A guide for a better understanding of the ranking system, scoring, modifiers and more.
Written by TeknozFR
Big thanks to Flee for correcting some of my grammar mistakes and providing some extra information.
Disclaimer : This guide was made on February 7th, 2019. I will definitely keep it updated but some information can be inaccurate or missing. It was made to link people that want to understand better the ranking system and other aspects of the game and is totally not a full guide to understand the game and the rest surrounding it. Hopefully you find it useful!
Table of contents
Accuracy and Scoring
Score Multiplier :
Your score multiplier can be seen on the right, being surrounded by a outer ring. As said in the name, the multiplier has an effect on your score. You start the song with a multiplier of 1x and the outer ring shows the progression to the next multiplier. When you hit the note that brings you up to the next multiplier, that note is affected by the new multiplier and not the old one. The different multipliers are : 1x, 2x, 4x and 8x. Everytime you lose combo which involves missing a note, cutting in the wrong direction or the with the wrong saber, hitting a bomb or going through an obstacle, your multiplier will be cut in half.
Scoring well in Beat Saber isn’t as simple as keeping a high combo and not missing notes, it is also determined by your score per block. The maximum score possible to achieve while slicing a block is 110 (without counting the score multiplier). While cutting a block, you must achieve the correct swing angles and you must slice it in the center to achieve the best score for that cut. Here is how score is calculated for a cut :
60° follow through
cutting in half
This shows how important it is to do proper swings to get the right angles and the best score possible. Remember, it’s better to get a bad cut than a miss since a miss counts as 0 points and breaks your combo.
A common misconception in Beat Saber would be that most people think that the hitboxes for the notes are the the blocks themselves. While that used to be the case, the hitboxes have changed quite a few times through the different versions of the game and a lot of the pictures out there are mistaken. Here is an image showing the current hitbox. As you can see, the hitbox is pretty big and extends a lot on the sides and the front. With this information, it is recommended to hit with the tip of saber to maximize the angle and get the best cut possible.
A “Pro Modifier” is said to be added in a future update. The modifier would make the hitbox to the size of the block itself.
As we learned in the past section about scoring, you need to slice through the middle and cut the note in half to achieve that extra 10 points. Most people actually think that you need to cut vertically to achieve that perfect cut while it’s actually a misconception. As this image shows it, whether you cut vertically or diagonally, you simply need to slice it in half while going through the middle. Since the size of the note hitbox, it is pretty lenient with the direction of the cut so as long as you don’t miss, everything is possible ! Now go out there and get those perfect cuts !
Accuracy is shown on the left after enabling the Advanced HUD option in the Player Settings. Accuracy is shown by a percentage and a letter. Because accuracy is a percentage, the best “possible” accuracy is 100% or named a SSS. While such accuracy is practically impossible (since it would require no combo break and 110 cuts on every block), accuracy is still a great way to measure performance on a map and one’s ability to score properly and avoid missing notes. Accuracy is calculated using information such as the scores per hit, the score multiplier and the amount of miss. Here are a few examples of how accuracy is shown with letters :
Ranked / Unranked :
A lot of people (like I did) will spend dozens and dozens of hours without knowing the difference between ranked and unranked maps when they start. While a map being ranked doesn’t make it better for any reason, it’s great for new players to learn what the difference is, especially if they ever decide to try ranking up.
Ranked : A ranked map is assigned a certain difficulty level measured in stars (★) and is worth a certain amount of PP (performance points) for that difficulty. An amount of that PP can be earned by a player for completing the map. More PP will be rewarded for a player that got a higher accuracy. Ranked maps mostly respect criteria and are considered as “good maps”. They are the only way to climb the global leaderboard.
Unranked : An unranked map is any map that has been published on BeatSaver. It does not need to be actually possible to pass and maps can be made by anybody using a mapping editor like Mediocre Mapper by squeaksies. Also, it is not possible to know the difficulty level of an unranked map except by looking at the difficulty name which is not always an accurate measure of the difficulty since the mapper chooses it.
Why are there still so many ranked maps that don’t respect many criteria?
This is a question that I see asked quite often so here is the explanation. When the ranking system started and maps started getting ranked, there were no criteria or Ranking Team in place to take care of verifying all of those maps for rankability. All the maps that got ranked were manually picked and didn’t need to respect any criteria. At that time, the game was still quite in an early stage and a lot of maps had experimental flow and patterns. This all happened during what we call ppv1, the first version of the algorithm and ranking system. Even with how far we’ve come since then and how many of those old maps are getting unranked, there is still a long way to go. In the meanwhile, if you find one of these maps, I recommend you to go on the ScoreSaber Discord and put it into the #unrank-requests with a list of the criteria that it doesn’t respect. Don’t worry, those old maps that don’t respect the criteria are all gonna get unranked, slowly but surely.
Criteria and the Ranking Process :
Since the ScoreSaber Discord Server has been created, a ranking team was put together to apply and enforce the ranking criteria that were created at about the same time. This now ensures the quality and rankability of new ranked maps which is a lot better then when maps were manually ranked without any specific guidelines. Also, old maps need to respect these criteria now so it leads to a lot of old ranked maps to be remapped or simply unranked. The process is quite simple, a member of the ranking team will put a map in a queue for it to be judged as to whether or not it should be unranked/ranked. Rankers will often take requests made on the Discord Server but not always. After that, there will be a period where other rankers will review that map and will often send a file to the mapper stating what needs to be changed for it to be rankable. Then, there will be a vote where all the members of the ranking team can choose to vote for or against the map being unranked or ranked and, if accepted, the request will be approved and put in action by an Admin such as Klouder or Umbranox.
Never forget to show your gratitude toward the ranking team if you ever see them as they spend a lot of their own personal time to do this work. They often get way too criticised for no reason so send them some love <3
The PP system is probably one of the most misunderstood things when it comes to ranking in the game. Personally, I find it that people misunderstand it so often that I ended up writing a message about it and pinned it on the Beat Saber Canadian Discord so I wouldn’t need to explain it anymore, so here is “all” you need to know about it.
How can I earn PP and how does the global ranking work?
You can find your global ranking on ScoreSaber by typing your username in the search bar. Your ScoreSaber profile is tied to your Steam/Oculus profile on which you play the game.
As said earlier, you can earn PP (performance points) by playing ranked maps. The amount of PP a map is worth is determined when the map is ran through a secret algorithm developed by Umbranox, the one and only Panda God. The algorithm is kept secret to prevent mappers from trying to intentionally make songs to only be worth a lot of PP (to avoid breaking the system basically). The exact amount of PP gained by a player is determined by their accuracy on that map and the curve it represents compared to the max amount of PP that map is worth (here is a spreadsheet by DuoVR to find out how much songs are worth).
How does the PP system work and what is weighted PP?
To prevent skilled players from grinding hundreds of easier maps worth less PP to rank up, a curve is applied to your plays. This curve is 0.965^(x-1) where x is the position of that score on your ranked map list which can be found on your profile.
You might have noticed that in your list, there are 2 numbers which end with PP. One of these numbers is blue and represents the raw amount of PP you get from that play, before the curve is applied. The second number is (grey) and shows the actual weighted amount of PP you are getting from that play after the curve is applied.
As said before, the amount of weighted PP you will receive is determined by the curve and the placement of that song in your list. As an example, if your top play is a 260 raw PP play, you will be rewarded 260 weighted PP which is a 100% of the raw PP of that play. If your second top play is 247 raw PP, you will be rewarded 238 weighted PP which is the actual amount of PP you get after the curve is applied on it. Here is a list of 4 of my old top plays where raw PP is in italic while weighted PP is bold to demonstrate the curve :
260 pp -> 260 pp
100% of raw PP
247 pp -> 238 pp
96.5% of raw PP
246 pp -> 229 pp
93.1% of raw PP
244 pp -> 219 pp
89.9% of raw PP
Why is my total PP not increasing as much as the weighted PP I got on my new score?
A common question people seem to have when they get a new score worth, for example, 100 weighted PP is why they are not getting +100 pp on their total amount of performance points. As explained earlier, since the effect of the curve on your plays increases the further you go down your list, when you make a new play, it takes the place of an older play which makes all the plays that are under go down 1 place in the list. Even if you are getting +100 pp from this new play, all your lower plays are weighed down even more then before so you lose a certain amount of PP on them. This is why when getting a new play or making a better play on a map, you will never (one exception) get the same amount of PP on your total amount of performance points.
The only exception to this is if you get a better accuracy on your current top play. Since your top play is not affected by the curve, meaning that none of your songs will change places in your list, there will be no lost of PP on your other plays. An example would be if your top play is on Avalanche with 250 pp and you manage to get a better accuracy and that play is now worth 260 pp, you will then get +10 pp on your total amount of PP.
Now that HumanMaxScore is gone, what is the static curve?
HumanMaxScore has been a feature present until February 15th. It served the purpose of making a curve for maps and how much PP you gain for a specific accuracy. Now that it’s gone, it was replaced by a static curve. This curve that you can see on the right is the curve applied on all maps. What this means is that if you get an accuracy of 82%, as an example, you will be rewarded 81% of the PP worth of that map, whichever map you are playing. What’s the purpose of such a curve? It fixes a few issues that were present in the past with the HumanMaxScore that needed to be updated. Also, as Umbranox said, it will make it easier to implement modifiers on all ranked maps.
Note : Due to the static curve, modifiers might be applied on all ranked maps very soon.
How can I improve and get more PP?
To improve and get a better rank in the global ranking, there are quite a few tools you can use to find ranked songs that fit your skill level. First, it’s always good to go see your own ScoreSaber profile to see songs that you haven’t played in a while or that you could improve on and to know what your top scores look like. Once you know that, you can go and use DuoVR’s spreadsheet to find songs that are worth about as much or more then your top scores and try to improve from there. Another tool that can be useful but mainly for players in higher ranks is the DuoVR PP Enhancement Tool that you can use to see the songs you haven’t played or that you could improve on and that could get you a lot of PP. For more precise tips and tricks, go refer to the Useful Tips & Links chapter.
Modifiers & Ranked Songs :
Since the v12.0p1 update, a lot of modifiers got added and some already existing ones have a different effect. When it comes to ranked maps, all the Negative Modifiers apply on the score. This means Negative Modifiers can be used on any ranked map but they will obviously penalise your score and reward less PP. As for the Positive Modifiers, they only take effect on two ranked maps as of now ; Overkill mapped by Nuketime and Overkill mapped by Kry. They are used to test the effects of Positive Modifiers on ranked maps and to find a way to integrate them on all the other ranked maps. You can obviously play any other map (including ranked ones) and the modifiers will all work but they will only increase your score and PP on the two versions of Overkill. If you use a Positive Modifier on a ranked map other then the two versions of Overkill, only your base score (score you would have gotten without modifiers) will submit. The modifiers used on any score on the leaderboards can be seen to the right of the score. With this said, here is a list of all the modifiers in the game, their effects on score and how they affect gameplay :
No Fail (-0.50)
Removes the health bar which makes it impossible to fail. Contrary to older versions of the game, No Fail will now submit scores on the leaderboard unless used on the Practice Mode.
No Obstacles (-0.05)
Removes all of the obstacles (walls) from the map.
No Bombs (-0.10)
Removes all of the bombs from the map.
Slower Song (-0.30)
Slows down the song to 85% of the original speed.
Insta Fail (0.00)
Makes you fail on the first miss you make.
Battery Energy (0.00)
Stops the health bar from replenishing. This limits the total amount of misses and bad cuts you can have before failing.
Disappearing Arrows (+0.02)
Makes the arrows disappear from the note as they approach you. You still need to remember the direction as you need to cut in the correct direction as always.
Note : This modifier is only worth +0.02 on ranked maps.
Faster Song (+0.08)
Speeds up the song to 120% of the original speed.
Why should I use a grip?
No matter what VR system you use, if you play on an HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or WMR, grips are always something important to consider as they can help a lot with improving as a player (especially for Vive players). When playing, the default grip can be totally enough to improve for a while but will later cause some issues when getting to songs with fast streams or jumps. For example, the Vive controllers are quite unbalanced and heavy so the regular grip needs a lot of force and arm movement to play stream patterns and could end up being painful and damaging for you. It is much better to use your wrists to play then your arms so this is why I recommend any player to find themselves a comfortable grip that they enjoy. You can even experiment and try to create a new grip! After all, that’s how the currently known grips were created in the first place. For inspiration, here is a pretty good list of Oculus and Vive grips made by Emperor of the Internet. This list is far from complete as many variants of all grips exist, but it is still pretty good and shows the most used and basic grips.
Tips & Tricks :
After all this time playing Beat Saber, I’ve hit many walls. Hitting a wall can be really annoying since it can take time to figure out what to do to keep improving. Here is a small list of tips to improve as a player.
While it sounds obvious, many players never try to improve and play harder maps and simply play the same maps over and over again. Extend your song list and push yourself to learn the things you are the worst at.
Don’t only play ranked
While ranked maps seem to be the way to go to improve, they aren’t always the best option. There are a ton of challenge maps that will push you to your limits and make you achieve things you never would have seen yourself do. Ranked songs are great to improve your rank but challenge maps are great to improve your skill.
Record yourself playing.
Recording yourself is great to see where you could improve, whichever it’s only your gameplay or it is with a webcam. Analyzing yourself play can be really useful to see your common mistakes.
Watch better players play and ask them tips
If you have an opportunity, try to watch better players and use some of their techniques to improve. Copying everything about a pro player won’t make you one but can surely help you improve. Also if you ever have the opportunity, always ask for tips (just don’t be annoying or disrespectful).
Don’t overthink it
If you can’t finish a map or can’t achieve a higher score, don’t overthink it. I made the mistake of getting angry over this way too many times and it will create a mental wall. Simply play another song and come back to it another day.
Practice hard patterns
Some patterns are common and some are hard and really specific. If you are struggling with the pattern in a certain map (for example, the complex streams of Kero 9 Destiny), I recommend practicing them by playing them on a slower speed using the practice mode. With this you can single out a pattern and learn it by heart.
At the end of the day, this is a game. The important part is that you have fun and enjoy playing it. If you hate playing this “one ranked map that sucks but is worth so much PP”, then simply don’t play it. Don’t try to force yourself to play songs you dislike and play however you want. It’s when you have fun that you’ll see the time fly by and you’ll improve the most. If you don’t care about rank, it’s all good, just have fun 🙂
- ScoreSaber : official website with the leaderboards for all the maps and the global ranking leaderboard
- ScoreSaber Discord : official ScoreSaber Discord to get informed about maps getting ranked or unranked, etc
- Ranking Criteria : all of the Ranking Criterias
- BeatSaver : to download custom songs
- Beat Saber Modding Group : to find help, information, plugins, custom sabers, etc.
- Mod Installer : to download the essential mods and plugins for the game and more
- DuoVR’s Spreadsheet : to find all the ranked maps and information (star difficulty, how much pp it’s worth, etc)
- DuoVR’s PP Farming : same list as the spreadsheet but with direct download links when clicking on the songs
- DuoVR’s PP Enhancement : to find the songs you need to play to get the most PP
- Cube Community’s video on Accuracy & Scoring : great video by Flee with information on accuracy and scoring
- 12/02/2019 : Fixed a few grammar mistakes and added extra information on the DA modifier. (Thanks Dovah & agoza <3)
- 13/02/2019 : Added extra information about modifiers and how only the base score is submitted when a Positive Modifier is used on a map other then the two Overkill’s. (Thanks to Ruze for asking the question and reminding me to include it)
- 14/02/2019 : Added an image and information about the hitbox when it comes to slicing in the center (to get that extra 10 points). (Thanks to Flee for providing me an image that I searched for a while)
- 15/02/2019 : (Lots of new stuff since changes were made on the PP system) DA is now worth +0.02, HumanMaxScore has completely been removed and replaced by a static curve applied on all maps. For more details, the full explanation is in the Ranking System (PP system) section.
- 17/02/2019 : Fixed a few grammar mistakes again. (Thanks SimplyAzuma & Hoshikuzuhime a.k.a. Miki)
- 19/02/2019 : Wrong names were assigned for grip pictures, fixed that. (Thanks Moppy)
- 04/03/2019 : Finished a French version of the guide for all my friends from the French Community.
- 06/03/2019 : Added a paragraph about old unrankable songs that are still ranked from ppv1 in the Ranking Process section. (Thanks to Uninstaller for giving me the idea to add this information)