Witt Witt Witt
Read Dead is a bad video game
If anyone wants one I'll be giving out free hugs for the next few minutes, then I'm going to bed.
Ya'll need to relax a tad. If my recent scores are any indication at all, flames will be brought back up in the near future. I just played Santa Monica with 3 runs each on Bottle/Blast and RR/Blast and averaged around 154k per run. Then for craps and giggles I did Band/Flame. Yeah....didn't even break 100k, think it was 94k. Not even 5 star.
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And it's pretty ludicrous to suggest that the people objecting to this are boycotting because they aren't able to abuse their favorite exploit. First of all, there's little evidence at all that anyone is actually systematically abusing the exploit, such as it actually exists. People like MasterMO, MaximusDM, Zage, etc. do not button mash. As far as I know, Magnet is the only one who did it, and he only did it for experimentation/verification purposes. If you consider the loose timing windows in the game to be abusing an exploit, then that's fine. But nerfing Flame notes to the point of utter uselessness is the absolute worst way to address the issue.
And using Jackpot/Flame is not an exploit. It's a perfectly logical best general-use combo precisely because it demands the most of you for the highest payoff if you execute properly. What the hell is the point of even having a powerup like Jackpot if not to reward players for playing well? Jackpot/Flame should be one of the highest scoring combos, if not the highest, because it demands way more of you as a player than cheesy combos like Road Rage and Blast Notes. This is true on multiple levels; you have to be way more efficient at lane switching to keep your multipliers up (whereas Road Rage and Blast Notes basically raise your multipliers and score points for you at the same time), and balance that need against the need to collect overdrive, and then have the technical skill to activate and maintain a flawless streak of play while chasing flames as they appear without making any mistakes. To suggest that there's any way that people who use that combo effectively should end up with scores significantly less than those who use a combo that requires virtually none of these skills is the height of lunacy. It's contrary to the first principle of any skill-based game.
As for the Score Duel bit, did you not read his post? There are like maybe a dozen players in the world who could have a prayer of beating him in a score duel. Score duels for a player of that stature are meaningless when he could normally compete in a running score duel with the entire world via the leaderboard. The problem now is that the game has been altered to the point where the present scores, including his own, are utterly unobtainable by any combination other than a supernatural Pinball run, a powerup which has absolutely nothing to do with the music in any way.
On another note, after playing a few songs with various powerup loadouts tonight, I'm not convinced that Blast Notes have been buffed at all. I played many songs tonight for which my previously existing score was posted very soon after the game's release, when I was exclusively using Road Rage and Blast Notes, and virtually every song I played I barely edged out my previous score using the same combo despite the fact that I'm much better at the game than I was then. Some of it could be attributed to randomness of Blast Note placement, but it was such a common pattern of scoring that I have a hard time believing the buff was significant, if it happened at all.
Last edited by Epsilon82; 12-29-2012 at 01:03 AM.
I haven't seen this asked yet (apologies if it has) but,
I've been following this thread from the start and I'll share my thoughts now.
I don't feel that having some degree of perceived hierarchy amongst power-ups is necessarily a bad thing. For higher skilled players Jackpot is indisputably superior to Point Doubler. For my first several days playing I used Point Doubler almost exclusively because at the time I could consistently achieve higher star ratings. Since then I've never been compelled to use it again, but I'm okay with that.
Similarly, I don't take issue with the game having a progression through different play styles as skill is acquired and it's discovered certain combinations which involve more difficulty to execute are typically more rewarding than others. The difficulty should of course be guided along the lines of engaging with the music and playing the game as it was intended. Mastering the skill of button mashing to achieve a top score is certainly not what Harmonix intended. Pinball focus is debatable but has yet to present a widespread concern.
We had just held ScoreHero leagues for Blitz and after bandmate/flame as a possible exploit was revealed we banned its use if a 4-lane song was selected, and excluded all songs with 3 or less parts from selection for other similar balance concerns. We wanted to reduce matches being determined solely by lucky spawn points or exploitative playing methods. If tournaments followed a similar approach, or allowed all power-ups but focused solely on the nearly 1000 available 5-lane songs (483 of 2062 HMX songs, 468 of 2035 RBN songs by my unofficial count), that would remove known methods for abuse without requiring such a significant balance change at this late stage with the possible leaderboard wipe of millions of scores.
If the balance issue was deemed to be deeper than simply avoiding exploits for tournaments, and the change was prompted more by a lack of power-up diversity after reviewing the game data, then I'm really concerned about this precedent and the path we're headed down.
I didn't have any problem with the previous balance adjustment as a buff, and wouldn't mind further adjustments along those lines to help place other power-ups into consideration. But with this nerf as several others have said, I just can't bring myself to attempt to replay songs with unattainable scores both personally and on the leaderboards. Since reading this thread I've had several urges to play the past few days and unfortunately turned away every time so far. I'll soon have my first expired RB World goals.
With a leaderboard wipe I'd be disappointed at the loss of ~1000 scores, but would be willing to accept that and start from scratch under the new rules. My investment at that point would be less than it was previously knowing the possibility of another wipe exists for the future. As things stand right now though, I'd probably play the upcoming tournament songs each week for fun and don't expect I'll be motivated far beyond that.
Personally I feel it's too late to completely change the game's balance at the top of the leaderboards this drastically. I truly believe the best path at this point would be to revert this change, possibly work out power-up buffs as a balancing alternative, and use 5-lane songs for tournaments in the meantime. In that case I'd urge trying not to overcompensate on any buffs so there's room for growth without having to buff inverses again. The changes could be rolled out incrementally to reduce internal testing bringing other power-ups into play one-by-one, opening up community discussion and gathering score data; then upon introducing the next change, adjust the previous if necessary. There will always be debate regarding any adjustment, but most importantly everyone would remain confident their scores are always safe and top scores are always attainable amidst the discussions.
I had written out some specific points using ScoreHero data as to why I feel flames weren't as overpowered for the average song as this nerf suggests, even ignoring the significant relative skill difference in execution. But I think the bigger picture points above are far more important for the community going forward.
I'll be following this thread with close interest and look forward to further Harmonix response after the holiday.
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Just played a bit of Blitz using a few different powerup combos:
I had previously posted under the impression that Flame notes were worth 1500 each... not 300.
I thought there was hyperbole in saying they got "nerfed into oblivion," but this is pretty much true. Zage is right: if a single Flame note isn't worth more than a single 30x+ note at the end of a long-ish song, then the incentive for using the powerup is hugely diminished. Flame notes basically became a beginner-level powerup. I see why they would be extra careful since Flame notes are the only purple note powerups that re-spawn infinitely, but nerfing a powerup to the point where it becomes a non-powerup toward the end of long songs shouldn't happen.
I stand by my original argument that Flame notes were originally overpowered. However, 300 points per note is waaay too low. Experiment with 500 or 750, maybe even 1000, but 300 is bordering on disrespectful to players who enjoy using Flame notes in their loadout, whether they exploit timing windows or not. I can't Band/Flame juggle, but I'm ok at Jack/Flame, and the only times I didn't Gold Star "A Little Less Sixteen Candles" were when I used Flame notes.
Now I understand why many Flame players are highly emotional about the change. Ick. Hopefully the game data they're receiving is showing a precipitous drop in points from Flame notes -- far, FAR past what they intended.
Here's what I posted on Scorehero about the issue.
I realize that flame notes may have been a bit too powerful, but I feel like this was the wrong approach to balancing them. Now players who get 100% on all instruments and maintain Blitz mode throughout an entire song aren't even getting gold stars anymore. Meanwhile, I went back and demolished one of my old Jackpot/Flame scores by chasing a pinball and ignoring a large portion of the notes. The balancing is still off in terms of skill vs. reward, and something else needs to be done to encourage a larger variety of powerup loadouts between songs at all levels of play.With this season of leagues over, I was just about to get back into more competitive play and improve a lot of my old scores with my recently developed skills. This hidden change has reduced the amount of leaderboard-dominating loadouts from four options (Jackpot/Flame, Jackpot/Blast, Bandmate/Flame, Pinball/Synchrony) to only two (Jackpot/Blast, Pinball/Synchrony). As someone who likes using a variety of powerups, this makes the game less fun to the point where I don't even want to play it anymore.
What Harmonix could've done instead was make it so Bandmate can't hit flame notes or make flame notes spread at a random number between 1 and 3 (eliminating the ability to juggle them indefinitely while still allowing the Jackpot/Flame strategy to be used). Another thing that could've been done is eliminate the flame note chain when the flames start spreading to every note and give the player a large (but not game-breakingly large) point bonus instead. The value of flame notes could also be based on your multiplier (severe nerf at 1x, current point value around 10x, more points at 20x, etc.). Literally any rebalancing approach would've been better.
There should've also been buffs to Blitz mode, Runaway Notes, and Shockwave. Blitz mode is based on nothing but raw skill by its very nature, but some top-scoring strategies (Pinball especially) are executed more easily and effectively by completely ignoring it. The fixed 10,000 point bonus from Runaway Notes is not enough for the powerup to be taken seriously. The point bonus should either increase with your multipliers, increase with the amount of runaway notes hit, or be higher (25,000 maybe?) to begin with. Shockwave is easily outclassed by the other Overdrive powerups and it needs a buff to be able to compete with powerups like Jackpot and Road Rage.
In a game like this, the player should have more than a couple of options when deciding how to dominate the leaderboards (or even just dominate their friends). Now the leaderboards in question are meaningless for the vast majority of songs and there is no variety in competitive play anymore. The irony is that this is the exact problem Harmonix was trying to solve. Unless this "balancing" issue is fixed, the game is completely broken and I can no longer take it seriously.
In case I stop playing Blitz, here's what I've been working on for the last few weeks. I was 80% of the way there, and now there's no reason to keep going. *insert picture of 41/49 RBN cross-platform #1s using the four previously-mentioned loadouts here*
I really dislike the noob/newb/n00b moniker. It does nothing to contribute to the discussion at hand and also, to me, implies that anyone who chooses that combo somehow doesn't deserve to register a decent score. Some people may only have a chance to play a few songs at a time and don't have the hours it may take to develop the skills needed to use Jack/Flame effectively.
I personally like Band/Flame a lot, and I hope they will review the data as soon as possible because the way this rebalancing was rolled out is just not correct. I'm still going to play the songs I haven't registered a score for, and will even throw in a Band/Flame run once I GS a song with a different load out to provide some feedback to the people who can fix the issue.
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I am 100% for the flame change. It was very easily abused and was becoming a joke. That said....you need to reset the leaderboards. To have a huge change like this and then leave the leaderboards as is....well that is not right. There is no way many of us can ever get anywhere near our old high scores, even those of us that did not "game the system" and take advantage of large timing windows to create absurd scores. There is no way I can reach many of my scores now, I just used Bandmate/Flame without spamming back and forth on the controller to hit two notes at once like those others did.