Improving Your Game with ViolentPanda
Sat 30th May 2020 - 4:31pm
Sitting at a Diamond level rank, or perhaps even lower, it can be extremely intimidating to think about one day reaching the level of the pros you see in RLCS. Thus far in my articles, I’ve discussed multiple different methods for training and progressing in Rocket League, but even so, the thought of tackling all of your flaws while simultaneously attempting to improve your game can seem like an impossible feat. Everyone has their own paths to reaching that level of success, but I wanted to get input from someone who has seen success at the highest level in the form of two RLCS championships; Dignitas's own ViolentPanda. How does one improve their mechanics? How does one keep up with changes in Rocket League’s competitive expectations in a player, both mechanical and otherwise? These questions and more were answered by none other than the legend himself.
Playstyles in Rocket League:
Some may believe that the meta has changed a lot throughout the course of competitive Rocket League, whether it be the presence of bumps seemingly increasing or otherwise, but that is not necessarily the case. In fact, as ViolentPanda has proposed, the playstyles have not significantly changed throughout the course of competitive Rocket League. This season after taking home his second RLCS championship title, ViolentPanda and the crew over at Dignitas were known for their passing plays, ones that were exceptionally difficult to defend against. These same passing plays and the corresponding playstyle behind them is something that ViolentPanda has been doing since Season 5, and something that hasn't changed much at all.
As ViolentPanda puts it, “Of course this season our passing plays are better because our mechanics are just better than in season 5, but it’s the same concept." To put in another way, the playstyles of Rocket League have and largely will remain the same, but it is the individual mechanical skills that have allowed the capabilities of executing them to evolve and develop further. In a game that mirrors soccer, ViolentPanda also proposed the idea that teamwork will always be a vital aspect of the game.
After watching an old show about the development of the sport, ViolentPanda explained that the teams in soccer originally bunched up and attacked the net, mirroring the early ranks of Rocket League we all have grown to hate. It was only when someone proposed utilizing the field and spreading out and involving each other that the game evolved into what it is now, and that characteristic will never die. The good news is that the playstyles themselves will hardly change; you will always be involving your teammates and working together to win.
As ViolentPanda elaborated, “You always, of course, have to keep practicing, keep improving yourself mechanics wise, [there are] always things you can improve on, but I don’t think the meta has changed much.” It is only in improving the individual mechanics of each player that the capability to succeed as a unit can improve.
Mechanics and Rocket League:
The most glaring and obvious difference between pros and yourself are the mechanics. You see them hitting balls in ways that you may not have even thought of doing, and upon seeing it, it appears impossible for you to accomplish yourself. So how do you go about reaching this goal?
"Just play games and have fun," was ViolentPanda's answer.
While I've suggested other methods of training which are all valid as ViolentPanda agreed, they lack the crucial involvement of gamelike situations. In environments such as freeplay or training packs, you likely will never have the boost nor the space that you do to perform the mechanics. ViolentPanda explained that the best way to improve your mechanics was to simply play against those with higher mechanical abilities, forcing you to improve your game. Of course, there are times when an entirely new concept may require free play to master it, but nothing compares to the actual game itself.
So, with all of that being said, you're sitting at Diamond 3 and wanting to improve your mechanics, asking yourself where to even start.
As ViolentPanda put it, “Start with the basics.”
Don't become overwhelmed in trying to hit a double flip reset ceiling shot with a double tap off the backboard; learn the basics. Learn to half flip, wave dash, or other beginner's mechanics to improve yourself little by little. Improving as a player takes a special kind of person, and this grind will be disheartening and at times grueling. Not every player will make it, in fact... many won't. But if you keep at it, you've got a shot.
So, ViolentPanda has told us that the playstyles of teamwork haven't changed, and that it is only with improved mechanics that the actual level of gameplay has improved over time. With that being said, while it is important to understand that teamwork is crucial, much more attention should be paid to your mechanics. Your ability to execute will always ensure that you are more capable of responding to any given situation.
Lastly, I wanted to leave you with another thing ViolentPanda said in my interview with him that stood out. "Brains will always defeat those flashy style of players."
While the mechanics are crucial to master, using them wisely while maintaining the involvement of your teammates is the key to success. A balance in individual capability and team cohesion forms the steps to grinding to RLCS, ensuring you play intelligently but skillfully. A big thanks to ViolentPanda for the interview, as it changed my perspective vastly on where my focus should be in my own journey to improve.