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Season 6 is Nearly Here!

Hey everyone!

Happy spring! We thought we’d take the opportunity to share some details on near and long-term plans for Rock Band 4 and Rivals. First off, a huge thank you to all our players. Because of you, Rock Band 4 is just as alive and vibrant as it was at launch over two years ago. Since launch, we’ve released over 400 songs, more than 10 updates, and delivered features that run the gamut from Brutal Mode to Online Matchmaking. It’s been a labor of love for us but the real joy is watching all of you enjoy our work!

Season 3-5 Rewards

One of the modes that we spend the most time on is Rivals Mode, our asynchronous competitive mode. We just wrapped up Season 5, which yielded the rewards needed to complete the full motorcycle outfit. As we gear up for Season 6, we want to push some changes out to address some of the feedback that we’ve gotten over the last year. Last week, we discussed these details on our livestream. For those who missed it or just wanted it to reference later, we’ve detailed it all below. First, the content news:

Every Rivals Season has a theme – Season 6 will explore the history of Rock Band DLC, with each Challenge focusing on a different time period of releases. This gives us an excellent opportunity to bring some of the highlights of the Rock Band Network catalog to RB4 as DLC. As you may remember, Rock Band Network was a UGC program that we built to allow bands to upload their songs directly to the Rock Band universe. Thousands of songs were submitted and released via the RBN pipeline; a mix of indie, mid-major, and major label bands. Our licensing team has been going back through the catalog to work through a very complicated process to try to bring RBN content to Rock Band 4. I’ll spare you the gory details, though there are some specific points that I think are important (and interesting) to all of you:

  • It is technically impossible for us to support entitlements for RBN content, but we’ve secured the rights to release a portion of RBN songs as regular paid DLC. This is a big win for those of you interested in the RBN catalog – on our last survey the overwhelming majority (80+%) of people indicated that they’d like to have the songs available for purchase than not have them at all. We’re really excited that we were able to make that happen and some awesome stuff is about to be available as a result.
  • We have to work through songs one by one, so we cannot just upload the whole library. We’ll be releasing songs periodically, just like we do with our regular DLC. This is a perfect time to request RBN songs you want to see make it over to RB4 via our song request page (which we look at all the time!).
  • Each song will get a QA pass to make sure that authoring, mixes, and all of the other secret bits of the song all work in the game. We’ll also be adding in support for Pro Drums. That said, we don’t want to change the authoring too much as many of you will be familiar with how these play (and the original authors did good work). These songs will be super fun to play and sound great.
  • While there’s a lot of great RBN content we’re excited to release, we also have an awesome line-up of non-RBN songs for release this year.

So that's exciting.

On the mechanics front, we’re making some changes via the server (no update to download…yet) to soften the biggest criticism of Rivals Mode – it can feel grindy. We’re making 2 major changes:

1. We are adjusting the per-song XP values to reward players who play well at higher difficulties. Put differently, players who 5 star a song on Expert will earn substantially more XP than 5 starring that same song on Medium. XP already works that way, but we’re making the difference more dramatic.
2. We are adjusting the promotional thresholds for some of the tiers to complement the XP changes we're making - we definitely want to make sure that the folks who aren't playing on Brutal or Expert have a chance for promotion.

The goal of these changes is to get more people promoted into the middle tiers while still ensuring that skill is an important and valuable metric as players put their Crews together. In addition to these changes, we’re also increasing the XP decay on repeated song plays – we don’t want players to feel like they need to play songs over and over again to harvest XP. It’s just not that fun. We’ve also applied the existing Spotlight score constraint to regular Crew XP – you can only contribute to one Crew during a challenge. If you leave a Crew, you’ll have to wait until the next challenge starts before you can earn Crew XP or submit Spotlight scores.

As with everything Rock Band, we would LOVE to get your feedback on these changes. We pay very close attention to what you all have to say and, in fact, your activity and suggestions help define our goals. Everything we do, we do for you. Feedback this time around is doubly important as we are working on a suite of Rivals mode changes for a game update later this summer. So, join the conversation and let us know what you think!