Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Easiest Rocksmith Songs - An Unscientific Analysis

** This post has been updated to include a bunch of DLC that I've bought in the past year. Please check out the new updated post on this topic posted March 27, 2013! **

Somebody on the Ubi forum posed a question recently which got me thinking. Basically they asked what the other forum members thought was the easiest song on Rocksmith. Much subjective discussion ensued. Since I've been keeping data on my own Rocksmith progress, I figured maybe I could use my data to come up with a somewhat less subjective ranking of the songs in Rocksmith. Of course, ranking the songs also answers the converse question: what is the hardest song on Rocksmith?

This is by no means meant to change anyone's opinion. Nor do I pretend to have any particular expertise in statistical analysis. I passed my required Stat 110 course in college and that's it. Because nobody seems to truly understand how Rocksmith scoring really works, the equation I came up with is purely intuitive.

How I Did It (free lifetime membership to this blog to the first person who can identify the movie in which a book of this title appears)
I've been tracking my high scores, play counts, accuracy, and streaks since I first started playing Rocksmith. I threw all of these numbers together into a made-up equation designed to sort of reflect how hard or easy each song is. Basically, I divided my highest score on each song by the number of times I've played the song. Reasonable, right? If it takes you 50 times to qualify a song for an event at 30k RSP, that's obviously a harder song than one which you score 100k RSP on the third time through.

Then I multiplied that resulting number by the my best accuracy percentage. If I get 30k RSP with 100% accuracy, that's probably a pretty easy song. But, if I get 30k RSP with only 50% accuracy, that song was a little harder. Easier songs get a higher multiplier. I'm not sure this is a valid manipulation of the data. It really depends on how RS takes accuracy into account in its scoring paradigm. So, I also tried dividing by the accuracy percentage. The results were not significantly different. I was tempted to just leave accuracy out of the equation altogether, but I think it's a valid factor.

Finally, I multiplied the whole mess by the amount of my longest note streak. To make the numbers more digestable, I simply divided by 100,000 and rounded to one decimal place to get a ranking number. The higher the value, the easier the song.

Of course there are almost countless other ways to fiddle this data. I also tried simply adding my high score and longest streak values, multiplying the total by the accuracy percentage and then dividing that by the play count. This yielded roughly the same results. So, while I wouldn't submit this for my PhD dissertation, I'm perfectly comfortable submitting it as a blog entry.

Songs That Aren't Included and Why
To lend at least a little credibility to my equations and the resulting rankings, here are the limits of my "research." First, I've only ranked the songs I've actually played. (Duh.) There are several songs and alternate arrangements of songs in the original RS song list as well as a ton of DLC which are not included here. By the same token, several DLC songs that I have bought and played are included in my ranking.

I also omitted the alternate arrangements of some songs when the arrangements are very similar. For example, on songs like Angela and Surf Hell once you learn the combo arrangement you pretty much know the single note arrangement and vice versa. In fact, my scores on the different arrangments of these songs are within a couple of thousand points, but the play counts are significantly different, which would skew the ranking either way.

I also left out a few songs that I have played so many times for fun that my play counts would skew the calculation and make those songs look a lot harder than they are. Surf Hell also falls into this category. I don't know how to eliminate the high play count effect except possibly to do the calculations using an estimated play count from when I mastered the song. I may try that later.

There was a handful of songs that I never tracked accuracy or streaks on, either because I hadn't refined my notekeeping at that point or because the songs came up as encores. At least one of these, Song 2, was mentioned in the forum thread as being one of the easier ones. On these I just plugged in some reasonable numbers to make the equation work (since you can't divide by 0).  Also, I don't manually track my play counts. Due to a minor coding glitch, RS doesn't provide a play count for Play with Fire, so I have no value to plug into my equation for this song. I had to just take a wild guess at how many times I've played each arrangment.

A Comment on Chord Arrangements
One of the first things I noticed about my ranking is that a lot of the easier songs are the chord arrangements. I know some people have trouble with chords, especially really new beginners. My equation doesn't take that into account. If you aren't comfortable with chords yet, just ignore the chord arrangements in this ranking and look at the rest of the list. I've identified the Chord Arrangements with italics.

Now, on with the show! In order from easiest to hardest, I present my ranking of Rocksmith songs:

Beyond Easy:
Go with the Flow - combo

Rebel Rebel - chords
Song 2 - combo
Satisfaction - chords
Freebird - chords
Next Girl
Boys Don't Cry - combo
Plug in Baby - combo
High and Dry - chords
Angela - combo

Run Back to Your Side - chords (obviously)
Do You Remember - chords
Do You Remember - single note
Where is My Mind - combo
Number Thirteen - single note
Smoke on the Water - combo
I Want Some More - combo & single note
Breed - combo
High and Dry - combo
Barracuda - combo
More than a Feeling - combo
Unnatural Selection - single note
Vasoline - combo1

Satisfaction - single note
Number Thirteen - combo
When I'm With You - combo
Do You Remember - combo
Mean Bitch - combo 2
Use Somebody
Go With the Flow - single note (slides make this one much more challenging than the combo)
Rebel Rebel - combo
Slow Hands - combo
Carol of the Bells - combo

Hard: (keep in mind that this ranking is from easy to hard, so the hardest song is at the bottom)
Play with Fire - combo
In Bloom - combo
Higher Ground - combo2
Are You Gonna Go My Way?
Play with Fire - single note
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - combo
I Can't Hear You
Outshined - combo 2
Higher Ground - combo 1
Symphony of Destruction - combo

I divided the songs into groups mainly to make the list a little easier to read and then I felt obligated to give each group a heading. However, Go with the Flow is sooooo far out in front based on my "Easi-ness Calculation" that I had to give that one its own group and heading.

Even if my equation is way off, Go with the Flow scores so high that I'm pretty sure it would come out on top in any analysis. By my estimation, Go with the Flow is the easiest song in the original Rocksmith songlist and Higher Ground is the hardest. Of the DLC that I've actually downloaded and played, Symphony of Destruction is the hardest, but there's a lot of DLC I haven't got yet.

You are free to disagree. I'm not even sure I agree with the results in terms of hardest songs. Unnatural Selection seemed harder for me than Higher Ground, although I've not mastered either one of them.


  1. KinchBlade says: "Young frankenstein" :D

  2. Interesting stuff. Nice Journey you're having there.

  3. I'm enjoying reading your blog. I just got RS a week ago. I would put "Run Back to Your Side" in the Beyond Easy category. I Mastered it the very first time I played it. And it was my first Master Mode performance. I got 100%, 211,000 points and the achievement.
    Rock On

  4. Thanks for that list. I am trying to put together a master concert and your list just got me the last song I needed (Rebel Rebel). Although I must say that I rather agree with Bluezman, Run Back to Your Side needs to be on the Beyond Easy list. I had the master mode after playing it 2 times and that was only because the game wouldn't give me all the chords right from the start. And instead of putting the Combo arrangement of Boys Don't Cry I would have picked the single note arrangement, I find it much easier to play. What about the chord arrangement of The Spider and the Fly? How come you didn't put it on the easy list?

    1. I suppose I should update this post. Note that I wrote this in April of 2012 - almost a year ago now. At that point in time I had not yet ever attempted Spider and the Fly. I personally find that one a little difficult, though.

      Run Back to Your Side chords is listed as a "Medium." Even though I think it's really easy, I have heard many beginners say that they have a hard time with chords. So, I guess I threw it in there. I could have made the break point at this song - could have gone either way. I just bumped it to Medium because some people have trouble with chords when they're starting out.

      I don't remember if I had played the other arrangement of Run Back to Your Side by last April or not. . . It's been a while since I played that song at all, but it seems like the other arrangement is pretty easy. I guess I just need to update my post! I've been really slack for a while on this blog. The holidays always throw me off and I've been doing a lot of writing for another website lately. I'll try to get back in gear here!

    2. Well, maybe I have a little advantage there. I used to play all of my favorite Beatles songs when I was a teen (quite a while ago) and the basic chords are no problem for me.

      As I said before, I found in your list my last song for my first master concert which I just played and I was a little disappointed. I thought I would get a Master encore but the game gave me a song I had never played before. I was counting on getting at last a second encore with this concert, having left two master songs I play very well..... Well I guess I'm just not good enough yet to get a second encore.

      I played the Spider and the Fly during this concert and got my best score with it. It sure proves that there is no absolute truth where difficulty of mastering a song is concerned. I think I'm gonna try to make my own very unscientific list. Go on and complete yours....

    3. Second encores are a little tricky, I think. In fact, I'm willing to say that they are downright arbitrary. You can meet the score requirement and still not get the second encore, so it's not a question of being good enough. It's a crap shoot. This is a huge source of irritation among players who are trying to unlock all six Secret Squirrel Songs in Rocksmith. So, keep trying. Eventually everybody seems to get it. As far as which song you draw for any encore, that too seems to be completely unpredictable. Most people try to avoid pulling a master mode encore! But, quite often encores end up being something you've never played. No way around it except to play everything!

      I'll consider running all my songs through the totally unscientific equation I created, but as you have seen for yourself it is a very subjective effort. What's hard for some is easy for others and vice versa. (I personally find the chord arrangements to be very easy; I started playing a long time ago, too, but never got serious about it. But I remember when I first started playing chords. . . whooee! My fingers just didn't want to cooperate.)

  5. Pearl jam black supper easy cord arangement combo very hard muiti barr chords different shapes after 42% mastery

  6. I think free bird is the hardest song to learn
    There should be hard + catorgory