Oct 222010
Rock Band DLC

Rock Band 3 is mere days away. Are you ready? The DLC is coming.

As I mentioned last week, the first round of DLC for the new game has been much talked about and isn’t a surprise at this point: Alongside the 83 disc songs for Rock Band 3 will be a 12-pack of The Doors.

But I’m not going there just yet. First I want to take the time to talk about Rock Band DLC going forward. Because there are a lot of important things about it that you may not know if you don’t sort of obsessively follow everything Harmonix says like some people who write on this blog.

Here’s the important stuff:

  • Starting next week, new Rock Band DLC will not be backwards compatible. From the 26th onward, all new songs released for Rock Band will only be playable in Rock Band 3. Up to this point, any new song that was released could be played in either Rock Band 1 or 2. With the addition of vocal harmonies and keyboards, the new songs are no longer compatible with older versions of the game. That said, the DLC you’ve already bought (or imported) will not suddenly stop working; you can keep playing RB1/RB2 and that second week Bowie pack from 2007 will still play fine. But if you want the new stuff, you’ve gotta go to Rock Band 3.

  • The exception: Rock Band Network. For the moment, new RBN songs will continue to be playable in RB2. Note however that RBN 2.0 is around the corner (I believe it’s projected that 2.0 songs will begin emerging in Q1 2011), which will allow charting of keys and harmonies. I think it would be a safe bet to say that once 2.0 drops, new RBN content will also become RB3-only.

  • The pricing will remain the same. The usual standard of $2/160 MS points will remain for new songs. Those new songs will include vocal harmonies and keyboards charted in, where applicable, at no additional charge. What’s more, new DLC will also by default include pro-keys and pro-drums charting. Which leads us to …

  • There will be a premium for pro-guitar and pro-bass charts. Given the labour-intensive nature of charting pro-guitar (I believe Drake said at PAX that pro-guitar charting for a single song takes considerably longer than creating every other chart for that song), the higher price point of entry to play the pro-g&b charts (necessitating the purchase of either the 102-button Mustang or the real-deal Squier), and the relatively low portion of the game’s audience with both the interest and the wallet to make the jump, charging extra for those pro charts makes good sense to me – and I say that as someone who cannot wait to get her hands on the Squier. Not only does it ensure Harmonix can make some profit back on their time/energy investment but it keeps the general DLC-buying population from a price hike (which, let’s face it, would go over like an infamous lead zeppelin), particularly when they’d be paying extra for something most of them would never want to use.

    The price will be $1, and that will include both the pro-guitar and pro-bass chart for all four difficulty levels (easy to expert).

    There’s been no indication as yet about which tracks will be pro-g&b charted, but it almost certainly will not be all of them. I’m going to guess that HMX will preemptively chart those that they feel will be the most popular/higher-selling, and have those available on that DLC’s release. From there, they may gauge fan reaction/demand to go back and create pro-g&b charts for other songs, but that’s just me openly theorizing now. A great benefit to this premium system for pro-guitar and bass is that they have the freedom to go back and release “new” DLC for older songs any time … from their entire catalogue. Pro-guitar for “World Turning”? Yes please.

That’s pretty much the info you need to know about how DLC is going to work going forward. Probably the only part that could potentially cause any problem is from those who don’t want to “upgrade” to RB3, but I figure most people who would balk at having to buy a new game are probably not buying all that much DLC anyway, so I’m not sure how impacting it will really be.

Plus, have you seen Rock Band 3? It’s fuckin’ sweet, seriously. Get this game.

Right! The Doors. Well here’s where I lose some music cred because I gotta come clean here.

I don’t like The Doors.

Seriously. Don’t like.

We’re bordering on “hate” here.

“Riders on the Storm”? I loathe that song more than I loathe any other song that wasn’t released by System of a Down.

So of course “Riders on the Storm” is free next week.


But there are lots of folks really stoked about The Doors, and my personal tastes aside, I can see why. They’re a classic band that helped define music both in their time and in the decades after. And hell, even I have to admit that the keys sound pretty incredible and a lot of fun to play in some of those songs.

What’s more, did I mention free? Because there’s some freeness going on here.

During the first week of Rock Band 3’s release – meaning from 26 October to 1 November – you can download three songs (plus pro-guitar and pro-bass charts) by The Doors for free. Here’s the catch: You can only get them for free if you download them through RB3’s in-game music store. Translation: You have to have bought (or have access to) RB3 at release to get them free. From 3 November onward they’ll still be available of course, you’ll just have to buy ’em.

On to the songs themselves. I’m not going to go in-depth with them; as previously stated, I don’t like them, and my lack of like is all that’s going to come through. If you’re on the fence then you don’t need my bias swaying you. Go listen and decide for yourself.

Light My Fire” (Free from Oct. 26 – Nov. 1 in game, features Pro Guitar and Pro Bass)
Riders on the Storm” (Free from Oct. 26 – Nov. 1 in game, features Pro Guitar and Pro Bass)
Touch Me” (Free from Oct. 26 – Nov. 1 in game, features Pro Guitar and Pro Bass)
Hello, I Love You
L.A. Woman
Love Her Madly
Love Me Two Times
Peace Frog
People Are Strange
Roadhouse Blues
Soul Kitchen
The Crystal Ship

My dislike not being the sole deciding factor in my household’s DLC purchasing decisions, there will indeed be some Doors added to our library. Though you can bet your ass I’ll be one-lightering “Storm” immediately.

  • http://alessar.livejournal.com Matt

    There is only one way I can handle the Doors. That is with a thorough dose of Blondie on top of it.

    • Jet Wolf

      Blondie makes everything better. Put Blondie on some liver and it’d be the best meal ever.