Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The 47 Rocksmith 2014 XBox Achievements

When I earned the Ernie Ball Long Streak Special achievement, I had to look on XBox Live to figure out what I had done. Since I was checking out XBox Achievements, I figured I'd check out all the new Rocksmith 2014 XBox achievements just to see what's out there. (Sony may have a similar achievement-like program for PlayStation - I have no idea.) Figured I'd just go ahead and make this a page to track my achievement-earning, but you can browse through the list below to see what you have to do to earn each achievement.

There are 47 XBox Achievements for Rocksmith 2014. So far I've earned 18 of them, including the Ernie Ball one. I don't know how product placement deals work in software or games, but I'm cool with Ernie Ball getting involved with Rocksmith. More exposure could only help with getting more songs licensed. There are also "sponsored" achievements from Eden, Marshall, and Orange amps.

These are the in-game achievements. Achievements are not the same thing as Missions. There are apparently over 500 missions in Rocksmith 2014. You get achievements for completing 214 and 500 Missions.

You can review your achievements on your Xbox Live account Social page. This is also where you can see your progress on the 60-day challenge. You can also view your XBox achievements on your Ubisoft.com Rocksmith player profile page, if you have one of those.

Each XBox achievement earns you between 5 and 50 "G-points." I have absolutely no idea what you can do with these G-points, but there are 1000 possible altogether.

Without further ado, here they are, straight from the XBox live webpage, the 47 XBox Achievements you can earn on Rocksmith 2014:

[colored icons are the ones I've earned to date. . . ]

  1. One More Song!
    One More Song!
    Use the One More Song feature (in Nonstop Play). If you're an achievement whore and just trying to collect all 47 as fast as you can, just set Nonstop Play to 5 minutes and select "Play One More Song" when your time runs out. Done.
    10 G-points. Unlocked on 12/12/2013
  2. Jam-a-thon
    (Even the achievements think this should be called a "jam," not a "session.")
    Keep the band alive for over 12 minutes in Session Mode. This means you have to actually play. You can't just turn on Session Mode and let it sit idle for 12 minutes. . .
    20 G-points. Unlocked on 12/12/2013
  3. Ernie Ball’s Long Streak Special
    Ernie Ball’s Long Streak Special
    Get a streak over 250 that bridges multiple songs. For example, you end one song with a 150 note streak and play a 100 or longer note streak at the beginning of the very next song you play. Seems like this achievement would involve a free set of strings or an Ernie Ball T-shirt or something. . . But it doesn't. Just 20 G-points on XBox Live.
    20 G-points. Unlocked on 12/9/2013
  4. Perfect Game (Medium)
    Perfect Game (Medium)
    Get Platinum (100%) on Score Attack Medium, Hard or Master
    50 G-points. Unlocked on 12/9/2013
  5. Perfect Game Hard
    Perfect Game Hard
    Get Platinum on Score Attack Hard or Master
    50 G-points. Unlocked on 12/9/2013
  6. Perfectly Perfect Game (Master)
    Perfectly Perfect Game (Master)
    Get Platinum on Score Attack Master. Do this before you earn achievements 4 or 5, above, or 8, below, and you'll get all 4 achievements at once.
    50 G-points. Unlocked on 12/9/2013
  7. 0.1% of the 10,000 Hour Rule
    0.1% of the 10,000 Hour Rule
    Play Learn a Song for 10 hours. Total. Not all at once!
    15 G-points. Unlocked on 12/5/2013
  8. Perfect Game (Easy)
    Perfect Game (Easy)
    Get Platinum on Score Attack Easy, Medium, Hard or Master. 
    50 G-points. Unlocked on 12/2/2013
  9. Proved It...
    Proved It...
    Clear 1 song on Score Attack Master. Apparently "clearing" a song means playing through it without striking out. So, Silver or Gold Pick level performances only.
    30 G-points. Unlocked on 12/2/2013
  10. I Learned to Play a Song
    I Learned to Play a Song
    Achieve 100% Mastery on any song
    15 G-points. Unlocked on 12/2/2013
  11. Ready to Session
    Ready to Session (or "jam" would work. . . )
    Complete 4 Session Mode Missions
    10 G-points. Unlocked on 11/25/2013
  12. Waking the Neighbors
    Waking the Neighbors
    Play Session Mode between 11:59pm and 3am
    10 G-points. Unlocked on 11/25/2013
  13. Now, That's Dedication
    Now, That's Dedication
    Play Rocksmith 2014 on 5 consecutive days
    20 G-points. Unlocked on 11/25/2013
  14. Marshall Gear
    Marshall Gear
    Create and save a tone using Marshall gear. Another product placement achievement. But, you won't get a Marshall amp or even a T-shirt for this one.
    5 G-points. Unlocked on 11/23/2013
  15. Orange Gear
    Orange Gear
    Create and save a tone using Orange gear. See above. Not even a discount on the amp. . .
    5 G-points. Unlocked on 11/23/2013
  16. Not Your Favorite?
    Not Your Favorite?
    Exclude a song from the Nonstop Play playlist. This is a cool feature! But, I can't quite remember how to do it. . .
    5 G-points. Unlocked on 11/22/2013
  17. Nailed It!
    Nailed It!
    Play a Solo at >95% Accuracy
    10 G-points. Unlocked on 11/17/2013
  18. Welcome to Rocksmith 2014
    Welcome to Rocksmith 2014
    Complete Soundcheck. Clearly these achievements are listed in no particular order. Pretty sure this would be the first one anybody would earn when they start RS2014 for the first time. As the name would suggest.
    5 G-points. Unlocked on 11/17/2013
  19. I Learned to Play 10 Songs
    I Learned to Play 10 Songs
    Achieve 100% Mastery on 10 songs.
    40 G-points. 
  20. 0.25% of the 10,000 Hour Rule
    0.25% of the 10,000 Hour Rule
    Play Learn a Song for 25 hours. Anyone know what the 10k Hour Rule IS? Or what happens when you reach 10,000 hours? Does the disc self-destruct? Do you win a Marshall or Orange amp and an Ernie Ball T-shirt? Or, what?
    30 G-points.
  21. Rocksmith Is My Teacher
    Rocksmith Is My Teacher
    Complete 50 RS Recommends items (these are those things in LAS Mode that I call "Learning Tasks").
    20 G-points.
  22. I Know Guitar Techniques
    I Know Guitar Techniques
    Hit all guitar techniques at least once
    20 G-points.
  23. I Know Bass Techniques
    I Know Bass Techniques
    Hit all bass techniques at least once. I'd actually like to see a more objective standard here. I mean, just "hitting" all the techniques is easy. How about raising the bar a bit? Make us reach some level of competence!
    20 G-points.
  24. I Know Chords
    I Know Chords
    Successfully play 30 unique chords. That's, like, 10x as many as you need to be a rock star! It's not really clear whether you have to play these in a song or during a Session Mode or lessons or what.
    20 G-points. 
  25. Try It, You Might Like It
    Try It, You Might Like It
    Play all Rocksmith 2014 songs at least once
    20 G-points.
  26. Eden Gear
    Eden Gear
    Create and save a tone using Eden gear. There it is - the last product placement achievement. A good one. I'd never heard of Eden gear until it appeared in RS2014. So, guitar equipment manufacturers, take note!
    5 G-points.
  27. Epic Session
    Epic Session
    Complete 60 minutes in Session Mode. That would be a long damn improv'. . .
    20 G-points.
  28. Playing the Field
    Playing the Field
    Play with over 50 instruments. ??? Not sure quite what this means, but I'm guessing it involves the back-up bands used in Session Mode.
    20 G-points.
  29. Secret Achievement
    Secret Achievement
    Continue playing to unlock this secret achievement.
    ?? G-points.
  30. Secret Achievement
    Secret Achievement
    Continue playing to unlock this secret achievement.
    ?? G-points.


    Pretty self-explanatory. All 11 of these require you to score 10 million points on each respective Guitarcade game. Each good for 20 G-points. Good luck.
  31. Who Needs a Dog?
    Who Needs a Dog?       
    Score at least 10,000,000 points in Ducks ReDux
    20 G-points.
  32. Blowhole Surfers
    Blowhole Surfers
    Score at least 10,000,000 points in Gone Wailin’
    20 G-points.
  33. Thank God Your Safe!
    Thank God Your Safe!  (or, Thank God You'RE Safe. . . )
    Score at least 10,000,000 points in Ninja Slide N
    20 G-points.
  34. Fellowship of the Strings
    Fellowship of the Strings
    Complete all 6 levels in a Scale Set in Scale Warriors
    20 G-points.
  35. Return of the Strings
    Return of the Strings
    Complete all 3 levels in a Progression in Return to Castle Chordead
    20 G-points.
  36. You’re All Clear, Kid!
    You’re All Clear, Kid!
    Score at least 10,000,000 points in Star Chords
    20 G-points.
  37. Note Track
    Note Track
    Score at least 10,000,000 points in Hurtlin' Hurdles
    20 G-points.
  38. Bells, but No Whistles
    Bells, but No Whistles
    Score 10,000,000 points in Harmonic Heist
    20 G-points.
  39. Pacific Coast Noteway
    Pacific Coast Noteway
    Score 10,000,000 points in Scale Racer
    20 G-points.
  40. The Lost Arch
    The Lost Arch
    Score 10,000,000 points in Temple of Bends
    20 G-points.
  41. Getting Served
    Getting Served
    Score 10,000,000 points in String Skip Saloon
    20 G-points.

  42. Pwned Score Attack (Easy)
    Pwned Score Attack (Easy) Pretty sure this is supposed to be "Owned" but on XBL it says "Pwned."
    Clear 50 songs on Score Attack Easy, Medium, Hard or Master.
    10 G-points.
  43. Destroyed Score Attack (Medium)
    Destroyed Score Attack (Medium)
    Clear 30 songs on Score Attack Medium, Hard or Master. But NOT Easy.
    30 G-points.
  44. Demolished Score Attack (Hard)
    Demolished Score Attack (Hard)
    Clear 20 songs on Score Attack Hard or Master. But NOT Easy or Medium. See what they did there?
    40 G-points.
  45. ...and It Wasn't a Fluke
    ...and It Wasn't a Fluke
    Clear 15 songs on Score Attack Master. You get the idea. . .
    50 G-points.
  46. Mission 214
    Mission 214
    Complete 214 Missions. (You know. As in Rocksmith 2014. . . Get it?)
    20 G-points.
  47. Hitting .500
    Hitting .500
    Complete 500 Missions. Which begs the question: Just how many missions ARE there?
    20 G-points. And, really? Only 20 G-points for this? OK. . .

There are 4 Perfect Game achievements for getting 100% accuracy when playing a song in Score Attack. The 100% I pulled off the other night on God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen got me all four of them at once. Apparently if you pull off a Platinum level performance (100% accuracy) in Master Mode - a Perfectly Perfect Game - you get the Perfect Game achievements for Hard, Medium, and Easy modes, too. By skipping straight to Master Mode I got 4 achievements for the price of one. Apparently the same sort of idea applies to the 4 song-clearing achievements (#42, 43, 44, and 45).

There are also 4 achievements for "clearing" songs in Score Attack. "Clearing" a song appears to mean getting through the song without striking out. So, either a Silver or Gold Pick level performance. That obviously gets harder to do as you play harder levels of Score Attack, but it's very doable, especially if you pick easier songs for the harder levels. (An updated ranking of Rocksmith 2014 songs by difficulty is coming; I'll be comparing the results of sorting the song list in Rocksmith 2014 by difficulty and the results of using my home-built difficulty calculation.)

Just like in the original RS, there are several achievements for Guitarcade games. In RS2014, you have to score 10,000,000 on each game to get the achievement. Which means I'll probably never see any of these achievements. If you're into the Guitarcade games you've got the potential to snag almost 25% of the 47 achievements.

There are three or four achievements related to how much time you spend playing, with at least two references to a "10,000 Hour Rule." Very curious to know what THAT rule is all about. At 2 hours per day, it would take you almost 14 years to get there. By then, even I would be pretty good. What happens when you reach 10,000 hours of playing time? Will anyone ever know? (I mean anyone besides people like Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa, and Stevie Vai.)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Can't Stay Connected to XBox Live with Rocksmith 2014

This may just be an XBox issue. Or an XBox Live issue, to be more precise.

But, it might be a Rocksmith 2014 issue. I'd like to know if anybody else is having this problem.

It started about a week ago. Right about the time my XBox pushed one of those periodic, unwanted "updates." The kind where you basically agree to accept the update or forget about playing your XBox. No matter how useful or good the update might be, I resent having things forced on me like that. So, XBox updates automatically become the primary suspect any time my XBox starts acting weird.

However, other than an issue with one specific TV series I've been watching on Netflix*, my XBox has been working perfectly normally lately - except for when I play Rocksmith.

I can sign into XBL (XBox Live) with no problems. I can sign in dozens of times a night. I get signed in every single time without a hitch. BUT, within a couple of minutes, I get kicked right out of XBL and the little "Disconnected from XBox Live" message pops up on the bottom of my screen.

This means that none of the time I spend playing is getting logged on my 60-day challenge tracker. Also, none of my achievements or G-points are being credited to my XBox Live Gold account. Most significantly, I can't post any Score Attack scores to the Leaderboards!

To make things even more strange, occasionally I'll be signed back into XBox Live without actually doing anything myself. Just out of the blue I'll get a message saying that I'm signed in. Doesn't seem to be anything specific that consistently kicks me out or causes me to be signed back in. Just completely random aggravation.

Important to note: I can still play RS2014 just fine. This issue hasn't stopped me from playing - just stops me doing anything online. There HAVE been some other oddities, though. Last night the tuner seemed to lock up on me once - but that may have been user-error. I'm embarrassed to admit that I forgot to plug my wireless transmitter into my guitar at one point last night and got a little tweaked trying to figure out why no sound was coming out of RS. . . It happens. But, my tuner freeze-up was a separate incident.

Also, Riff Repeater started a mildly strange behavior last night. RR would give me a Level Up message every single time I played the phrase - even if I didn't actually level up the phrase. Don't remember that happening before. Maybe it was just the song? (I was working on the intro phrases to Smooth by Santana, in case anybody from Ubisoft/RS support is reading this and wishes to check into it). RR also has a strange habit of reverting to 75% speed after I make a full 100% speed/100% level run. Not sure if that's a bug or just weird programming concept.

I popped into the Ubisoft/Rocksmith forum to see if anybody else was experiencing this. Results were inconclusive. I found a handful of threads dealing with various issues, but nothing exactly like my random disconnect issue.

*Netflix: I've been watching Chuck lately on Netflix. Each episode is about 42 minutes long. Until a couple of nights ago XBL would disconnect right at the end of each episode, about 2-3 minutes from the end. Which, of course, was maddening! I mean, I knew what happened, but I sort of like to SEE it without having to reconnect, restart Netflix, sign back into Netflix, reload the episode, and scroll to the very last scene. . . Call me fussy. However, the problem with Chuck seems to have gone away magically. My RS2014 issue continues.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Rocksmith Saves the Economy!

I bought Rocksmith in 2011 as a direct result of a working display set up in my local Guitar Center. To recap the story, while I went in to look at some drum stuff my kids played around on the Rocksmith set-up in the middle of the store. When we got home, my son picked up the Squier Strat that had been gathering dust in his room and started playing Satisfaction just like he learned it on Rocksmith. As a result, I bought a copy of Rocksmith AND a brand new XBox 360 for our family Christmas present that very year. That was just the beginning of the spending.

Almost immediately after that I bought a second RealTone cable so my kids and I could play Multiplayer mode together. Soon, naturally, we needed new strings for all of our guitars. After a few weeks of hours-long RS sessions, I needed a better (i.e. wider and more padded) strap. Or two.

When the XBox wasn't being used for Rocksmith, we started buying and playing other XBox games. We bought an extra wireless controller and a programmable controller (because I didn't like the way some games mapped the controls). And a charger/storage rack, of course.

Then the DLC songs started coming out. So far we've bought about 35 of those. In anticipation of the Bass Expansion Pack, I bought a used Yamaha bass from GC. Then I bought the Bass Expansion Pack. I bought Rocksmith for PC at a bargain price. Now I've bought the 2014 version at full retail price, although it's on sale right now for $49.99 (check date of this post before rushing out to buy. . . ).

GAS (guitar acquisition syndrome) really kicked in. The guys at my local Guitar Center knew me by name. I didn't buy a new guitar right away, but I bought a pile of used ones. Not just from GC, either. When I say "a pile," I mean like over a dozen. I started trolling online auction sites where I found my Yamaha Strat copy and case (two separate auction items, but the seller combined shipping). I took the Yamaha straight to T.Sheppard's guitar shop for a set-up and ultimately a new neck. Once I bought a six-pack of guitars as a single lot from an online auction. Shipping on that one cost me a bundle (which I almost made back by selling off a couple of the six guitars). I donated one of the acoustics to my church for a music education program. A handful of First Act guitars were bought on other auction sites and most of those require shipping.

Then there was the scratch n' dent PRS Tremonti SE, followed by an Ibanez Artcore semi-hollow body and a Gretsch Electromatic semi-hollow body (both used). Last summer I bought two new guitars in one day - an inexpensive Ibanez acoustic to drag around to softball tournaments and a sweet Epiphone LP Special with P90 pickups for a very sweet price (i.e. under $100). I found my used MIM Fender Tele at the GC store. That's also where I recently found my Michael Kelly Valor. The same day I bought the Vapor, my son bought a used cammo-painted Ibanez with a case.

Eventually I got to a point where I wanted to start playing more off-line. So, I got a brand new Peavey Vyper modeling amp from Musicians Friend. Later I found a used Carvin bass amp and a ginormous bass speaker cabinet which took up entirely too much room at the house. That rig got traded back to GC for a more reasonably sized Fender Rumble bass amp. The Peavey and a very old Crate bass amp that I bought years ago got traded in on a Vox AC15.

Apart from strings and straps, there were stands and wall hangers. I got my daughter a new strap for Christmas last year. One of my her softball team's favorite songs required a slide. And a capo. So, I bought those. Somewhere along the line I picked up an acoustic pick-up (which I've never used but it was on clearance). When I finally settled on a favorite strap, I wanted to be able to quickly swap the good strap to any one of my several guitars, so I invested in some Dunlop Strap-Loks and several sets of buttons. I also tried a set of Loxx (which are very nice but pricey compared to Strap-Loks) on the bass. Then there were the tab books, a couple of other books, and several DVDs. Not to mention all the MP3s I've bought from Amazon so I could listen to Rocksmith songs at work and (try to) memorize them.

The only thing I haven't bought is picks. I play with a pick. But, more often than not, when I buy a used guitar there are several picks in the case. Plus, I have a bowl full of Guitar Center picks. I pick up a new one just about every time I go into the store. I'd take some back but I tend to put them in my mouth between songs. Which, now that I think about it, makes me really, really hope that nobody else ever brings their GC picks back to the store, either. . . Ick.

All in all, I have personally thrown at least a few thousand dollars into the economy over the past two years as a direct result of Rocksmith. No wonder I'm always broke. Yet, despite the fact that much of this money was funneled through Guitar Center coffers, I haven't seen Rocksmith in my local GC store since we bought our first copy in 2011. In fact, while the original Rocksmith seemed closely tied to both Guitar Center and Gibson/Epiphone, there's no mention of either company in Rocksmith 2014 and it seems GC doesn't even sell Rocksmith any more.

I see ads for Rocksmith on my Internet browser, but I'm continually amazed at how many guitar owners have still never even heard of Rocksmith. What's the deal? Rocksmith should be more of a household name than Guitar Hero by now! Why isn't it?

I smell a conspiracy! More later.