In the earlier days of Rocket League, there was a pretty intense debate within the community about whether the ball curved or not. Even today, some people still swear that the ball curves, even without mutators. Whether or not that is true will be debated until the end of Rocket League, but let’s try to settle this debate once and for all. Does the ball curve in Rocket League?
Yes, the ball does curve in Rocket League, but only in private matches and you have to set it to curve in the private match settings. The setting itself is under a section called “mutators”. Outside of private matches, the ball does not curve.
Let’s take a look at what this means for us, Rocket League players.
Why the ball does not curve in online matches
The answer to this is pretty simple. Rocket League does not originally have something called “drag physics.” Drag physics has to do with aerodynamics, and implementing this into the game would have made the ball act more realistically as opposed to the arcade-style fashion that the ball acts in now.
Another debate in the Rocket League community is whether Psyonix (the creators of Rocket League) should implement drag physics into online play or not. The thought is, adding these physics into the game will make it more realistic.
The argument against changing the ball physics is that the arcade-style of the game is great the way it is. Rocket League isn’t perfect, but it has managed to keep a strong player base, even five years after it launched. People have spent those five years mastering the game as it is, and a change that is too drastic might probably chase the hardcore player base away.
When curve was first introduced into the game
Psyonix wasn’t the first to add curve into their own game. It was first added in by a pc modder. The person who added curve into the game did it using his own Rocket League mod called “Bakkesmod.”
When it was first introduced, it made for some fun and entertaining content. People spent hours just getting lost in private matches. Rocket League felt like a completely different game. Reading the ball became more of a skill then just good-game-sense. Like most good things, the novelty went away, and everyone started jumping straight back into online matches.
So what is Bakkesmod?
The slogan of Bakkesmod is
“A mod aimed at making you better at Rocket League.”
And it does this by giving you more options in Freeplay training and private matches. The mod also gives you UI options like showing your actual MMR (matchmaking rank) while playing online matches.
Bakkesmod is only available on Windows PC. Game consoles like the PlayStation and Xbox do not allow mods on their platform. They keep their ecosystem closed to protect their player base and financial interests.
You can not use Bakkesmod in casual or ranked online matches. The only thing that the mod can do for you in those matches is to show you your MMR. So, you don’t have to worry about people using it to cheat because they can’t.
One final note about the mod. If you are struggling with a certain mechanic, you can use Bakkesmod to slow down the play in Freeplay or training. By using it, you can teach yourself how to do certain things and then speed up the play as you progress along. Yes, Rocket League does have mutators, but using the mod gives you more control.
Psyonix finally added curveball to Rocket League
The company behind Rocket League, Psyonix, was listening to their community and decided to take action and give the players what they want. They added curve to the ball in the game. The way they added it was in the best possible way.
Curve in casual and ranked modes
Psyonix did not alter the ball physics in these modes. Like I said above, people have been mastering the mechanics of the game for five years already. Adding curve to the ball completely changes the way the game plays.
One of the biggest changes that you will notice when the ball curves, is that it becomes almost impossible to dribble the ball. Whether it is air or ground dribbles, the ball constantly drifts away from the car. The realism might sound appealing, but games, especially games like rocket league, are meant to be fun.
Rocket League ranks have a soft reset every season. A soft reset means that, even though you have to play your placement matches again, you stay around the same rank. Adding curve to the ball will cause havoc with everybody’s rank, a rank that people have spent so much time grinding.
Curve in private matches
When Psyonix added curve, they added it to the mutator settings in private matches. This means that you can party up with friends and play a more realistic version of Rocket League. Adding curve in this way was the best solution for the entire community.
Psyonix managed to appease both groups of players, the ones that wanted curve and those that prefer the game the way it is. Jumping into a private match with friends and selecting ball curve is great fun and often levels the playing skill gap, because doing things like dribble flicks and air dribbles becomes near impossible.
The difference between Psyonix “Curveball” and Bakkesmod
The Curveball mutator that was added by Psyonix does not have any settings within itself. All you can do is toggle it on or off. With Bakkesmod, you can control the amount of curve on the ball. Being able to control the settings is great for challenges and training.
Bakkesmod can be buggy, whereas Psyonix, have an entire team to iron out any bugs.
When using the mod, you might notice that the ball hovers in the air a lot and sometimes even gets stuck on the ceiling. While this can be entertaining and funny, the novelty wears off pretty fast. You can use the settings within Bakkesmod to minimize these effects.
The biggest difference between Bakkesmod and Psyonix’s own Curveball is that Curveball is available on consoles while the mod is not. Console players had to wait a long time for the setting to arrive, while PC gamers were already using a mod to add their own curve to the ball.
As gamers, we will always think of creative ways to make the games we love, better. After all, we are the ones who spend hundreds of hours on a game we love, but developers are experts in what they do.
Developers have teams dedicated to research and development, so when they create a game, they do so in a way that will appeal to a mass audience. That doesn’t mean they won’t change anything. Psyonix proved that they could find a middle ground between the players who had differing opinions. They gave both sets of players the best possible solution.
After releasing Curveball, Psyonix proved that they knew what they were doing when they programmed the physics of the game. The novelty of the new game mode quickly went away, and perhaps, if they had originally programmed the game with drag physics, it might not be as successful as Rocket League is today.
Rocket League has managed to hold a strong and steady player base for five years, which is no easy task for any game to achieve. I think it is safe to say that the developers did a great job when creating the game, and the fact that they were willing to add a new mode just shows that they listen to the community.