I don't want to remove the rhythm aspect of the game. While I find it fun and challenging to figure out the best powerup combinations for top scores, I prefer to do it in a way that has something to do with the music. I don't even find the game in its current state very fun anymore, especially after realizing that only one powerup combination is capable of getting top scores in 99% of the songs now.
There aren't even variations of this combination now. The top pinball players are all approaching the limit of their twitch reflexes from what I'm seeing, so the only way to get better scores is to deploy Bandmate and have it save the ball at lucky times. On 4-lane songs, Bandmate will allow the player to cover half the lanes at any given time. Combine that with almost two months of constant pinball practice and it's possible to get over 200k points from a single pinball. It's a bit harder to pull this off on 5-lane songs, but extremely lucky runs are still possible. It would take twitch reflexes beyond that of a human to get these scores without Bandmate.
If the game remains in this state after tournaments are over, I don't see myself playing it anymore. Even if Harmonix rebalances the powerups again, I will still quit playing unless they do it right this time. What I see happening shortly after tournaments is a massive nerf to pinball that renders it useless and results in more unobtainable scores. All of a sudden, the strategy that the current top players spent two months mastering will no longer be possible. This is exactly what caused a lot of flame note players to quit and I can see it happening again with pinball players.
Honestly, I don't even know if this game is possible to balance now. As far as I know, Harmonix doesn't want to buff the weaker powerups because they don't want to devalue gold stars. If it's possible, why not just do it anyway and raise the gold star cutoffs slightly to compensate for inflation? Even then, most Blitz players only get about 4 stars per song anyway. There are essentially three options to rebalance the game:
1) Nerf the overpowered powerups (Bandmate, Pinball, Flame Notes, Synchrony) and wipe the leaderboards.
2) Buff the useless powerups (Shockwave, Runaway Notes) and either deal with score inflation or raise the cutoffs.
3) Buff Blitz mode so much that hitting more notes can compete with top pinball runs.
The first option will frustrate anyone who remotely cares about improving their scores. The second option will either make getting gold stars easier for many players or it will probably require a patch to keep gold stars at their intended difficulty. The third option will give pinball players some competition, but top players could start using more lane juggling in their pinball runs to remain on top. It would also most likely require a patch.
Perhaps they should just do all three rebalancing options at the same time and see what happens.
This all began with the power-up re-balancing that took place at the end of September. Players were using the same power-up load outs too often, so they buffed Pinball, synchrony, bottle rockets, shockwave, point doubler and instrument power-ups. They did this to entice players into using other load outs. If they hadn't buffed synchrony and pinball this would be a moot point. Players practiced and got real good with flame/bandmate and flame/jackpot, in fact they stretched it's use to the point where they were so good it looked like cheating. Harmonix implemented tournaments, so they wanted to take away that super high scoring. They nerfed flame notes. It went from players getting real high scores by hitting high 90's in percentage, to players getting high scores by hitting less than 80 percent of notes. Many songs now can be gold starred by hitting two buttons at once 150 times and playing pinball. No notes required. I don't think there is any easy fix or they would have. Maybe they should go back to original values. No matter what players will figure out any way they can to get high scores. I guess the point is, we are where we are because Harmonix wanted people to try all the power-ups they developed. They buffed the ones that people didn't use(mostly due to ineffectiveness or that they didn't fit in with hitting all the notes we can, which we all learned from Rock Band 1, 2 and 3, is the point of the game), leaving us at no notes required.
I am not a player that will win tournaments. There have been 7 different winners in the 18 songs so far. How many different load outs? I'm betting most were pinball/synchrony/bandmate or jackpot. No matter what some power-ups won't be used as much, but pinball and synchrony are to powerful. Especially considering that they remove the need to get a good percentage of notes or keep a streak or to keep increasing your multipliers(all are Rock Band skills from all of the prior games). Why would you nerf note hitting skill based power-ups(like flame notes), yet leave pinball and synchrony which don't so much require the skills we learned in Rock Band games, but real good twitch reflexes and the ability to hit 2 buttons at once repeatedly. If it were my choice I would probably go back to original values on Flames, Pinball and Synchrony. If only to get people back to wanting to hit high percentages of notes and keep streaks going.
After all it's called Rock Band Blitz, not 2 Buttons and a Pinball Blitz.
To be fair, you have put a lot of work into memorizing the bounce pattern which seems to stay pretty much the same no matter where it's deployed it eventually falls into a memorizable pattern. Which would not be foul if it were the only power up in the game and that's what everyone was expected to do, but now...
Did these guys playtest this game at all?
It's pretty absurd that they worry about "devaluing" Gold Stars in a game where getting Gold Stars is either ridiculously easy or ridiculously hard based on factors that have almost nothing to do with the ostensible difficulty of playing the song. It's understandable that they'd want to shoehorn the star mechanic from the Rock Band series, but the core design of the game pretty much makes it impossible to reliably generalize the star-earning formula in a way that makes it appropriately scale for all songs.
I still don't believe this for a second. You could make the argument that Zage (one of the greatest Blitz players out there) averages a little over 5 stars per song over certain stretches because he has to grind They're Red Hot many times without powerups to get coins. But the reality is that he obviously always gets Gold Stars when he's actually playing for real. If they're including runs that don't include full powerup loadouts in that number, then it's completely meaningless. And I suspect they are, because you pretty much have to try not to get at least 5 stars with real powerup loadouts. Hell, even TERRIBLE pinball play (and trust me, I would know terrible pinball play) pretty much guarantees 5 stars on most songs even if you ignore the notes.Quote:
Even then, most Blitz players only get about 4 stars per song anyway.
I wouldn't resort to this kind of grinding and because of this "blitz cred boosting" if it wasn't for the horribly flawed coin system where the only way to get reasonable amount of coins is to do goals and play new songs. With this method, it only takes like 12 minutes to amass 6,000 coins and 1,200 blitz cred, which is IMO faster than doing goals.
But yeah they can't average out scores with less than 3 power ups because it doesn't give a clear indication on how hard or easy songs are to GS in this game. Epsilon is right. GSing songs are either a complete and utter joke as long as you understand the game, or GSing a song is extremely difficult where the 1st cross plat score is less than 100k above the cut-off. i.e. The Cascade Effect by Chaotrope and Five Magics by Megadeth.
and boosting the point value of the useless Blitz Mode scoring won't make GSing songs any easier for players who are completely incapable of holding a streak and can't even 5* a song with a full loadout. They will do just as bad as they do now. What a boost in Blitz Mode will do is make Jackpot/Blast and Jackpot/Flame more competitive against bandmate/flame and pinball. Gold Starring songs right now is incredibly easy compared to the main Rock Band games that you can't really put much value into them other than some outlier songs. (Most were mentioned in the hardest song to GS thread) and those songs are hard to GS because they break the scoring algorithm(impossible checkpoints like cascade effect, won't get fooled again, child in time) or rapid checkpoints that are impossible to get +3 (Five Magics)