ScoreSaber QAT Guidelines


The goal of the QAT is to provide effective, fair feedback to mappers with the aim of curating the highest quality standard of maps in the ranked pool. While the goal is to provide objective feedback, there is no avoiding the fact that this job is subjective. Every person will hear something different in a song, and every person will feel differently about how well patterns play. To operate as a team, these guidelines list out what QAT members should consider for a map to be “quality”.

Refer to this document when providing feedback on maps, and reach out to the team when you are unsure about a difficult decision.

QAT Behavior

As a member of the QAT, your actions represent the QAT and ScoreSaber as a whole. You are expected to carry yourself with respect and empathy when publicly interacting with the ranked system. Not only does kind, responsible behavior reflect well on yourself and the team- it also is far more effective at creating healthy change in a map.

It must be clear to mappers that it is “Us vs. the map’s problems”, and not “Me vs. You”.

Our goal is to help mappers see the best version of their map.

This can only be done with active, direct communication with the mappers themselves. Leaving a comment and waiting for the mapper to see it and respond through #comment-response is not effective.

On the other hand, it is not the responsibility of the QAT to do the mapping for them.

QAT members can provide feedback and discuss with mappers all they want, but ultimately the mapper is the author of their work. Their solution may not be what you would choose, though it should at least improve their work. If a mapper consistently and intentionally ignores feedback, QAT downvotes serve as the consequence.

Phrasing is important for communication. The way a message is phrased can play a big role in how defensive or receptive a mapper is to your feedback. Identifying things you enjoy helps remind the mapper you are on their side. There are times for gentle suggestions, and times that call for stern feedback. For any case, remember to only criticise the work and not the mapper. Here are examples of well-phrased feedback:

  • “Beat 120-121.5 plays poorly at this speed because of the sharp angle changes. You should slow down how aggressive angles change here when dealing with this speed.”

  • “0:30 - 0:40 in the song is less energetic than 0:40 on, but it has bigger swings due to it being on the ground. I suggest using middle-row up notes to keep the energy low.”

  • “The hit at 367.25 is an extreme playability issue. At best it’s hitbox abuse, at worst it’s a handclap. This needs a less extreme swing.”

  • “The pattern at 80 is awesome, and the section after it at 84 could use some more energy. Maybe think about repeating the pattern there to give 84 more life”

Objective qualities

Nothing about mapping is truly “objective” other than things explicitly detailed in the ranking criteria- i.e. being on-time. However, there are things that are almost always better to fix than to keep.

  • Mappers must be able to justify the intensity of patterns relative to each other within the map. A map’s intensity should represent the music.

  • Rhythm choices must be logical and consistent. Changes in mapped rhythm must have intent and musical justification.

  • Patterns must be reasonably connected to the song and context of the map. Cases where individual patterns are very different from the rest of the map must make sense.

  • Lower difficulties must reasonably reduce the challenge of the map while maintaining a creative identity. Lower difficulties should not be a passing thought to make the top difficulty rankable.

  • Patterns must be readable. Vision blocking should always be balanced with context and intent.

Objective issues should be strongly defended. Objective issues should be mostly independent of the creative identity of a map- there should be ways for mappers to maintain their vision of their work while improving the objective quality of the map. Ranked maps should be reasonable to grind and replay while shooting for a high score; compromises must be made for challenging maps to be ranked. Objective issues should be raised without including “I”, or similar personal language.

Subjective qualities

Mapping is an art form- an expression of what the mapper sees in the music in the form of a Beat Saber level. Things that make a map unique are what mappers will fight to keep most. When treading into subjective territories, be sure to understand the identity of the map: What makes this map unique?

  • Patterns should be fair and playable. Extreme reaches and angles should be reasonable to play for the map’s speed, and match the intensity of the music.

  • A map should flow as well as the music justifies. Erratic music can fit an erratic map with unpredictable flow, but playability cannot be sacrificed.

  • A map should have a reasonable difficulty curve that makes for a fair level. Spikes in difficulty should be clearly connected to musical intensity.

  • A map should clearly show effort. Visibly lazy/low effort content should not be tolerated. On the other hand, not every song fits complexity- some songs can reasonably connect to a simple map.

Subjective issues should be discussed with an open mind. Individuals may have different opinions about what “plays well”. Understand that subjective issues may be entirely dismissed by mappers if it conflicts with their own understanding of mapping. Use your judgement on the severity of these issues when it comes to discussions. Subjective issues may be mentioned including “I” and similar personal language.

Mapper’s vision

Every person hears something different in music, and therefore, every person will see a different map as “fitting” of a song. There may be patterns that look uncomfortable or poorly flowing, but it is possible this is a deliberate choice made by the mapper. Concepts like this should be repeated, identifiable, and thematic. Before suggesting changes to unusual patterns, first think if there is a concept the mapper is trying to convey with those patterns. If they are repeated, identifiable, and thematic- there’s a good chance that it is a deliberate choice made by the mapper and that removing them would be to remove the core idea of the map.

Big Picture vs Detail-focused

Feedback can take the form of generalized advice about the map’s direction, or focus on specifics of individual patterns. Both forms are legitimate and valuable feedback to provide, but keep in mind that:

  • Generalized feedback provides the mapper freedom to change things while remaining in their own creative vision.

  • Generalized feedback should still describe a direction for the mapper to take. “0-end remap” leaves the mapper with no direction to follow, and provides no constructive feedback. *

  • Generalized feedback is less likely to lead to the exact changes you would choose yourself.

  • Generalized feedback can be frustrating for mappers to deal with if the feedback is very negative.

  • Generalized feedback can be difficult for mappers who struggle with english.

  • Specific feedback provides the mapper small, exact changes that improve the map’s quality.

  • Specific feedback should give the mapper options, rather than providing one “correct choice”. **

  • Specific feedback is most effective when the mapper handles the list of feedback as a checklist. If you run into problems of mappers skipping comments, suggest they tell why points are skipped.

  • Specific feedback should explain why there is a problem, not just state that there is a problem.

  • Specific feedback can make mappers feel less ownership of their work.

  • Specific feedback often repeats itself. Depending on the severity of the issue it is reasonable to mention every case that needs fixing, or just the first few and mention that the problem repeats.

    • An example of direction for generalized feedback would be:
      “The map struggles to control width throughout the song. Identify which parts of the song you want to be more intense, and save wide patterns for these sections.”
    • An example of providing options rather than absolute choices would be:
      “The hit at 221 will play poorly at this speed due to the sharp angle the swings make. Consider making the angle red swings at more gentle. This could be from making 221’s red diagonal, or making 220.5’s red horizontal.” (This level of detail is not necessary for experienced mappers)

No matter what the feedback is, it must be clearly communicated why you have downvoted and what fixes are needed to have the downvote removed.

Identifying your strengths

No one is expected to be a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to skill. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses when it comes to performance, and the same is true for mapping. There is no harm in skipping a map because you are not comfortable commenting on a map of that category (i.e. downmaps, high bpm, etc.).

There can be harm in upvoting a difficulty when you do not feel confident in your ability to judge its quality- both for maps too difficult or too easy for your skill level. Feel welcome to ask fellow team members for their opinions/insights on content that you do not feel experienced with; it is possible to learn what plays well for any skill level, even outside your own.

Other Resources

Here are some links to interesting videos on the topic of mapping (in osu!, but still relates): in new window - Good vs Fun (Very relevant) in new window - Variety in new window - Expectations & Context in new window - Emphasis & Managing Energy