So, there's a bit of a difference between "tiers" and "difficulty numbers".
Internally, each song has a difficulty number for each instrument, as well as a "band" difficulty. For example, "Conventional Lover" is 235 on bass, 219 on guitar, 193 on vocals, 191 on drums, and 236 on band. These scales are different for each instrument, but it's not uncommon to see a scale range from 100 to around 500+.
For tiers: We assign these numbers to all the songs on the disc. Then, the tiers are determined by splitting up the songs on disc evenly into 7 tiers based on those numbers! For example: "One Step Closer" is #12 for bass at 165, and "Let There Be Rock" is #13 for bass at 171, but since 84/7 = 12, LTBR becomes the first song in the second tier.
"Well, what about those numbers? How are they determined?" I hear you pre-typing. There's a different process for disc songs compared to DLC songs:
For the disc songs, it was the design team's job to balance the songs. Sylvain, Casey and myself (with guest stars 100% GS guitarist Grace and expert vocalist HMXJohnlok) usually locked ourselves in a room for hours and argued about relative difficulties. Yes, that does mean we've played the Endless Setlist multiple times for the sake of work. For DLC songs, these are handled by the audio team. They go through and try to figure out how difficult a song is compared to songs on the disc, and assign appropriate numbers.
Some songs are hard to assign numbers for band ratings. Take "Let There Be Rock" - hard guitar, but dead simple bass. When this happens, we tend to trend towards the most used instruments (guitar, then drums, then vox, then bass) when laying down a number, as well as some personal fudge based on where we feel the song should lie.
The basic summary is that it's a blend of science and gut, based on the other songs we've released. Sure, I think we've been a little off the mark on a couple of songs, but I think the vast majority available on the platform (500 songs by the end of the year!) fit a nice balanced curve.
Monday, November 10, 2008
(rockband.com forums) On Tiering/Difficulty Numbers
(from the forums, regarding how we come up with our song tiering and difficulty ratings)