It’s a tricky subject. Knowing when to stop playing a game as engaging as Rocket League or CS:GO is always going to be difficult.
On the one hand, you have the argument of how entertaining and fun it is. That’s literally the purpose of video games. The value you get is incredible, especially when you think about the number of hours it can be played for.
On the other hand, there can be downsides such as the amount of time it can take up or the impact on your sleep. As plenty of studies have suggested, there needs to be a balance. It’s about self-awareness and knowing yourself.
So how do we go about getting this balance? How do you know when you’re playing too much Rocket League? Here are 3 questions you should be asking yourself:
Do you enjoy the progression?
Do you ever feel like playing feels like a chore? This should be an indicator to take a break.
Don’t force yourself to keep playing if you aren’t enjoying it anymore. Just because people tell you ‘you have to do training packs’ or ‘you have to warm up in free practice for at least an hour every day’ doesn’t mean you actually have to do that. These are all really good ideas to get better at Rocket League, but don’t let them ruin your fun.
The same goes for the coaching we provide (yes, we had to add this shameless plug!) It should be the value and experience of actually feeling like you’re getting better at something that you’re proud about.
A coaching session should be fun and exciting. It should push you to become better at the game you already enjoy and, consequently, make the time you play it even more fun.
Don’t force yourself to keep playing every day if you aren’t enjoying it anymore. If you don’t quit for a short period of time, it may mean you end up quitting the game for good.
Taking a break will normally result in the loss of some muscle memory. But you are better off losing some muscle memory than not being able to enjoy playing the game at all.
Do you feel frustrated after playing?
Don’t confuse this question with ‘do you feel frustrated while playing’ because they’re very different. It’s completely normal to feel frustrated while playing if you’re continually loosing, getting repeatedly demoed or feel like you should have won the match but lost it in the last few seconds.
That frustration can be channelled into something good. But if you’re still feeling negatively towards the game several hours after you’ve been playing then it might be worth taking a few days off to reset.
For example, you might want to take that time and just play training packs. Try to give yourself the challenge to get three new training packs to 80% completion rate and keep going till that’s completed. Share your success with your friends or communities.
What we do mean by ‘stop playing’ Rocket League? If you do feel frustrated then are two ways to ‘stop playing’:
- The mini pause Take 3 to 7 days off the game. This sort of ‘short’ pause can help a lot and reigniting your excitement.
- The mega pause Take 1 to 2 months off the game. This much longer pause will give you time to test how much you enjoy the game once you came back.
Just remember that Rocket League is one of those games that will give a huge sense of progression. Many players find that exciting and fulfilling. Ask yourself this: how much have you progressed compared to your first few weeks?
Do you have enough time right now?
We all have different things going on in our lives. Some may have office jobs, some might have a family to look after, some are studying and so on. But we’ll always want (and need!) some downtime.
This will be different for everyone. For some, it might be watching a Netflix series. For others, it could be doing some cooking. I prefer to play video games.
For example, I would personally never play more than 8 hours of Rocket League a day. You might think that’s a ton of time. You might think that’s not much. But that’s what I have felt works for me, based on how much time I have and how much I enjoy the game. I find that anything more than this in a day will cause me to lose interest.
If you are spending 8 hours or more a day playing Rocket League because you feel like you will improve faster, think again. Spending less time might actually help. Being completely focused for that long can cause strain. Of course, you can keep playing for that long, but it’s something that you probably shouldn’t keep up for too long.
I know that sometimes people will feel guilty for playing Rocket League – almost as if they should be doing something else that they feel is productive. Maybe they should be but, more often than not, we do have the choice to make.
The best way to work around this is by planning your week so you know when to play. For example, you know there are 168 hours in a week. About 50 of those should be sleeping. So what do you do with what remains? You can quite easily calculate how much free time you have (ie: after studies, work, family) and then plan in your gaming time.
See how many hours a day you can play and enjoy that time. Try to stick to it doesn’t take over other areas of your life.
How to make Rocket League more fun
Everyone will enjoy a game in slightly different ways. Some will want to be the best freestyler in the world. Some will want to grind at hoops, or maybe even snow day. But to keep things more general here are some ideas:
New training packs This will force you to learn new ways to control your car and make the experience of playing Rocket League that bit more fun.
Play with friends If you don’t have the luxury of having friends that also play Rocket League, then there are loads of online communities (like GamersRdy, but others too) that will welcome you and be happy to jump in comms and play together. This is probably the best way to have a fun time.
Join a tournament or league There are organised tournaments for all ranks every week. For example, Indy Gaming League is a great community to jump right into playing with a team in a competitive league.
Try a coaching session You must have seen this one coming! A coaching session is a unique way to get someone who has a ton of experience in playing and teaching to actually explain how your playing and how you can improve. I’m available as well as other coaches. Any rank or experience welcome!
Creative side There are loads of ways to get creative with Rocket League. If you have photoshop skills then why not mock up what a new feature or new car could look like? Can you video edit? A montage of yourself or someone else can be super rewarding.
Item trading This is not for everyone but if you’ve never looked into the market of Rocket League then it might be worth looking into. There is a thriving community all about trading and, if it makes your car look better in-game, then why not give it a go?
Remember that playing Rocket League is much more than just playing soccer with cars. Just like any sport or activity, there is often a lot more depth and enjoyment the more you get into it.
I’ll conclude with this video: Your Brain on Video Games a TEDx Talk by Daphne Bavelier who explains some of the challenges and benefits of playing video games as well as digging into how they can be coupled with a more educational approach can have big positive effects of players around the world.