boy.

3. Alright, put some Enya on because it’s time for some good old fashioned complaining. Pro streams are cool and I love watching the pros wreck plebs, but on the flipside, they are kind of boring. It’s not usually the streamer’s fault. Rocket League is a tough game to stream because you can’t really take your eyes off the action for a second to read the chat. You just have to play. If you look away you’re going to give up goals, especially at higher ranks.

I personally enjoy watch parties where pros just kind of shoot the fat and laugh about stuff. They’re all really smart and clever people but they rarely let their personalities shine. Before we move on, watching pros play other games is fun too. More of them should do that.

4. Lack of events. I’m not the first to say this, and I’ll admit that the timing is strange with Beyond the Summit this weekend, but if there isn’t a DreamHack going on, the scene kind of dies in the off-season. Don’t get me wrong, I have mad respect for the community orgs putting stuff together, but life is so busy that it’s hard to set aside time to watch small one offs. BTS should be cool but we need the season to last longer. Three months a year simply isn’t enough.

5. Before someone calls me out on this, there are ten League Play weeks a year in the two major regions, two World Championship weeks and two Promotion Playoffs weeks. If we’re just talking about days then RL’s premier division is on 20 days of League Play, four days of Promotion Playoffs and six days of the World Championship. That’s just thirty days of top flight action. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a longer regular season.

6. Literally as I was writing this, the announcement for Season 8 dropped, and while it does give us two more days of Promotion Playoffs and some more RLRS matches, the RLCS season is still far too short. It just is.

7. Less time watching Rocket League means more time playing it, which means more time getting demoed in solo duel and more time doing this to my wall:

(I’m just kidding – I didn’t actually do this, someone I know did)

8. Roster speculation. Sometimes it sucks.

9. Making fun of roster speculation. It’s even worse that sometimes these shots in the dark end up being right.

10. Sometimes I get really sad because Rocket League is only a Tier 1 esport in the community’s eyes and every other esports site/fan rarely talk about how dope this game is. I don’t know what else to say I just want this game to blow up so bad.

11. Watching old Rocket League is kind of endearing, but also sad because so many players I loved and believed in just kind of flamed out. I miss Brandon “Lachinio” Lachin and Micheale “M1k3Rules” Costello and even Cody “Gambit” Dover. So many pros gone in the wind. So sad.

12. Okay yeah, Salty Shores sucks, but Farmstead is the absolute, unequivocal worst map in Rocket League.

Rocket League
Farmstead’s Cursed Barn – Courtesy of Rocket League Wiki

I hate Farmstead. I hate Farmstead more than trying to crack an egg only to realize that there is a rotten chicken fetus inside. Seriously, I hate it so much. I probably have like a 33% win percentage on that map. The mud is gross, there are basically no lines on the field to tell you where you are and the absolute worst part is the back wall.

13. You can’t see anything because the stupid barn things on the side aren’t transparent. Imagine if the big shield thing in Overwatch wasn’t see through. I like the tire swing and the Toy Story 2 atmosphere but come on, man. How am I supposed Shia Laboom the ball off the backboard if I can’t see? 

14. Crates are gone, so now I’ll have to use my crippling gambling addiction on the lottery. What a waste.

15. Sometimes after I’d turn off the RLCS stream and boot up Rocket League and it just felt so right. Of course I can’t do anything that the pros do, but I feel so much more confident after watching the pros. Even the pros wildly mess stuff up (see: Satthew giving the ball to TSM at DreamHack: Dallas), but I love going up for aerials like I’m Justin “JSTN” Morales, but without all the spins. One time, I even hit a ceiling shot in ranked.

16. Orgs randomly leaving their teams. Sorry Frontline.

17. Roster drama so intense that it literally forces an RLCS team to disband and a fringe RLCS team just kind of stumbles into making the RLCS despite losing in the Promotion Playoff. Then Psyonix doesn’t issue some kind of official statement about what happens next and just assumes that everyone will figure it out on their own.

Rocket League
Kaydop’s third World Championship – Courtesy of Connor Sanders

18. Spending free time trying to rank the greatest players of all time. It’s just so hard because the esport is so young and things are so set to change. Also, everything is still very sentimental at this stage, so it’s hard to really say who the absolute best of all time is (I really want to say Gambit, but it’s Kaydop).

19. Sure, Alexandre “Kaydop” Courant is easy to rank, but what about someone like Kyle “Torment” Storer? David “Deevo” Morrow? Marius “gReazymeister” Ranheim? What about great players that haven’t won a World Championship like Garrett “GarrettG” Gordon or Otto “Metsanauris” Kaipiainen? It’s much too hard to quantify and the rate of difficulty is too hard to be worth the research. Trust me, I tried. 

20. Other esports suck and my flesh sports-trained brain is too slow to get up to speed so I’m going back to playing NCAA 07 on my PS2 to win my seventh consecutive national championship with Butts State Institute of Technology.

21. Are you ever just grinding free play, listening to a podcast and then you zone out for minutes at a time and when your brain tunes back into the podcast you have no idea what they’re talking about so you have to rewind? Then you rewind too far and realize you did get this part. Instead of fast forwarding and risking going too far forward you just ride it out and listen to the same four minutes of podcast again? Welcome to my own personal hell. 

22. Coming up with articles is really hard. Sometimes you get a great story about the origins of the Rival Series, and then sometimes you have to recycle the same dumb idea about ranking nothing for consecutive columns.

23. One time when I was reporting at WSOE, I tried to talk to Mariano “Squishy” Arruda while he was sitting around between series and he just got up and  he stiffly excused himself to get some water and left me to make small talk with his mom. It was weird. No one tell him about it. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

24. I’m going to close this week’s column with a bit of a story. It’s a bit sappy so buckle up. It isn’t one of the worst parts of the off-season, but it means a lot to me.

Back in 2015 when Rocket League came out, I fell in love with it. My brother and I would play the soccer mini game on Excitebike 64 all the time, so when RL came out, it was like a full game dedicated to fleshing out that minigame we loved.

We didn’t have a PS4 or a nice PC at the time, so we got Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket Powered Battlecars for our PS3 and would play that. It was cool, but we got bored of wrecking bots on the Pirate Ship because no one was playing online anymore.

Eventually, my brother got a nicer laptop and we would run Rocket League on the absolute lowest quality settings. We’d plug two Mad Katz-looking cheap XBOX controllers that we got on Amazon in and play split screen. It was so much fun. Our front room was too big for the controller chords to reach the couch, so we’d grab the uncomfortable wooden chairs from our dining room and sit close to the TV.

My brother is six years older than I, so spending time with him was special because I never really go to do it much when I was a kid. We’d listen to music and laugh until 3 or 4 in the morning sometimes. When we moved out, we stopped playing for about two years.

Life got hard for both of us, but eventually we both got PS4s and started to play online. We even convinced our other older brother to start playing. We started out as lowly silvers just having fun playing together. Two years later we still play together, every Tuesday night. In fact, after you read this post I’m probably going to hop on and queue some Diamond 3 3v3 with them.

We weren’t super close growing up, so having Rocket League as a way to catch up with them every week is incredible for me. Last week, my brother got engaged to his girlfriend and I was the first one he called to tell. It means a lot to me that we’ve grown so much closer, and Rocket League is a big contributor to that.

It feels silly to read Fox News say video games cause violence in the world when they brought me and my brothers together. It’s so corny, but it’s true. Even when I’m far away from or when life doesn’t hold back its punches I can look forward to Tuesday night Rocket League.

Thanks for reading. I promise not to write something personal next time. I love this game and I’m sure you do too, so I just thought I’d share. Also the off-season sucks and there’s nothing to write about.


Featured image courtesy of Connor Sanders.

Follow me on Twitter: @connorssanders.

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