Leap Frog Interview With K4rn4ge

By Dave Horobin, 20 days ago
This year's Leap Frog contest ended a few weeks ago. Like last year, we thought it would be interesting to hear from the final three participants about what it took to make it into the final week of the contest, how they planned ahead and, most importantly, about the men behind the Gamertags. First up this year is K4rn4ge, who finished as joint runner-up.

Leap Frog

I think a lot of people have the misconception that the only way that you could get as far as you did in Leap Frog is if you’re single, have no kids and have minimal work commitments. Can you give us some insight into your personal life?

Sure. I was working at a full-time office job but resigned in early August so I could focus full-time on Leap Frog – KIDDING! I did resign but obviously not because of Leap Frog – that would be downright ludicrous. The conditions at my last job were not favorable and I'd been looking to find something better regardless. As far as relationships go, I was in a long term relationship with my girlfriend of 4 years but last year we both decided to break it off and go down different paths. Recently, I've been getting back into the dating scene again. Coincidentally, I did get some extra free time for Leap Frog which I took advantage of, but I didn't let Leap Frog control my life.

How long did you normally spend gaming per day prior to Leap Frog? How did this change throughout Leap Frog, especially in the final weeks?

As I mentioned before, I was working full-time for the majority of the competition so I only had about 4-5 hours of game time Mondays – Thursdays. On Fridays – Sundays, I would usually spend anywhere from 8 to 12 hours gaming. In the final weeks of the tournament, and especially on weekends, I found myself sometimes gaming up to 15 hours a day.
When you entered Leap Frog how long were you anticipating it to last and, if you’d have known it would have gone as long as it did, would you still have entered?

Going into Leap Frog, I never thought I would make it as far as I did. Especially after the rules were changed from the first Leap Frog competition, I thought for sure that it would only last a few weeks. Obviously, my expectations, along with many others, were way off. If I would have known that it would have lasted this long, I still would have entered. I always enjoy a challenge and the competition helped motivate me further to aim for tougher and grindier achievements.
Did you have to spend much time on planning ahead for which achievements you could earn?

For most of the initial weeks, I didn't really plan ahead; partly due to time constraints and partly due to not realizing the competition would go on as long as it did. I own so many games that it was never an issue to find an achievement with a high enough ratio in the early periods. I mean, my games played count on TA is only 1854 right now ;) However, in all seriousness and as far as the later periods of the competition go, I needed to “pre-load” achievements and plan ahead. I would always try to have some backups and keep building up as many of these up as possible. In fact, this was pretty much required for anyone in the final periods. On the bright side, there was a game that gave us ample time to gather more backup achievements, and that game is SMITE. Every two weeks they add new achievements along with a new title update. Since the game and the title updates are free, the ratios for the new achievements were heavily inflated. Most of these took mere minutes so what I would do is get just one of the new SMITE achievements and then make progress in a different game.

Did you suffer burn out at any point during the competition and, if so, what kept you going?

Towards the end of the competition I did get burned out a bit because the competition felt like it was just dragging on too long. Around this timeframe, two new free-to-play games released: Lies of Astaroth and Prominence Poker. Both have a lot of grindy achievements. I'm no stranger to grindy achievements or mundane boosting but it wore me out having to do so much grinding in a small window of time. It became less about challenge and more about endurance. However, I managed to pull through and used the majority of the achievements in Prominence Poker and some of the achievements in Lies of Astaroth for Leap Frog. What kept me going was the support from my best real life friend Crickett2814 as well as the support from many of my friends on TA.
Are there any games that you started purely for Leap Frog that you would have never started otherwise? If so, which ones?

In short, no. My completion percentage pretty much answers that question anyway wink That said, I do enjoy completing games but I never let that stop me from starting a new game.
With the competition now over, are you missing the daily challenge and do you think that your gaming habits will change in the immediate future?

Yes and no. I do miss the daily challenge of getting a valid Leap Frog achievement each day but to an extent. As I mentioned earlier, I enjoyed the challenge of getting the difficult skill based achievements but not the grindy or luck based ones. As far as my gaming habits go, I plan on entering the Ultimate Head to Head 2 competition and I am still in the individual GTASC so my gaming habits are adapting to these.

What sacrifices did you have to make and do you feel it was worth it now that the competition is over?

The only sacrifice I occasionally made was losing a few hours of sleep in place of some extra game time. I'm on the east coast and the site ratios recalculate somewhere between 1:30 and 2:00 A.M. This played an integral part in the later periods because sometimes the ratio of an achievement wouldn't be valid until the recalculation and each period ended at 5:00 A.M. This interfered with my sleep schedule but it was definitely worth it in the long run. Admittedly, if I didn't stay up late on a few occasions, I would have been eliminated sooner. An extra cup of coffee in the morning came to the rescue and looking back, I don't regret it.
Did you prefer this year’s format over last year?

I preferred this year's format over last year's because it was a clear and concise goal each day of having to focus on just one achievement instead of an increasing number of achievements every day. Another reason I preferred the format from this year is that it seemed like much less time was involved.
If you could choose the rules for next year’s Leap Frog event, what would they be?

If I could create the rules for next year's Leap Frog event, they would probably be as follows: Have everything the same as this year's Leap Frog except new games, DLC and title updates have to be available to the public for at least 2 weeks for them to be valid. This would also give the ratios time to settle and see the “true” ratio rather than an inflated one just because it's brand new. Also, the ratio should increase by 0.2 just like this year's but at every whole number, add an additional achievement that you would have to earn. For instance, the periods where you need 0.2 through 1.8 you only need one achievement that is a 1.8 ratio or higher. However, during the period that has a 2.0 ratio, you would need to get two 2.0 or higher achievements. 3.0, three 3.0 or higher achievements, and so on. I believe that these changes would make the competition shorter and fairer.
You decided along with ORIGENxGarboMan to retire from the contest during scoring period 117. What was the reason behind this? How much longer do you think you could have carried on if you had continued?

Strap yourselves in folks, this one's gonna be a long ride! It all started with me popping a valid Leap Frog achievement in the Killer Instinct Shadow Lords title update which had recently appeared on TA at the time. Only a very small number of people had super early access to it and most were Microsoft employees or Killer Instinct content creator superfans and such. They did have an official early access registration form that later let many more people into the Shadow Lords preview but it still wasn't as early as the initial wave. Not to brag but I was one of the initial people who got an invite since I have some close friends who work at MS. I also help out as a moderator on the Microsoft Studios Twitch channel and as an Xbox Ambassador. So the way I looked at it was that early access was a perk for these things so why not take advantage of it?

I knew that this Shadow Lords title update had insanely inflated ratios but I played it anyway and popped one achievement. It was a whopping 93.77 ratio at the time and I only needed a 23.60 ratio to survive that day. At first I was relieved to be safe for the day but shortly after getting the achievement, I began to regret using that title update. I did feel that I now had an unfair advantage over my competitors since they didn't have this special access to Shadow Lords. Even though using this was completely legit according to TA rules, I still felt weird about it. I knew that if I wanted to continue the competition, I would want to do it honorably and not use Shadow Lords. Thus I made sure to get another valid achievement that same day just to prove that I got through that day safely without relying on Shadow Lords. I used this achievement which at the time had a 33.93 ratio:

BattlebornSergeant DemobirdThe Sergeant Demobird achievement in Battleborn worth 93 pointsComplete all Ernest lore challenges.

I continued to make it through several more days before exhausting most of my backup achievements (not including Shadow Lords achievements which I vowed not to use). The competition was dragging on and we were all given a proposal by Rich to have the remaining five of us tie and split the winnings. Most of us agreed, including myself but unfortunately not everyone did so the competition continued on normally. It was at this point where SpiralGamerpro and MidniteDLITE decided to resign. After that, it was down to me, Garbo and infamous. I knew that Garbo had way more pre-loaded achievements than I did and Infamous seemingly had more than both of us still. That is when Garbo and I got in party chat and discussed things. We basically agreed to both tie for joint second place in the competition. I'll also quote Garbo from the official Leap Frog thread on TA: “I agree that he could beat me if he chose to use KI [Shadow Lords] and I would beat him if he didn't use KI, so we are agreeing to a tie for second place”.

In period 116, I decided to go out with a bang and get my proudest, most challenging (in my opinion) and last valid Leap Frog achievement which also happens to be from one of my favorite Xbox One games:

BADLAND: Game of the Year EditionTHREE KILOS OF CLONESThe THREE KILOS OF CLONES achievement in BADLAND: Game of the Year Edition worth 649 pointsSAVE 3000 CLONES IN TOTAL IN SINGLE PLAYER

The next day in period 117, Garbo both coordinated to get the same SMITE achievement to tie (since it was lower than the required ratio) called “Bless You All” which in my opinion was a fitting end to the competition. Not to single anyone else out but the last 6 of us were at it for quite a long time and even though we were competing against each other, we made it a friendly competition. In fact, some of us even boosted some achievements together and I thought that was really awesome.

If I did go the route of using those Shadow Lords achievements, I could have possibly gotten first place but Infamous might have had enough other achievements lined up to combat that, but I never knew for sure. However, it may have been enough to last until the next new or free game / title update with more inflated ratios but again, that is what I worried about – the contest dragging on even further.
Will you be taking part next year?

Definitely! No matter what other obligations or commitments I have, I will still enter and do my best! There! Short and sweet to make up for that last question!
Did you rely on any friends or family members to help you stay in the competition? If so, how did they help?

As mentioned earlier, my best real-life friend Crickett2814 provided motivational support as well as offering his help with some local co-op games even though he's not into achievements himself... yet! I did finally get him to sign up on TA recently though so there's still hope!
Any shout-outs that you would like to make before you go?

There are WAY too many people to thank for providing me motivational support, assistance with multiplayer achievements or for just being friends in general. I don't want to single anyone out and you know who you are! I want to give shout outs to anyone who is on my Xbox or TA friends list (final 5 Leap Frog competitors included). Also, shout outs to anyone who has supported me in any way during my streams at http://www.twitch.tv/karnage and cheered me on in Leap Frog. Last but not least, shout outs to the TA team for making this event a success, even if it did go on for too long. It was a fun ride and I can't wait to see what is in store for next year!
Thanks to K4rn4ge for taking the time to answer our questions and for being a great competitor. Check back tomorrow when we'll have our second interview with ORIGENxGarboMan, who is our second joint runner-up.
Dave Horobin
Written by Dave Horobin
Dave is the TrueAchievements Social Manager and has been a Newshound since 2010. When he's not chasing developers and publishers for early review copies, he can usually be found on the TrueAchievements social pages discussing all things TA related.