Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Two More Rocksmith 2014 Freeze-Ups. First Song Unlock and Master Moding.

Didn't play for several days due to holiday weekend. Last night I decided to play an old song from the original Rocksmith DLC list which I mastered and memorized over a year ago - just to see how it would go and to see how this new Master Mode really works.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Re-mastered and Master Moded

I ran through the song in Learn a Song mode a few times first to refresh my memory. Of course, since this was the first time I'd ever played this song on RS2014, the note highway (RSNH) started me out easy. Which is fine with me. I think you can bump up the difficulty by going into Riff Repeater but I'm perfectly happy to work my way back up slowly.

On my first three runs through the song I scored (NS/Accuracy/Overall %):

You can see that once I started remembering how the song goes I leveled up; my NS and accuracy dropped off while the overall percentage continued to go up. So far, so good.

Then the XBox froze up. This is the 3d complete lock-up I've experienced on my XBox since getting RS2014 just a couple of weeks ago. (I think I might have had one lock-up with the original Rocksmith in two years.) I had to shut down the XBox and restart it cold.

I noticed that my kids had turned the Kinect sensor back on, so I shut that off and proceeded.

2014 Glitches

For some bizarre reason, the recommended learning activies for this song included "Review Chords 101." Odd because there's not a single chord to play in the entire Lead arrangement. But, I did the Chords 101 lesson to get that out of the way. Scored a 91.3% and moved. on. (RS seemed to have a hard time detecting when I strummed some of the chords in the lesson.)

Scores continued to progress nicely and I worked up to 81/90/91.4% before reviewing the "solo" in Riff Repeater. My guitar sounded out of tune, so I used the Start button on my XBox controller to get to the Tuner. Got everything tuned up but then I had a hard time getting back to what I was doing in Riff Repeater. I ended up playing the rest of the song, starting from the phrase I had been working on in Riff Repeater. What I wanted to do was go back to working on that phrase. I think there may be a navigation glitch in RS2014 when it comes to returning to Riff Repeater from the Tuner. I'll check that out more later.

XBox Achievement - "I Learned to Play a Song" (15G)

After reviewing the solo, I played through the whole song again and scored a 112/97/99.5%. This was apparently good enough to say that I had learned to play God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

This was also apparently enough to lock up my XBox again. Another full lock-up requiring a power-off cold reboot. That's 4 lock-ups since installing/playing Rocksmith 2014.

The Overall Percentage - Shades of Old Rocksmith Scoring Weirdness

On my 9th play through (after rebooting my XBox), I managed to score a 108/93 with a new "Mastery" score of 99% and a separate overall percentage of 101.7%.  WTH?

OK, I was originally pretty impressed with the new scoring paradigm, but now the overall percentage makes no sense. First of all, how do you score more than 100%? And, why the separate overall percentage on top of a mastery percentage? If the master percentage is the level of mastery, then what is the overall percentage? And, at what point do we start getting two separate percentages?

All I know is that at some point of expertise you start getting a separate "mastery" percentage.

Fading into The New Master Mode

In old RS, once you earned the right to play a song in Master Mode, you had to choose to play in MM. You knew what you were getting into. Now, at least in the regular Learn a Song mode, you are sort of eased into playing in MM without necessarily intending to do that.

As my scores improved during repeated play-throughs, many notes on the RSNH started to become dim. The phrases where notes were dimming were always accompanied by a "Master Mode" message to the right of the screen. After my "Superstar" performance, many notes just flat out disappeared. If I started screwing up (which I did), notes started to reappear gradually. Kind of disarming at first, but I like this new approach!

On my first play through where notes actually disappeared completely, I scored a 91/87/94%/101.7%.

Score Attack: First Song Unlock and Another XBox Achievement

At this point I decided to shift from simply playing through the song to playing Score Attack. Since I was already practically in Master Mode, I started at the Hard level. My first run netted a score of 429,756 with no strikes - a Gold level performance. (Compared to the old RS theoretical max scores of 200k+, Score Attack scores are greatly inflated.)

Apparently this was good enough to unlock my first song: Self Trap. I'm not sure if I unlocked the song by getting a Gold level (i.e. no strikes during the whole song) or because I exceeded some arbitrary threshold score. Apparently unlocking songs remains a sort of random mystery. . .

I played two more times at Hard level (raw score,  NS/Accuracy):
552,117,  172/97.52%
668,960,  123/98.35%

This score was enough to unlock another XBox Achievement, the "Proved It" (30G) achievement.

Master Mode Score Attack

Once you manage a Gold score on the Hard level in Score Attack, you qualify to play Score Attack in Master Mode. So, even though it was well after midnight, I had a crack at this song in Master Mode. Remember, I mastered this song in old RS; don't be too impressed that I was able to work this song (back) up to Master Mode in one night! I picked this song specifically so I could explore MM play on RS2014.

I played through in MM two times:
558,246,  80/95.32
893,496,  208/99.45

The second score put me in 7th overall on the Leaderboard. Frankly, I was surprised there was anyone else even on the Leaderboard with this song. . . but there were actually lots of scores posted for this song already and many of them were pretty damn hard to believe. Literally. Hard to believe that the song could be played much better than what I played it on my last run. So, I'd have to admit that I'm a little suspicious of the Leaderboards or at least how some people are managing such high scores.

Shooting for a higher position on the Leaderboard definitely motivated me to keep working but not in the same way that Events motivated me in the old RS. Leaderboards are divided into levels, which at least allow players of all skill levels to feel that they can compete. I like this much, much better than the Ubisoft Rocksmith Forum Weekly Challenges because you can work on whatever song you want to work on. I have to wonder what effect this will have on the Weekly Challenges at the Forum. . .

After my MM effort, I had another go at the Hard level, a few runs at Easy level, and then a few runs in Medium. It's kind of tricky going from MM to Easy level on Score Attack! I suppose you could just play the whole song, but I tried to just play the notes that appeared on the RSNH and that was actually quite challenging.

I am on the Hard level Leaderboard, but with a score of 663,558,  195/98.35% I'm way down in 75th place.

I managed a Perfect Game XBox Achievement on Easy level with a 257,922,  177/100%. This score also unlocked a couple of amp skins for the HG-100 amp. My next attempt got me 261,679,  177/100% which put me 8th on the Leaderboard for Easy level. (See what I mean about being suspicious? I hit every single note - 100% accuracy - and I'm still a distant 8th on the Leaderboard. . . Kinda weird, I think.)

After three attempts at the Medium level, I managed a score of 448,499,  173/98.31%. Good for 49th on the Leaderboard.

I ended up shutting down around 2:30 AM. Clearly the new Rocksmith 2014 has the ability to suck me in. Let's see if that lasts.


  1. Just a PC update - last night the "must anticipate the note" issue reappeared. Not sure why - maybe a busier NH causes some lag. It doesn't bother me too much - I can tell via audio when the note should be played, so I just play it before it hits the "target" at the front of the highway (if I wait until it hits the target, it indicates "late"). I'm not running any other programs when I run RS14, so it's not competing for resources with anything else... I've turned off some of the grahics stuff, but I did increase the resolution - maybe I should lower that again and see what happens.

    I'm running RS14 on a (circa 2008) Dell Latitude E6500 which apparently has a Core2Duo processor with NVIDIA Quadro NVS 160M4 256MB DDR3 graphics and Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD. This meets minimum specs, but not the "recommended" specs.

    Just wanted to update, since I had mentioned that the PC lag seems to have disappeared.... Still can play and enjoy the game - just not an "ideal" situation, I guess.

    1. Thanks for the update, skydvr.

      I have always timed my notes based on "ear" rather than watching the NH. I used the NH to figure out what to play but I actually play by the sound. Trying to watch the note and play it has just never worked for me no matter how I tweaked the delay setting in RS. So, I guess I'd tend to recommend just going with what you're doing as far as that goes. Works for me.