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Guitar Hero Live: How to rank higher in GHTV online matches

Are you a guitar god earning 100% on every GHTV song and still missing that podium finish? We're here to help.

There are a variety of ways to earn extra points in Guitar Hero Live's online player-versus-player music video mode GHTV. From guitar setup to difficulty setting, everything affects your total score at the end of a song.

Unfortunately, because of this, many players can find it tricky to finish in the top three, even when they are better than their opponents. In this guide we'll be covering the multiple ways that you can improve your GHTV score and earn that podium finish. Step-by-step we'll walk through the simplest to the most diverse topics. 

Game Proficiency

The first thing you should ask yourself if you aren't placing is: "Am I good at Guitar Hero?" There are a multitude of ways to become proficient at shredding the plastic. Check out GameSkinny's complete guide on how to get better at Guitar Hero Live for an in-depth guide on the topic.

As for a very brief look, there are six major methods that you should attempt to get better at the game:

  • Practice, practice, practice. 
  • Learn some basic musical theory (time signatures, keeping a beat).
  • Train hand-eye coordination.
  • Learn the music you'll be playing.
  • Master the more advanced Guitar Hero tactics (hammer-ons, pull-offs).
  • Enjoy yourself.

Once you have practiced enough, learned the music you'll be playing as well as how to keep the beat of that music, trained your hand-eye coordination to a degree of comfort, know how to smash hammer-ons, pull-offs, and other special notes, and you're having fun, you'll be good at Guitar Hero, and can rule out this suspect for why you aren't placing in online matches.

Difficulty

I hope this doesn't come as a surprise but, harder difficulties have more notes. It's the way of the world. The harder the Guitar Hero difficulty, generally the more notes, the faster the track, the more hammer-ons and pull-offs, and the more score per note hit. 

Obviously the next piece of advice for placing in online GHTV matches is to play on the highest difficulty. There are very few players on GHTV playing on Regular or lower difficulty. Most players that take their trip online do so in a "I'm about to kick some ass" fashion. Other players are generally pretty good and will be playing on Expert or at least Advanced difficulty. 

Your best bet is to play Expert. If you can handle it. If you aren't good enough at Guitar Hero to play on Expert, rely on some of the other tactics you'll find in this guide, and you still have the opportunity to place in the top three. 

How to Change GHTV Difficulty

Changing the difficulty on GHTV is trickier than it needs be. The game never actually tells you what difficulty you're on and there is no logical place to change it. You'll need to head over to the Live portion of the game and enter Quickplay. Inside you can change the difficulty that you wish to play on and head back to GHTV to a changed game. 

For more information on this topic, check out the full article on how to change GHTV difficulty settings

Streaking

A note streak can make or break your final score. That 4x score multiplier isn't just for show, it really does give you four times the score for every note you hit. 

This might be the simplest way that you are missing out on a podium finish. Even if you hit 99% of the notes in a song, if you screwed up at just the right spot, while your opponents didn't and proceeded to shred at 4x or more, it can be the end. 

There is no real strategy for combating the unfortunate occurrence of screwing up a note streak and a multiplier. Just keep working away at it and you'll eventually start smashing those tricky parts and earning better multipliers.

Sustained Notes

Holding sustained notes for longer can result in more score. There are instances where the final note in a song can be sustained and the player in first drops it by accident; sometimes another player can take his place by holding the note.

It may seem like a long shot, but always hold any sustained notes for as long as you can. You never know how many points ahead of you (or behind you) the other players are.

Hero Power

There are seven "Hero Powers" in Guitar Hero Live. The type of power you use, combined with when you use them can greatly affect your overall score at the end of a song. Most Hero Powers require the player to be a certain level to unlock them and even then, you'll need to spend in-game currency to refill them once they run out. Some powers are much more valuable than others.

Clear Highway

This power is available from the get-go and comes in unlimited quantities. This is why Clear Highway is so valuable. I personally use this power exclusively (mostly because I'm cheap and want to save my coin for Guitar Upgrades, which we'll talk about later).

Clear Highway will instantly eradicate any notes currently on the track. Pretty straightforward. It can be very helpful for tricky sections where you aren't comfortable with the notes. 

Dial Up

Arguably the worst power for professional players, Dial Up will increase the difficulty of the song for a short time. Regardless of if it increases the difficulty past Expert or not, it isn't useful for an Expert player. If increased past Expert, the notes may give extra score, but the track would be ridiculously difficult to play. 

Therefore, this power is made specifically for lower-level players who find themselves playing an extremely easy portion of a song. Generally, chorus segments are tedious, repetitive, and a bit bland, so they make for a great spot to use this power in. Upgrading difficulty could net a player on Advanced just enough points to take the lead, but don't count on it.

Dial Down

Dial Up's more sensible brother, Dial Down will decrease the difficulty of the song for a short time. When used in particular areas this Hero Power can be extremely, extremely useful.

While playing on Expert, most players will come across mind melting solos. Simply impossible ridiculousness that seems like a toddler broke into the studio during the programming of that song and mashed buttons, and the guys at Freestyle just went with it. This is the exact instance where a player that isn't super comfortable with Expert solos could use the Dial Down ability. While everyone else struggles through an Expert solo, you can breeze by on an Advanced solo.

Safety Net

The Safety Net Hero Power lets players keep their score multiplier and note streak, even if they screw up. Definitely one of the best powers available, this one is a force to be reckoned with. The trick to using this power is using it on a hard part that follows an easy part. For example, a bridge often follows a chorus and has a strange rhythm or notes not previously seen in the song. 

Invincibility

Invincibility is essentially Clear Highway on steroids. Granting the user a brief section of auto-hit notes and canceled bad inputs. It's really unnecessary. Rather than a free-bee you'll need to spend coins to get more Invincibility uses. The benefit of Invincibility over Clear Highway is the anti-bad inputs. If you strum by accident, it won't register, whereas with Clear Highway it will. 

Double Multiplier

This power will instantly give you a multiplier twice the amount of what you currently have. This can be great if you are at your maximum multiplier. Another great use for it is directly after an error. Instead of waiting for your multiplier to slowly stack up again, you can instantly improve it, getting back in the game sooner. This is a great Hero Power for any type of player.

Score Chaser

The final Hero Power you can unlock is a fairly valuable one if you know you are good at the game. Score Chaser will double your maximum multiplier, potentially giving you fourteen times score for each note hit. Make sure you're playing a part that you're comfortable with or this power won't be beneficial to you!

Guitar Upgrades

The final and most important tip I have for ranking highly in online GHTV matches is upgrading your guitar. There are four ways to upgrade your guitar, all of which are extremely important. 

Each upgrade will cost a ton of coins and it will take an absurdly long time to max out each statistic. For this reason, I suggest purchasing them evenly.

Hero Sections

The first ability is the least helpful. This upgrade will set more Hero Power spots into your songs so you can, obviously, use Hero Powers more often.

It's not as useful as the others for standard gameplay if you know what you're doing, though it is the gateway perk to completing a trophy/achievement challenge.

Base Score

This ability will increase the base score of every single note you hit. This will increase your final score, though it won't be as useful as you think. You'll find that the real score starts to build up with a multiplier. That's why the major focus should be on the next two skills, with this one coming in third.

Max Multiplier

To use this ability to its fullest potential, you'll need to master streaking. With a larger maximum multiplier you'll be able to earn up to seven times score for every note you hit. It's worth investing your first purchase or two into this ability. 

Multiplier Speed

In my humble opinion, this is the best guitar upgrade of them all, allowing the player to earn their multipliers faster. That means double score faster, triple score faster, quadruple score faster. If you and another player screw up in the same instance, you will be back on top of your multipliers before they are and could take the lead. 

Conclusion

Depending on your unique skillset and playstyle, you need to pick the upgrades and powers that are right for you. I personally recommend the original Hero Power: Clear Highway, though Safety Net is a second favorite. As for upgrades, stick with the Multiplier increases first, but increase all skills evenly. 

Other than that, work on your skill, start playing on Expert, learn to rock those streaks, and sustain those long notes as much as you can.

In the end it could come down to the fact that there are some really great Guitar Hero players out there that you'll never beat. Enjoy yourself and don't try to worry about coming in first every single time, and you'll find that you might start to do just that!

Published Dec. 2nd 2015

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