Rock Band Rivals Season 8: What Role Will You Play?

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It will come as no surprise to you hear that I consider Rock Band to be the best game on the market for music fans – those of us who argue about whether dirt core is metal or punk; those of us who can follow the line from mod to indie rock; who understand that, when it comes to music, there are no guilty pleasures… only pleasures.  These are the cultural underpinnings that bind the Rock Band community; we are a passionate group of music lovers who come together over a game that best joins Music and Gaming culture.  If that sounds like you, and you’ve been waiting for “the right time” to join in, there’s no time like the present as we have a new Rivals Season starting on Thursday, September 13th.  Read on for more information:

Rock Band 4: the biggest music game on the market today

Rock Band 4 is huge – with the Rivals bundle, you get over 100 songs, tons of fresh content in the Rock Shop (more on that below), thousands of songs available in the DLC store and of course, the eponymous mode behind our expansion: Rivals Mode.

Rock Band Rivals: the heart of the Rock Band community

The underlying principles of Rivals Mode are social: groups of Rock Band players join together to form Crews who then compete against other Crews for glory.  Each week, play revolves around a challenge that is essentially an excuse for the Harmonix Community team to put together a playlist, loosely focused on an overarching theme.  One week, the theme will be a genre… say…. Metal music.  Another week, maybe we select songs from a particular era of Rock and Roll.  Other challenges may be more … esoteric (one of my personal favorites was a road trip challenge where we selected our favorite driving songs).  The fun thing about it is that you are presented with a curated list of songs to play that changes every week.

Rock Band Rivals: The Challenge is real!

Challenges are presented as part of an 8 week Season.  At the end of each challenge week, top Crews are promoted.  There are six tiers that players can achieve over the course of the 8 week Season.  Everyone starts in Bronze.  At the end of the first week, the top 40% of crews are promoted to Silver.  Then Gold, then Platinum, then Diamond, then the ultimate elite: Bloodstone.  As a season progresses, it gets harder and harder to get promoted.   Most crews cap out in Gold and Platinum with the best of the best moving on to Diamond and Bloodstone.  One important element of this system is that by the third week of a season, you are generally competing against crews that are made up of players of similar skill to you.  This gives *everyone* a chance to see their name at the top of a leaderboard.

Rock Band Rivals Strategy: Play your way

There are a lot of different strategies to consider as you approach your contributions to your crew.  We’ve spoken to a bunch of folks to get their approach [insert video].  Whatever your approach, all Rivals players are playing to improve their position on 3 major axes.

  1. XP Farmers – Every song you play will earn your Crew XP, regardless of what difficulty you play on or how good you do. To maximize your XP, you will want to look out for XP bonuses that apply to different songs, the most impactful of which is the Social Bonus.  If you play songs that other people in your crew have played, you get double XP.  XP is the easiest way to contribute – every crew needs a couple of XP Farmers who play regularly.
  2. Spotlight Specialists – Each weekly challenge has 3 specific songs that represent the theme of the challenge. A crew’s combined high scores across all instruments will determine their Spotlight contribution.   Your crew’s most skilled players will generally be your Spotlight Specialists, working to deliver the highest score they can on each instrument for each of these three songs.
  3. LP Hunters – Every song in the weekly challenge has a weekly leaderboard. Over the course of the challenge, players will play to improve their leaderboard standings – at the end of the challenge, a player’s standing is converted into LP.  LP Hunters are generally seeking out songs that *they* can do well on.

These categories are averaged together and compared against other crews.  It’s very simple – if you play well, you stand a good chance to move up to the next tier.

Rock Band Rivals: Claim your just reward!

Each season comes with a set of rewards that are exclusive to Rivals mode.   These assets reflect the wild creativity of the Harmonix art staff and are amongst the more far out options in the Rock Shop, the Rock Band character creator.  The higher your Crew’s tier at the end of the season, the juicier your reward haul.  It’s a nice incentive to compete, though the real fun is in the straightforward joy of connecting with music – that’s what makes Rock Band such a special experience in the first place.

So, if you consider yourself a music person, this is a great time to jump into the fray and band together with your newfound Crew mates and crush your rivals!