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

  • 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.
  • HeyRilesHeyRiles Besse's Girl
    edited October 2012
    I think that Bottle Rocket and Flame Notes compatibility needs fixing. It appeared as though that when when I am using Flame Notes and use a Bottle Rocket, the Flame Notes jump to notes that I've already hit (or invisible notes basically) and since I can't hit them, the Flame Notes streak ends. Hopefully this can be corrected
  • Meat-PopsicleMeat-Popsicle Road Warrior
    edited October 2012
    HeyRiles;4893594 said:
    I think that Bottle Rocket and Flame Notes compatibility needs fixing. It appeared as though that when when I am using Flame Notes and use a Bottle Rocket, the Flame Notes jump to notes that I've already hit (or invisible notes basically) and since I can't hit them, the Flame Notes streak ends. Hopefully this can be corrected

    That's pretty much why I don't use Flame Notes. Is this an intentional feature? I'm guessing it is, but this behavior really does weaken that power-up significantly, and I really can't think of a gameplay motivation for this. But I doubt they can change this feature without a patch, even if they wanted to, which they might not.

    It took me a long time to figure out that using Bandmate doesn't seem to get you credit for playing "Super [instrument]". I'm still not 100% sure of this but I have noticed that my Super score is always lower than I expect it to be whenever I let the power-up autoplay that instrument. You get the solo bonus when some / most / all is played automatically, so I had been guessing that it wouldn't work that way.
  • NumskullNumskull Road Warrior
    edited October 2012
    Meat-Popsicle;4894059 said:
    It took me a long time to figure out that using Bandmate doesn't seem to get you credit for playing "Super [instrument]". I'm still not 100% sure of this but I have noticed that my Super score is always lower than I expect it to be whenever I let the power-up autoplay that instrument. You get the solo bonus when some / most / all is played automatically, so I had been guessing that it wouldn't work that way.

    I believe that's because the extra points are reflected in your bandmate total, not your super instrument total.
  • Meat-PopsicleMeat-Popsicle Road Warrior
    edited October 2012
    Numskull;4894085 said:
    I believe that's because the extra points are reflected in your bandmate total, not your super instrument total.

    Aha! Now that would make sense. My Bandmate usually gets a lot of points. I guess that section total includes Flame Notes that the Bandmate hit as well?

    Even better than the "20 coins to find out what your opponent used in Score War" feature would be the, "what was the breakdown by category for each high score". I would pay like 100 coins for that. When someone gets 500,000 to my 400,000, and used very similar power-ups, I'm left wondering, "what am I doing wrong"? Not staying in Blitz for long enough? Not playing the Super instrument enough? Or are they just playing far more raw notes (concentrating on the dense sections without worrying about missing a note occasionally)?

    Or maybe they just never miss a note.
  • Epsilon82Epsilon82 Opening Act
    edited October 2012
    Meat-Popsicle;4894092 said:
    Aha! Now that would make sense. My Bandmate usually gets a lot of points. I guess that section total includes Flame Notes that the Bandmate hit as well?

    Even better than the "20 coins to find out what your opponent used in Score War" feature would be the, "what was the breakdown by category for each high score". I would pay like 100 coins for that. When someone gets 500,000 to my 400,000, and used very similar power-ups, I'm left wondering, "what am I doing wrong"? Not staying in Blitz for long enough? Not playing the Super instrument enough? Or are they just playing far more raw notes (concentrating on the dense sections without worrying about missing a note occasionally)?

    Or maybe they just never miss a note.
    I definitely agree with this. I'd even pay 5,000 coins for such a feature (it helps that I'm nearly a millionaire coins-wise at this point.) On the non-super-popular DLC songs, I regularly end up at or near the top of the leaderboard (on PS3), but on many occasions I see scores that just seem ridiculously absurd ahead of me, and I find myself extremely curious as to how it was accomplished. It's one thing if someone just has a ridiculously effective run with Pinball...there's not much I can do with that. But if it's using some of the less popular powerups that just so happen to be particularly effective on a given song, that would be very interesting to know.

    I think there are a few reasons why they wouldn't want to do this; first, it would eliminate a lot of the incentive for experimentation with powerup combinations. Second, they'd probably rather foster discussion and debate on forums like this and elsewhere rather than allowing people to just buy a cheat sheet.

    Third, and this may or may not be completely true, but I suspect such a feature might reveal that effective use of Jackpot/Flame Notes/Super X is almost universally the killer combo. I'm willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of top scores (aside from perhaps a few ludicrous Pinball runs) are people who have figured out ideal paths to activate Jackpot and hitting Flame Notes while it's active.

    Since they've seemingly adopted a universal "no nerfing" policy with respect to existing powerups, they're probably trying to cook up ways to get more balance by boosting the others. They probably don't want to encourage everyone to fall into the habit of using one powerup combination all the time.
  • TheInsaneSamuraiTheInsaneSamurai Unsigned
    edited October 2012
    Woot! I love that things are getting rebalanced, and only in the positive. With that said though, I did some testing and it seems that on many songs, shockwave and bottle rockets still don't add up. They're definitely better, and I imagine they may be the "best" powerup for a couple more songs than they used to be. It seems like they both need something else though, perhaps more than just point boosts, and I was brainstorming a bit on ways to make the underpowered guys a bit more useful. So heres some ideas:

    Shockwave: Travels slightly farther for each energy note it passes over

    Bottle Rockets: Explosion radius gets slightly larger with each use, or perhaps provides a point boost when hitting purple notes(this would at least give it some kinda compatibility with flame notes, right now those 2 are the peanut butter and hair for sure)

    Runaway notes: Gain a little energy when you catch it, or perhaps make it worth 15k or 20k instead at first, but have that bonus fall down to 10 over time, so the faster you catch it the more points it's worth. Or perhaps go the other route and make the trail notes you hit provide a few extra points, so the optimal thing would be to keep it running from you rather than chase it down asap. Either way, I think this one needs the most help right now, and it also needs something to distinguish itself from being basically the weak version of flame notes IMO.


    Well, that's all I have for now. I was thinking about pinball a bit, but I have no idea whether it needs help yet. While I did test that as well, it seems like it requires a LOT more testing than the other powerups to really judge it. Either way, its fun to try out all this stuff I barely even used before, so excellent job on that :D
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