Power-up Rebalancing

edited December 2012 in Rock Band Blitz
Hey gang!

Since launch we’ve been keeping a close eye on the trends in player behavior in Rock Band Blitz. As we expected would be the case, in the weeks post-launch, we found people leaning more heavily on certain Power-up loadouts than others, and falling into pretty rigid playstyles. In response to this, we have rolled out some tweaks to our power-ups this week that should help level the playing the field a bit for some of the previously under-powered items. We hope this will give you a greater range of power-ups and playstyles to try out and play with, thus also further extending the time you spend with Rock Band Blitz!

Allow me to allay some worries right off the bat. We’re only tweaking these things in the positive. That is, your favorite power-up is not being maimed or gimped in any way. You just may start to see a little more competition for your top leaderboard spots from some folks, so keep a look out!

Power-Ups Affected:
-Point Doubler
-Bottle Rocket
-Shockwave
-Pinball
-Instrument Bonuses (including Synchrony)

Play around with try these out now, you may find you have a new favorite loadout! We’ll continue to keep a look out for any play anomalies and work to keep right the ship in such cases that it’s deemed necessary. Thank you all, as always, for being our eyes and ears on the frontlines. I hope this will bring an air of freshness to your RB Blitz play sessions! See you on the Leaderboards!

Comments

  • Epsilon82Epsilon82 Opening Act
    edited September 2012
    I'm glad to see Harmonix tweaking the powerups to keep things fresh, but I kind of agree that Pinball effectively breaks the legitimate gameplay. What bothers me about it is the fact that it's just an entirely different skill which is divorced from rhythm gameplay. If someone is really good at playing a discretely segmented game of Arkanoid, should that really make them good at Rock Band Blitz by extension?

    At the same time, I definitely understand the rationale behind not nerfing anything, because that can lead to scores that were previously attainable becoming unattainable and possibly ruin leaderboard competition. I just think that Pinball is the last thing that should get any buffs.
  • Meat-PopsicleMeat-Popsicle Road Warrior
    edited September 2012
    Great ideas. I now have an excuse to break out of my "always use the same 3 power-ups" rut. And yes, making them all positive changes is a smart move, ensuring that you can always score at least as high as you did before, no matter what the power-ups used to be worth.

    Will some high scores fall now, directly because of these changes? Yep. Will people get furious about it? Yep. "It's just a game" ... but some people take their gaming very seriously.
  • SheSaidSheSaidSheSaidSheSaid Washed Up
    edited September 2012
    HMXPope;4890424 said:
    That is, your favorite power-up is not being maimed or gimped in any way.

    The word you're looking for is nerfed (isn't it?).
  • bigmfbigmf Tiny Hulk Smash!
    edited September 2012
    Mr. Pope Tweaked My Pinball would be a great name for a band.
  • edited September 2012
    Are gold star cut offs still the same?
  • edited September 2012
    MagicMurderBag7;4890894 said:
    Are gold star cut offs still the same?

    Yes, Gold Star cut offs are still the same. The only things changed were the effectiveness of the Power-ups listed above.
  • T-HybridT-Hybrid Washed Up
    edited September 2012
    I wonder if the Bottle Rocket now triggers Blast Notes. That seemed to be one of the primary issues I had when using that instead of Road Rage. And there are somes songs where Blast Notes would be a much better fit if they did.
  • thatmarkguythatmarkguy Road Warrior
    edited September 2012
    hmxhenry;4890896 said:
    Yes, Gold Star cut offs are still the same. The only things changed were the effectiveness of the Power-ups listed above.

    Out of curiosity... theoretically, *can* gold star cutoffs be changed from server-side tweaking? Or is the GS calculation baked into the software and with no means to override via server communication?

    It's been something some people have been curious about... if some songs prove impossible to GS by the current rules, can HMX re-strike the GS threshold on a per-song basis on the server side?
  • T-HybridT-Hybrid Washed Up
    edited September 2012
    thatmarkguy;4890914 said:
    Out of curiosity... theoretically, *can* gold star cutoffs be changed from server-side tweaking? Or is the GS calculation baked into the software and with no means to override via server communication?
    I feel like they've altered GS cut-offs in the past, but that it was via patch. I can't imagine that'd be server side since the GS appears during gameplay. Unless they load it via Rock Central in that brief moment it tries to connect before the song starts.
    Meat-Popsicle;4890494 said:
    Will some high scores fall now, directly because of these changes? Yep. Will people get furious about it? Yep. "It's just a game" ... but some people take their gaming very seriously.
    I think as long as they don't NERF the rest of the power-ups things will be okay, as the same three power-ups will still produce the same results as they did previously.

    What I find interesting is if they can tweak power-ups via the server....can they also add new ones at some point?
  • edited September 2012
    hmxhenry;4890896 said:
    Yes, Gold Star cut offs are still the same. The only things changed were the effectiveness of the Power-ups listed above.

    Cool. Thanks for the reply.

    Now I might be able to get those last 3 GSs
  • Epsilon82Epsilon82 Opening Act
    edited September 2012
    T-Hybrid;4890916 said:
    I feel like they've altered GS cut-offs in the past, but that it was via patch. I can't imagine that'd be server side since the GS appears during gameplay. Unless they load it via Rock Central in that brief moment it tries to connect before the song starts.


    I think as long as they don't NERF the rest of the power-ups things will be okay, as the same three power-ups will still produce the same results as they did previously.

    What I find interesting is if they can tweak power-ups via the server....can they also add new ones at some point?
    The reason I doubt that they would alter GS cutoffs on the server side is that the Offline mode, crippled as it is, does award stars in the same way as songs played online. But ultimately, that just means that there is SOME formula to allow the stars to be calculated in the core software. That doesn't necessarily mean that the server couldn't override that formula at the time a song starts. Given the fact that the function of the powerups appear to be completely driven by values fed in from the server, I can't see any technical reason why they absolutely couldn't adjust the star cutoff formula (or fixed values, perhaps) in the same fashion. It just depends on whether they care about consistency with the offline mode, in which it's only even possible to gold star songs in theory (with very few exceptions) because of the absence of powerups.

    EDIT: And as for adding new powerups server side, I suspect it may be possible, but it probably depends on how the software was written. If the game stores the images and text descriptions for the powerups locally and then just checks for the RC connection to allow them to display, then probably not (at least not without a preparatory software patch.) But if it actually loads that info in from the server at the runtime, then they definitely could. We just don't know quite to what extent the server is driving the software under the hood.
  • MagnetMagnet Moderator
    edited September 2012
    I'd be interested from Nord or someone on a bit more info on how they changed. thatmarkguy's point (no pun intended) about Point Doubler has me wondering which are point changes vs OD amount changes. We could try to compare old YouTube videos with new runs, but it'd be easier to get the info from the source.

    I'm kinda glad that bottle rocket is being made a bit more powerful. It's fun to use, and it was made basically pointless after road rage was unlocked.
    thatmarkguy;4890914 said:
    if some songs prove impossible to GS by the current rules, can HMX re-strike the GS threshold on a per-song basis on the server side?

    On that note, I wonder if anyone with sufficient skill has run into a song yet where it looked impossible to GS.
  • edited September 2012
    T-Hybrid;4890904 said:
    I wonder if the Bottle Rocket now triggers Blast Notes. That seemed to be one of the primary issues I had when using that instead of Road Rage. And there are somes songs where Blast Notes would be a much better fit if they did.

    Bottle Rockets (and Road Rage) have always been able to trigger Blast Notes.
    thatmarkguy;4890914 said:
    Out of curiosity... theoretically, *can* gold star cutoffs be changed from server-side tweaking? Or is the GS calculation baked into the software and with no means to override via server communication?

    It's been something some people have been curious about... if some songs prove impossible to GS by the current rules, can HMX re-strike the GS threshold on a per-song basis on the server side?

    I don't believe Gold Star cut offs could be adjusted manually. It's based off a scoring algorithm that applies to all songs. While it's likely that there will a handful of songs that defy the algorithm and Gold Stars won't be possible, it's unlikely that's 1% of the total songs available. It's more likely that the Power-up value could be raised to allow for even high scores, but that would mean raising the scores for 99% of the songs to allow for slightly higher scores on the remaining 1%. It's not completely out of the question but it's unlikely.
  • NightmareLyreNightmareLyre Rising Star
    edited September 2012
    So... Runaway Notes is still pretty much unused then?
  • NumskullNumskull Road Warrior
    edited September 2012
    NightmareLyre;4890966 said:
    So... Runaway Notes is still pretty much unused then?
    I used them fairly heavily at first, but then I realized that Flame Notes are much more to my liking while operating in a somewhat similar manner.
  • MagnetMagnet Moderator
    edited September 2012
    NightmareLyre;4890966 said:
    So... Runaway Notes is still pretty much unused then?

    That's what I thought would be a high contender for rebalancing. I don't think the 10,000 point bonus makes up for the OD notes you end up missing out on during the chasing process. I never use it because I haven't found it feasible for high scores, but I do like that power-up so it's kind of a shame.
  • The-XaiaXThe-XaiaX Unsigned
    edited September 2012
    thatmarkguy;4890448 said:
    People still aren't going to use Pinball for normal 4+ track legitimate play

    Huh?

    Pinball + Bandmate is what I use 99% of the time.
  • masterchief_383masterchief_383 Unsigned
    edited September 2012
    I mainly use Road Rage and Blast Notes. I don't have much trouble gold starring the majority of my songs, so it must be a pretty good combo.
  • Ew00kieEw00kie Unsigned
    edited September 2012
    Runaway Notes is King especially with Road Rage on Harder Songs on slow songs i use 2x or 3x w/ Blast Notes
  • iamchris4lifeiamchris4life Unsigned
    edited September 2012
    I'm sure Jackpot/Flame/Super will remain on top though
  • BohemianMattBohemianMatt Headliner
    edited September 2012
    I thought gameplay was fine until I saw the difference between my (gold star) scores and those in the top 10 on songs. Maybe us casual payers can finally catch up a bit more.
  • Chemical PhoenixChemical Phoenix Road Warrior
    edited September 2012
    Any one figure out exactly what they changed? I played a song with Point Doubler and didn't really notice anything different.
  • BohemianMattBohemianMatt Headliner
    edited September 2012
    Chemical Phoenix;4891501 said:
    Any one figure out exactly what they changed? I played a song with Point Doubler and didn't really notice anything different.

    With Point Doubler, it should consume your energy slower, allowing for more points.
  • DiamaniacalDiamaniacal Opening Act
    edited September 2012
    BohemianMatt;4891394 said:
    I thought gameplay was fine until I saw the difference between my (gold star) scores and those in the top 10 on songs. Maybe us casual payers can finally catch up a bit more.

    Do you think that it is going to make your scores anymore competitive? If the tweaks make other powerups more efficient to use in a song the people that have already realized the most efficient paths/combinations will adjust and still be beating you possibly by an even wider margin.

    /boggle - Gameplay is fine with you as long as your scores are not lower than the top 10 by some unmentioned degree?
  • HeyRilesHeyRiles Besse's Girl
    edited September 2012
    Please give the details on the buffs
  • thatmarkguythatmarkguy Road Warrior
    edited September 2012
    Diamaniacal;4891733 said:
    Do you think that it is going to make your scores anymore competitive? If the tweaks make other powerups more efficient to use in a song the people that have already realized the most efficient paths/combinations will adjust and still be beating you possibly by an even wider margin.

    This is true if one can assume that the top scorers are still-active players who will seek to improve their scores. The scores of people who posted a high score but either don't play anymore or are unlikely to re-play a song to re-establish a high score will be unchanged and can (theoretically) be passed by less talented but more persistent players.
  • singemfrcsingemfrc Unsigned
    edited September 2012
    As long as there is still jackpot + flame notes, there will be no balance. That combo routinely beats the next best combo by ~100k+ on most songs. The point bonus for hitting a flame note under jackpot is just ridiculous.
  • jibjqrkljibjqrkl Eventually Perceptive
    edited October 2012
    singemfrc;4892267 said:
    As long as there is still jackpot + flame notes, there will be no balance. That combo routinely beats the next best combo by ~100k+ on most songs. The point bonus for hitting a flame note under jackpot is just ridiculous.

    not on long songs
  • T-HybridT-Hybrid Washed Up
    edited October 2012
    hmxhenry;4890953 said:
    Bottle Rockets (and Road Rage) have always been able to trigger Blast Notes.
    Ah, I thought somebody said once they don't. But maybe it just seemed that way because the effect of a Blast Note looked the same as the splash from Bottle Rocket.
  • Epsilon82Epsilon82 Opening Act
    edited October 2012
    iamchris4life;4891391 said:
    I'm sure Jackpot/Flame/Super will remain on top though

    I have no doubt that's true in general, but for me personally, I think I have spoiled myself so much with Blast Notes that I have a very hard time scoring well on the few times I've tried Flame notes. I think it's because I usually tend to have the most success on shorter, busier songs with Road Rage/Blast Notes/Super, and between Road Rage and Blast Notes, keeping the multipliers up is much easier. When I have neither of them, I find myself coming up short on multipliers way too frequently, which seems to outweigh the points I get from hitting Flame Notes under Jackpot.

    Of course, I've been pretty much playing everything once and then moving on. Now that this 1,000+ song bug is on my radar, I'll probably start repeating songs and trying for optimal scoring on many of them.
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