Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A 3-Hour Battle in Rocksmith 2014 Score Attack

15 January 2014

This is a long post because last night was a loooooong night. Well, the part of the night where I was in bed was really short, but the part of the night where I was up playing guitar was very, very long.
Ran through Pour Some Sugar in LAS mode first to warm up. 192 NS/98% accuracy/103.5% overall. Should have had 100% accuracy but I slipped up somewhere. Still, not a bad start. Jumped right into Score Attack at the Hard level. In Hard level, you play all the notes (fully levelled up) but you still get to see the notes – unlike Master level where there’s nothing to see and you do it all from memory. 

585,498/239 NS/100% accuracy. Good for 25th on the L/B – out of 1573 players. Fine. That put me in the top 2%. Next.

More skins unlocked. CA-1510BC cabinet. Wish I could sell these things. . . or at least trade them to UPlay for DLC or something. Seems like I unlock new skins just by tuning. 

Noticed that you can’t seem to sort songs on Mastery when playing Score Attack. Also, if you hit the B (red) button, you don’t necessarily back out of Score Attack the way you came in. Using the back button takes you out through the Guitarcade/Leaderboard Challenges menu page. But, if you want to jump back to the main page, there is a direct link at the bottom of the Score Attack menu that will take you back to the LAS page. Only one click from there back to the main menu page.

I jumped right into Master mode play and leaped up the charts to 12th out of 196 players with a Platinum score of 712,770/239 NS/100% accuracy. Good enough for me.

Also good enough to unlock the Level 6 Venue. Still can’t tell any difference in venue levels . . . but I’m on level 6, FWIW. Apparently whatever you do on bass or rhythm counts toward your overall rewards/achievements. You don’t have to start from scratch if you switch around on your “path.”
One more run got me up to #7 with a 725,052 Platinum score. (Platinum is by definition 100% accuracy.)

OK. Time to move on. You Really Got Me seemed like a good choice, but it wasn’t. I clicked on it and was taken to the Tuner where I learned that the bass on this song’s recording was “tuned” (if you can call it that) to something that’s not quite E and not quite E-flat. I just wasn’t in the mood to de-tune/re-tune the bass so I let this song go for a while. Funny – I don’t remember weird “un-tuning” being an issue on the lead guitar part.

X Kid, Green Day. Another fairly easy song on bass but not entirely without challenges. For one thing, most Green Day songs move along pretty fast. This one is no exception. I think Billy Joe and Friends must do a lot of speed . . . Anyway, I ran through this one three times in LAS mode and wound up with a respectable 167 NS/97% accuracy, and 99.9% (!) overall. So close. Close to what I don’t know. I’ve already got more than 100% overall on two songs, so I really don’t know what the 99.9 overall percentage signifies. Looks really good on paper, though.

I also learned something more than a song on this LAS session. I learned that those notes that appear to be “outlined” with a thick border are supposed to be ACCENTED notes. I had seen these before and had no idea what was up with them. They look even weirder when they’re open string notes, which occur a lot in this song. Nothing really tells you that these are accents except the Accents lesson. If you haven’t taken that lesson, chances are you won’t have any idea what the outline around these notes is supposed to mean. I think I’d have just stuck with using a caret over the note like in regular musical notation, but that’s just me. I still wouldn’t know what these things are except that I happened to feel like checking off a couple of Rocksmith Recommends learning activities last night. One of the activities for this song was to “review” the lesson on Accents. Wasn’t a “review” for me since I’d never taken that lesson in the first place, but whatever. Now I know.

This is when the “fun” began. I didn’t do any Score Attack with X Kid because I needed to play one more “new” song to finish a Mission. I needed to move on. For my last number I picked We Three Kings, a nice, short (about 2:36) little ditty which turned out to be surprisingly tricky on bass. Not hard but tricky. Lots of slides for a bass part. Did one run in LAS – 24 NS/77% accuracy, 72.7% overall. (No Mastery score given . . .) Not great, but not that bad for a first run. And this was a legitimate first run. While I’ve played this song several times on guitar, I have never played it on bass.

Jumped straight into Score Attack from here, mostly because I like being able to run through a song in Easy or Medium level on Score Attack and not have to worry about extra notes appearing when I’m not really ready. There are other ways to accomplish this, but I find using Score Attack to be a useful and satisfying way to run through songs repeatedly at the exact same level of difficulty. This lets me get the basic structure of the song cemented in my head without the distraction of dynamic leveling.

Unfortunately, for me at least, Score Attack is also a very easy way to end up spending 2 hours playing a 2-minute song. My first run wasn’t bad – 91050 score/80 NS/99% accuracy. And, if it weren’t for the Leaderboards, I’d have probably taken my new CSS-240B skin unlocks and gone to bed. But, there’s that Leaderboard thing. I was 23rd out of 31 players on the board. Couldn’t live with that.

I don’t consider myself a hyper-competitive person. I don’t do this with any thoughts of being “better” than anybody else. I’m just not happy in the 10th percentile. I don’t even read the gamer-tags of the other players on the L/B. I just know that, if there’s a name – any name – above my name, I’ll be playing a while longer trying to beat their score.

There’s a fine line between tenacity and psychosis and I may have crossed it. Nothing else explains why I’d be up until 2:00 AM to squeeze out less than 2,000 more points on a Score Attack run. Literally. After my first run it only took a couple more to get up to 134,975 and 6th slot on the L/B. At that point, I was a “mere” 3,000 points from the top spot. Too close to quit. After one more run, I was within 2,000 points.

I stopped keeping track of runs where my score didn’t go up, so I really have no idea how many times I played the song. Many. Like I said, about 2 hours’ worth. I climbed slowly: from 135,025 to 135,625 and then to 135,650. It was down to the difference between “good” notes and “perfect” notes. Like Old RS, Score Attack appears to differentiate between notes played early, notes played on time, and notes played late. You won’t see the old “groove bonuses” but you will see the words “Perfect,” “Good,” or “Miss” coming out of your speakers in RS2014. You seem to get more points for being ahead of the curve. Get too far ahead, or too far behind, and you get a “miss.” I wasn’t worried about misses. I was already at 100% accuracy. By 1:00AM precise timing of every single note was the difference between me and the top of the L/B.

Scores went down more often than they went up. That just made me more determined to continue. I might not make #1 slot but I was damned if I would quit on a downward trend. So, I kept on. Up slightly, to 136,550, and then back down. Up again to 136,875, then down. I was sitting at #3. Every single note mattered. There are exactly 100 notes to play in the Easy level of this song. Every single one of them had to be “perfect.” “Good” was not going to be good enough. Whoever #1 and #2 were really had it going on when they got their scores, but I was not to be outdone. Finally, sometime around 2:10 AM, I hit 137,250 and took the top slot with a few points to spare. Anybody who beats my score has my respect. I know I did the very best I could do and that’s all I really wanted.

Incidentally, there appears to be a maximum multiplier in Score Attack for each song and level. For the Easy level on We Three Kings, I’d say you’re unlikely to see a multiplier of more than 21x. Seems to be a factor of the length of the song and number of notes.

Also, the multiplier is your key to a high score. Miss a note and your multiplier is reduced by about 5x or so (I haven’t been able to quantify the penalty, but it’s significant). Missing notes early in the song seems to have a more damaging effect than missing later notes, but 5x is 5x. Of course, missing 2 or 3 notes gets you a strike. Strikes don’t seem to factor into L/B standings, at least not directly.


  1. In Score attack, aren't you annoyed by all the little noises the "score" does ? All those beeps and bleeps ?
    On some songs their volume seem too loud compared to the song volume. And the higher your score is, the more high pitched this sound is... It irritates me a lot :).

    About the penalty, if I remember well, there are "steps", once you reached a step (there is a small message that says it, don't remember what it says), your multiplier is locked there and if you make a mistake is goes back there. So this is not a fixed penalty, if you miss just after that step, you won't lose a lot of multiplier but if you were near the next one, ouch.

  2. There is a noise during Score Attack that sounds to me like a slamming vault door - that one I find very distracting because I associate it with making a mistake. I don't know if it indicates a mistake, but it's a "mistake-sounding" kind of sound. That one tend to throw me off a bit every time. The beeps seem to generally be positive things - or so I've been thinking - so, those don't disturb me much. But, I have my sound effects turned down a bit in Settings, so mine may be pretty quiet.

    Sounds about right on the multiplier penalty for missing a note. Some time when I'm just goofing around in Score Attack I'll try to verify that.

  3. It's BILLIE JOE not Billy Joe goddammit!!

    1. I'd fix it if I had any idea where I referred to him in this article. But, I wrote this so long ago I'd have to re-read the whole thing to see what you're talking about. And even then I still might not find it. . .