Over the holiday break, I did a bad thing. Instead of starting a long-ass PC game from the past year that I should probably have an opinion on by now, like Divinity: Original Sin 2, I just played Rocket League for hours and hours. This is a familiar problem at this point. I blame Psyonix's car football game for much of my current pile of shame, because it's too damned fun and easy to jump into.
This comes after an extended, 18-month break from the game. The secondary factor that keeps bringing me back to Rocket League, beyond the satisfaction of scoring a goal or making a great assist, is the behaviour of the other players. Its quick chat options ('Nice shot!', 'Siiick!', 'What a save!' and so on) feel like they're used sarcastically as much as they are used sincerely, and this is both awful and wonderful. Combined with an individual's play style, this helps me build up a more vivid picture of my opponents and teammates than I would typically get from a multiplayer game. This, it turns out, is fundamental to my enjoyment of Rocket League. I could turn text chat off, and I'd probably focus more on the match. But I can't.
Two-and-a-half years later, then, plenty of people are still irritating, and I'm delighted about that. It wouldn't be the same game without the personalities that surface in each match. Here are the annoying things that Rocket League players will never stop doing. Not all of them, obviously. Just some.
1. Teammates not going for the ball at kickoff when they're the closest to it
More and more people are buying Rocket League all the time—because it's one of the best multiplayer games ever made, obviously—and it means irritating habits from the earliest days of the game will never die. There's always a new generation of players willing to carry on the mistakes of their predecessors, and that includes knowing when to go for the ball at kickoff. How is this still confusing? Have a quick look around. If the only other player on your team is behind you, guarding the goal, maybe you should go for the first touch instead of reversing into your teammate, ramming them back into your goal, then watching helplessly as the ball sails into the right-hand corner.
It's particularly irritating when you see Semi Pro or Pro-level players doing this. Haven't you learned how the hell this game works by now?
2. Being bad in the air
I've never gotten close to mastering wall jumping and boost to play effectively in the air, but I've made my peace with that. I feel it's far more offensive to make other players watch while you play in the air badly, however. Maybe these players are just practicing, but can't you do that with bots instead of doing it on my time? Watching a player dribble up the wall, then try and double tap the ball into the goal, only to flop off the side of the arena and land upside down is just the worst, because the whole ordeal feels like it takes forever. Everyone else is just parked, looking up, (probably) thinking, 'when's this arse going to finish dicking about and get on with it?'
If you're actually good in the air, I just look up in impressed disappointment, like a doomed species that suddenly realises it's about to be replaced by a superior one.
3. Congratulating their own goals/passes because you didn't
There are some needy teammates out there in Rocket League, who demand validation for every little thing they do. Is it not enough to make a good assist, setting up an amazing goal? Sometimes, it isn't, and these players need to congratulate themselves in quick chat as if to suggest you should've been doing it anyway. 'Great pass! Nice shot!' they tell themselves. It's not like you've given me a kidney, pal. I owe you nothing. Everyone wants a medal for turning up, these days.
4. Not skipping replays
I don't care how good a goal is in Rocket League, whether you're on my team or the opposing team—almost three years later, I don't need to watch it again. Alright, unless it's the winner. Or unless it's such a crazy fluke that all of us find it funny, as evidenced by the reaction in the group chat. Some people still make you watch replays to try and get you to quit early in Rocket League, and perhaps foolishly, I thought the community might eventually grow out of doing that.
Then, when you score a goal, you feel obliged to make them watch your entire replay in retaliation, savouring it as they immediately skip. Then they make you watch their replay again. Then you make them watch yours, because hey, they started it! And on this goes, until the game is over, and everyone's faith in humanity is slightly damaged.
5. Going off to fetch boost from miles away when the ball and all the opposing players are in our half, stupid
When you've conceded a goal from a decent play in Rocket League, you often wonder, what the hell happened to my teammate(s) during that sequence of events? In the replay, you spin the camera around and learn that they were in the other half of the pitch, casually collecting boost at 30mph while you were the only one defending. Yesterday, I played a game where at kickoff, both players on the opposing team drove to the nearest corners to collect boost while I nudged the ball straight into the net on first touch. It didn't take long for one of them to quit.
You can't run from your poor decisions in Rocket League, pal. They'll catch up to you eventually.