Wow...I thought the boards were dead and then I come in and see this monstrosity of a discussion.
As a pseudo-high level player myself, I was recently apprised of this Bandmate/Flame "exploit" by Zage, and I didn't really fully grasp how it worked until I kind of accidentally stumbled into it while playing a three-lane Stevie Ray Vaughan song, at which point it became obvious how to do it. Interestingly enough, my initial reaction was that this method was somehow less legitimate than Jackpot/Flame and required very little skill, and I still think so to a certain extent. But Zage talked me down from that position a bit, and I agree now that I've seen how it has to work with four-lane songs.
My initial reaction was that Bandmate/Flame used in this fashion completely ruins the competitive game for 4-lane songs, which Zage now seems to agree with, but I absolutely don't hold anyone in any kind of contempt for this. A score-based game necessarily is going to lend itself to figuring out how to maximize the score by any means possible, and this kind of thing goes with the territory.
Personally, I play this game because I enjoy interacting with music. It's why I played previous Rock Band games so much, spent an obscene amount of money on DLC, and Rock Band Blitz, at its core, is a similar but more accessible game that IMO resolves one of the chief weaknesses of playing "core" Rock Band solo; namely, that certain parts of songs are either not interesting in isolation or have too many "gaps." The ability to switch lanes at any time makes pretty much any song very engaging to play in a way that, say, Somebody to Love by Queen is not interesting on Guitar throughout.
I was never a seriously competitive core Rock Band player. I got to the point where I play all instruments exclusively on Expert, and can at least Gold Star songs at a 65-75% clip across all of them, but being in the Top 5 or 10 on any particular song was never in the cards for me. It's only due to the smaller overall player base, my personal dedication to playing a crapload of Blitz, and the less technically difficult core gameplay that I've found myself in a position to ever be competitive near the top of leaderboards.
Like many here, I just don't find the gameplay attendant to utilizing Bandmate/Flame to its maximum potential interesting or enjoyable, and as such, I simply won't use it except as an occasional novelty. I've found that playing with Jackpot/Flame is the most technically enjoyable method for me, and the fact that until now it had the capability of posting the highest scores was mostly an accidental byproduct of that. The risk/reward and snap decisions Jackpot/Flame requires brings some of the tension of the core RB games into play for Blitz, and I just enjoy playing that way.
In reality, I never really attempted to score very high on songs. I've never replayed a single song more than 2 or 3 times in a row at max, and I only restart in extreme circumstances. As long as I get gold stars (which I do on all but the weirdest songs even on runs where I completely flub the Jackpot usage) I'm satisfied. At the end of the day, I play this game because it's an extremely engaging way to interact with music. The leaderboards are just an adjunct to the game that I don't really feel much compulsion to obsess with.
Using just bandmate/flame is not the exploit. There is nothing wrong taking advantage of flame notes and hopping lanes to keep it lit. That's not the issue.
The exploit Magnet is talking about lets you get outrageous high scores like 800k on songs like Buddy Holly on your 1st attempt. After seeing this myself, this completely ruins the game, and it's HMX's fault for not properly testing this and allowing this to happen. What MasterMO explained was just the strategy with bandmate/flame. That is completely legitimate. It's not the strategy itself that's the problem, it's what you can do to actually achieve it. I am not going to accuse MasterMO for using the exploit on any song as he could actually be doing it legitimately to generate those scores, but the exploit does exist and it's something HMX needs to fix or else the leaderboards for 4 lane songs will eventually become a complete joke.
For instance, I don't know how many times when using Jackpot/Flame that I consciously decide to ignore certain flame notes because I just think the risk of breaking combo is too great to chase. In many cases, I likely could have extended my Jackpot score by tens of thousands, at least, if I had just taken that extra risk. If I had the amazing reflex and recognition skills that it would require to achieve these Bandmate/Flame scores legitimately, then I would still use Jackpot/Flame because I think the 3X far outweighs the sheer quantity of notes that Bandmate can help you spawn.
In all fairness, it has to be exceptionally difficult to design a game with this many potential powerups and keep it remotely balanced. I just wonder if there would be any unintended side effects to addressing this. How exactly would you propose the change happen? The more I think about this issue, the more I keep coming back to the possibility that this is the kind of double-edged sword that is pretty much inherent to the mechanic of being able to switch lanes at any time.
"Fire has other worldly powers" -Lawdog1521
It's also interesting that the reason some people tend to struggle with Jackpot is the other edge of the back-end window "sword," so to speak. It's all tied up in the same design decision to have lenient timing windows combined with the required enforcement of said back end when switching lanes. In other words, the very reason people tend to have broken Jackpots that seem unfair on switching lanes is part and parcel with the reason Bandmate/Flame can be exploited so effectively. They probably chose to have a lenient timing window because they wanted the game to be more accessible. They also probably were aware of the capacity to hit both notes in adjacent lanes, and perhaps chose to enforce the back-end (meaning, count notes that could have been hit as misses) to offset that.
It's funny, because I remember thinking as soon as I learned that you didn't lose your multipliers if you missed in this game that maybe indiscriminate button mashing could be a viable strategy; maybe that's what the Blitz mode bonus was designed to discourage, but obviously even ideal Blitz mode usage pales in comparison to the boon of points granted by button mashing when it means that virtually every note you hit is a Flame note.
Blast Notes n Road Rage 4 lyfe
Jackpot is 2stress4me
Last edited by HeyRiles; 12-07-2012 at 05:00 PM.
I'm sorry, is that okay? You sure? Ha, alright. Okay. Sorry though
Yeah, it's frustrating at times, but more often than not I let discretion be the better part of valor and only very rarely do I screw up badly enough that I can't beat my existing Road Rage/Blast Note score by a considerable margin. And when it all comes together and you cash in a 150,000 point Jackpot, sending your score immediately from 4 stars into Gold like halfway through a song, the ensuing elation is well worth the added stress for me.
Really the main problem with this new method is that it's so grossly overpowered compared to anything else that whenever anyone uses the specific method on a song, they will generate a score that is completely unbeatable any other way. What worries me is if eventually all high level play of Rock Band Blitz will be nothing but using this exact method and spamming your way to a high score. I just don't find this method remotely fun at all. Some might, but I like having variety and strategy on what power ups to use.
With Jack/Flame..hell even bottle rocket, sync and even pinball, I feel a lot more engaged and have the challenge of doing several tasks at once, and before this method was discovered there was always multiple ways of taking the top score.
I took the top score on Message in the Bottle on PS3 while I was trying to do the Bottle Rocket goal (which i came 100 points short )..I'm almost confident that the score below me used jack/flame, so jack/flame was already beatable anyways, and the margin isn't outrageous enough that a jack/flame run can still can't beat it. I probably used jack/flame on about 50% of my 1st place scores. Al the others I used several unique loadouts, however none of my top scores had more than a 150k margin.
When i said it ruins the leaderboards I meant that it removes the variety of play styles because now there is 1 specific play style that doubles everything else, and personally I don't find that play style remotely fun at all. This isn't MasterMO's fault. He was able to discover a method that is so powerful that he destroyed the leaderboards, and just expected other people to discover it. This is the fault in the game design. It's unbelievable how unbalanced this game is. The game is completely broken without a sense of balance, and I feel like there is nothing HMX could do at this point. They could weaken flame notes but that would make most of the scores unbeatable.
Only thing they can do is either not do anything at all and just let all the top scores be band/flame or they can buff the other powerups more.
I had fun grinding the setlist and maxing my scoring potential but I guess I'm done that now seeing how they will all be beaten by a huge margin eventually anyways.
Major props to the thoughtful poster who is attempting to revive the aggressive part of the discussion that had already died out. Truly, solid work there, Trent
I'm sorry, is that okay? You sure? Ha, alright. Okay. Sorry though