Rock Band 2 Uber-deluxe Kit
Monday, July 14, 2008 | Author: Mad Typist
Via a post from my friend, Mr. Snuts, over at his new blog, Rock Band 2 is going to have an improved drum kit. But what's really interesting is that players will have the option of buying an uber-deluxe version of the drum kit.

Via Joystiq:
While $300 may sound steep (soon, you could get a whole 'nother Xbox 360 for that price), Ion sounds like they've gone to great lengths to make sure serious virtual drummers get their money's worth. According to the site, the four high-durability, quiet, velocity-sensitive pads can be mounted and rearranged in any position and even outfitted with "professional drum brains" from Alesis. Add in a metal-reinforced kick pedal (with velcro and spikes to prevent slippage) and two packaged, mountable cymbals (with the option to add a third) and you've got what's unquestionably the Rolls Royce of drum controllers.
Interesting. I have a couple of problems with this whole thing, though.

First, I have always felt that the game is already "too real" when it comes to the drum set. For me, the joy of games like Rock Band is to allow non-musicians to enjoy the sensation of "rocking out", the illusion of rock stardom that normal folks don't get to enjoy. I'm never going to play like Jimi Hendrix in real life, so the chance to angle my guitar vertical and jam out to one of his solos on my little plastic guitar entertains me to no end. But as a real life drummer (I've played since 4th grade and have been in several bands), let me tell you: if you can play Expert on the drum kit, you can play the drums in real life. And to me, that's not the point of this game. It's not supposed to be a drum trainer. Making an even more realistic drum kit is just going to make it that much harder for non-musicians to enjoy the game.

I host regular Rock Band sessions at my house with my boyfriend. And let me tell you - the drum kit more than anything completely throws off our casual gamer friends. Even on "Easy" mode, it's a bit much, with all the drum heads and foot pedal being used right away. Contrast that to Easy on the guitar, which only utilizes 3 of the fret buttons (only occasionally incorporating the fourth blue button).

Second, as a real drummer, I don't want to play the exact drum part. The designers of the game were almost insanely compulsive about replicating every fill (even the little cymbal grace notes at the end of "Wanted Dead or Alive"), but that makes it un-fun for me. I like to add my own fills, etc, when I'm playing at a "pro" level. The way it is now, I feel like I'm practicing. And if I'm going to practice, I will do so with my real drum kit (for those interested, I currently rock a Roland TD-6SW set, pictured on the right, which I really like).

Third, at $299 without the brain, you're basically buying a real electronic kit, since the brain is where the bulk of the cost goes, so I'd imagine it's going to run you a total over over $500 by the time you add the brain. If they insist on replicating a real drum kit, why not focus on just adding a MIDI adapter so that people can buy the electronic kit they want and plug it in? Then I can have the benefit of using my own set, instead of adding a THIRD drum kit to the house. Note that the drum kit proposed above is still inferior to the real thing solely on the crappy bass drum pedal, which keeps me from being able to jam along as I desire.

All in all, I don't care for the direction of this game, hardware-wise. I resent dropping $180 on the first iteration, just for them to release a better version of the hardware (all instruments will now be wireless and actually WORK, and yes, I'm looking at YOU, version 1 of the guitar that I had to send back when it crapped out). What the hell am I supposed to do? Keep playing with the lousy set, or pay Harmonix another $150 of my hard earned cash to upgrade my peripherals? And what would I do with the version 1 instruments? Arrgh.
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On 2:26 PM , Mr. Snuts!* said...

By all means with the money i'll be putting into the fake drum set, I should just buy a real one..I have no real argument for that..other then how will I then rock out with all of my friends on Rock Band? One of the main things I love about Rock Band is the entertaining of the fact that you could play an instrument. I play Drums on expert, yes(I in fact have a video of it)..but I hadn't thought of playing drums really since I was a wee lad of 9 or 10. Now I am actually debating maybe drumming.

On 9:11 AM , Mad Typist said...

I do think it's awesome that you are considering getting into real drumming because of the game. I suppose my grief with the game is that you can learn to play one instrument only - the drums. The other instruments (singing, bass, guitar) cannot be learned via the game, so it feels a little weird that the game is trying be both a drum trainer and a regular rhythm game.

However, if you do want to get serious with drumming, consider taking a few lessons and getting yourself a proper kit, not the crappy Ion one RB is trying to push.