An Open Letter to the Rock Band Community
March 04, 2008

Dear Rock Band Community,

I have been playing this fine game extensively for the past few weeks, and I couldn't help but notice how so many of you are ruining the game's primary online component, Band Quickplay, with your asshattery. The following is a general outline of suggestions for improvement which you can easily follow, and overall improve the experience for everyone involved.

Firstly, I would like to address the subject of difficulty choice. Too many players (Guitarists especially) are choosing a difficulty which is well beyond them. There is no acceptable reason for the rest of the band to be constantly pulling your ass back onto stage just because you have too much pride to play on an appropriate difficulty level. We have far more important things to be doing with our Overdrive (which I will get to in a moment).

There is no shame in playing on the correct difficultly level; Band Quickplay is not for practicing songs you're terrible at. There's a mode, appropriately enough, called "Practice Mode" which is made for that. If you can't get through a song competently on one difficulty level, then you should be playing on the level below it. And for god sakes, guitarists, don't even think about touching Green Grass & High Tides on Expert until AFTER you've reached Lord of the Strings status.

Now, onto another seriously annoying issue - headset abuse. Rock Band is a music game. No one will hate you for playing it loudly (well, except for your neighbors and others sharing your living space). But frankly, it's less fun hearing the game over the headsets; especially when it's delayed by half-a-second, played over the top of your own sound system, and turned into static and feedback by low-quality mics. For this reason, Guitarists, and especially Drummers, TURN OFF YOUR BLOODY HEADSETS WHILE PLAYING A SONG. As for Vocalists, KEEP YOUR STUPID FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER BUTTONS. We don't need to hear your terrible singing voice delayed half a second behind everything else. It's distracting.

Now, onto Overdrive Etiquette. As I've already explained, at no time should we be consistently using our Overdrive to pull your stupid ass back onto stage. Play at an appropriate difficulty. In addition to that, use your Overdrive at the appropriate time. Once again, I'm speaking primarily to the guitarists out there. Too many of you are turning on your Overdrive just because you have it - foolish thing to do. Ideally, you should wait for the tell-tale sign of the Drummer's pending Overdrive, the Drum-Fill Bars. After these have filled, activate your Overdrive. Voila, instant x4, x6, or even x8, instead of the lousy x2 we would've had if you just activated it immediately after earning it.

Drummers should therefore, obviously, strive to save their Overdrive, and only activate their Drum Fills when all other members of the band have their Overdrive Meters as full as possible.

There are, of of course, exceptions to this rule. Notable examples include when your Overdrive Meter is already full, and more Overdrive Notes are coming up, and when you're near the end of the song. But otherwise, Freestyling on your Overdrive wastes an awful lot of points. Lastly, of course, is when there is no Drummer, in which case players should verbally communicate with eachother, and strive to activate their Overdrive simultaneously at a point where all concerned have a high number of notes in succession.

As a last note on the usage of Overdrive, you should never be saving it for long periods of time, even if it's to bail out an obviously sub-standard bandmate. By purposefully saving your Overdrive to rescue your bandmates, you're only enabling those foolish souls who pick difficulties beyond their capacity, and you also severely damage the entire band's score.

Next, let's cover connection issues. Once again, I find myself largely speaking to the Guitarists out there. Leaving in the middle of a song is not cool. It doesn't matter what the reason is. If you don't like the song the band is playing, tough; you are given ample opportunity before the song begins to drop out. If you don't like the fact that you have to play Bass, tough; the other guy has to play the Bass just as much as you do. If you chose the wrong difficulty, tough; you should be more in control of your own ego. And you shouldn't even be playing online at all if you may have to leave soon or unexpectedly. As a last note, when you disconnect after the song is over, but before the band results screen comes up, a bug will trap everyone else at the Victory Celebration Montage; kindly don't do this. It's annoying.

Now, let's move onto the subject of song selection. Band Leaders, you're taking far too long to pick a god damn song, and once you do pick one, it's always one from the same few. There's almost sixty songs in this game, more with DLC, so there's absolutely no reason we should all be playing the same ten over and over again (seriously, ask yourself, "When was the last time I played Maps in Band Quickplay?"). Here's a quick tip: simply by pressing the "Change Filter" button, the list instantly jumps to Random Song - there you go, you've quickly picked the next song, and we can get on with it. Even better, nobody can complain about the song selection, because as it's random, there can be no accusations of favoritism or bias in terms of genre or instrument.

Let me touch briefly on DLC, as well; too few of you have it, and those of you who do, only seem to have the Metallica Pack. The songs are only 1.99 each; quit being so cheap. And there are far more bands represented through the DLC then just Metallica; you should try discovering them.

Just by keeping these simple facts in mind, we can, as a community, significantly improve our enjoyment of Band Quickplay. More importantly, as individuals, we will be far better prepared to act as a responsible, valuable, and important member of a band when Band World Tour finally goes online.

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pup pup - March 05, 2008 (12:32 AM)
I have yet to go on online with Rock Band, so your open letter scares me and excites me at the same time. Maybe I'll give it a go tomorrow.

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