Xpovos' Blog - Jan to Mar 17 (70 followers)

PermalinkGTASC Stats Round-up. (Periods 1-10)
We've got ten weeks worth of GTASC under our belt. That's as good a time as any to have a look at what's been going on so far.

Let me start with some headline numbers, courtesy of planting42 and basic math.

  • Solo

Gamers Entered: 1738
Gamers Remaining (after 10 periods): 609 (1129 [65%] eliminated)
Total Achivements: 515,099 (296.4 [29.6/week]/gamer entered; 845.8 [84.6/week]/gamer remaining 438.9 [43.9/week]/gamer F.AVG)
Total GS: 14,968,369 (8612.4 [861.2/week]/gamer entered; 24578.6 [2457.9/week]/gamer remaining 6377.7 [637.8/week]/gamer F.AVG)
Total TA: 28,540,731 (16421.6 [1642.2/week]/gamer entered; 46864.9 [4686.5/week]/gamer remaining 12160.5 [1216.1/week]/gamer F.AVG)
Effective Ratio: 1.92
Avg. GS/ach: 29.06
Avg. TA/ach: 55.41

  • Team

Gamers Entered: 1775
Teams Entered: 355
Gamers Remaining (after 10 periods): 781 (994 [56%] eliminated etc.)
Teams Remaining (after 10 periods): 157 (198 [56%] eliminated)
Total Achievements: 565,688 ( 318.7 [31.9/week]/gamer entered; 569.1 [56.9/week]/gamer remaining; 204.3 [20.4/week]/gamer F.AVG || (1593.5 [159.4/week]/team entered; 2857.0 [285.7/week]/team remaining; 1022.9 [102.3/week]/team F.AVG)
Total GS: 16,510,409 (9301.6 [930.2/week]/gamer entered; 21140.1 [2114.0/week]/gamer remaining; 6459.5 [646.0/week]/gamer F.AVG || 46508.2 [4650.8/week]/team entered; 83385.9 [8338.6/week]/team remaining; 29856.1 [2985.6/week]/team F.AVG)
Total TA: 31,668,439 (17841.4 [1784.1/week]/gamer entered; 40548.6 [4054.9/week]/gamer remaining; 12389.8 [1239.0/week]/gamer F.AVG || 89206.9 [8920.7/week]/team entered; 201709.8 [20171.0/week]/team remaining; 61852.4 [6185.2/week]/team F.AVG)
Effective Ratio: 2.03
Avg. GS/ach: 29.19
Avg. TA/ach: 55.98

So what do all of those numbers mean? First, a roughly equal number of gamers entered both the individual and the team contest, but it wasn't the same set. Some registered for only one contest, some for only the other. As the contests have gone on, the lists have likely become more disparate, but I don't have any solid analysis on that. Second, the sheer scope of these numbers is impressive. Over a half-million tracked achievements in each contest in only ten weeks!

Even though the numbers entering were roughly the same, more people have been eliminated from the solo side, as a result of the stricter cut-off threshold on that side. This has resulted in a much more competitive series much faster, which was the intent. Meanwhile, the team-side has been competitive as well, despite the lower cutoffs, because of the inherent bonus a team has of being able to spread the responsibility around.

Even with a "slower" cut-off, well over half the field has been eliminated from the GTASC in just the first ten weeks. Though the contest is year-long, for most gamers, it's far, far shorter.

Additionally, 4 individuals have been eliminated from the team side, even though their team has not, leaving 3 teams (one team lost two) short on members, unable to compete for some bonuses and at a perpetual disadvantage in scoring.

Partially due to the slower elimination schedule leaving more gamers in, and partially due to the generically more competitive nature of the team event, the team side has scored more GS (10.3%), more TA (11.0%) and had a higher overall ratio than the individual side.

Finally a word on "F.AVG", which is a modified simple average for the 10-week period using the starting teams and the ending teams. It does an OK job of tracking the typical average output for the contests and most interestingly, a decent job of tracking the cut-offs, though a safe margin higher still.

The following stats are team-side only. While there are discrepancies between the team and the solo as I note during my weekly updates, tracking both, when they're largely the same, seems duplicitous.

The stats page lists the top games by TA gain for the whole contest. Here's a snapshot at 10 weeks in.

Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition
Minecraft: Xbox One Edition
Killer Instinct
Fallout Shelter
DC Universe Online
Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition
Rare Replay
Goat Simulator
Lies of Astaroth
Gems of War
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
Doodle God: Ultimate Edition
Adventure Pop
Rocket League
World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap
Halo: The Master Chief Collection
Energy Cycle
BATMAN – The Telltale Series
Minecraft: Pocket Edition (Android)
NBA 2K17: The Prelude
ARK: Survival Evolved
Dear Esther: Landmark Edition
Toby: The Secret Mine
Among the Sleep
Halo Wars: Definitive Edition

Minecraft for the Xbox 360 takes the top spot overall with a shade over a million total TA. The Xbox One version takes second place with about 750,000 TA, despite earning more GS on more achievements. It's all about the ratio. Obviously, both versions of Minecraft are high on the list due to the power of Title Updates. They're not the only ones, though. Killer Instinct, Goat Simulator, Lies of Astaroth and Gems of War are all on the list as well and at least in part due to DLC or Title Updates. Rocket League also jumps out, but the Title Update there will factor more for later periods than for its placement in the top-30 through ten periods.

Other notable factors of the top-30 include 8 free or free-to-play games and 3 Games with Gold titles. Gamers love free GS. The presence of games like Energy Cycle, ACA NEOGEO WORLD HEROES and Among the Sleep also indicates a desire for quick points over potential quality.

Finally, the top-30 isn't all "free" or quick indie games. The Master Chief Collection cannot be denied a spot among the top due to the sheer number of achievements it has, to say nothing of Master Chief's enduring popularity. Rare Replay gets a similar size boost. Meanwhile, Halo Wars 2 as a new and successful AAA game has a nice showing rounding out the top-30 with a total 140,000 TA.

The top-30 games have a combined 8.2M TA. That sounds like a lot but, as I noted above, the top game has over a million of it, so it drops off per title pretty quickly, and the contest total has 31.7 million through ten periods, so the top-30 are only 25.9% of the total TA scored. Games outside of the top-30 make up the vast majority of the scoring, but not in any significant quantity each. It's a representative set of the deep library of Xbox 360 and Xbox One combined titles available, not to mention Windows Phone, PC and a few points from other platforms as well--again, mostly from Minecraft.

How about some team-specific stats for my team: Nuclear Winter is Coming

External image

Personally, I've placed 4th overall on TA for the team, but I have the highest TA ratio. Actually, considering that I'm largely on GS goals this year, that might make it worse, not better. Time to kick it up a notch. My best week was Period 6, with 5382 TA for the week. I got edged out of the top scorer slot by Albino who put up over 6000!

Times top-scorer
AlbinoKidELITE (3)
epic fail 1710 (3)

Times bottom-scorer
KirkSadler (6)
Xpovos (1)
epic fail 1710 (1)

Kirk's stated goal of being the #5 scorer each week is largely coming true as he's taken the trophy 6 times out of ten. No complaints there, we've only had folks go negative twice, so it's all good by me.

My one week as the bottom scorer coincided with my business trip, so I don't feel terrible about that, but the problem is that I've had no super big weeks to show off and outperform with.

Of the top-30 games, we've had plenty of Minecraft from epic as he belted out his big week. I've personally dipped into 9 of the top-30. But for all that, we haven't really dug too deep, I don't think.
Posted by Xpovos yesterday at 22:47 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.
PermalinkGTASC - Period 10: Of Brothers Banned
It's time to beat a dead horse.

People compete at different levels, and that's actually one of the things we enjoy about sport--seeing people perform at their best, and one of them being better than the other. I personally am very bad at basketball. Not only am I short, but I have poor shooting skills. About the only two things I can do well in the game are to steal the ball on defense and foul. You do not want to have me on the court in almost any situation. But if for some reason I was to go out onto the court against Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman, e.g. I wouldn't expect to win. I might even claim I was just "in it for the experience" or "trying to have some fun." But Jordan's philosophy of "for the love of the game," probably means he'd try his best to win, even if he didn't need to try his best. And if by some miracle I put a move on him I would expect that Rodman would foul the crap out of me for the audacity of my shuffle-step.

If Rodman fouled me, I'd be entitled to two free throws. Which I would miss, probably, even if I weren't in agony due to the foul.

When a casually competitive person is thrown up against a professional, the result is going to be ugly. Even when the casually competitive person is actually pretty good. The thing is, that in each of those scenarios, these guys are more physically impressive than I am, and in each case they're playing within the rules. In basketball it is a well-known and perfectly acceptable thing to intentionally foul. That is, it is culturally acceptable to break the rules because the penalties are less severe than the unimpeded action.

But what if there weren't any rules, and by extension, what if there were no punishments? Here in America we have a chain steakhouse called Outback. It's a "Land Down Under" themed upscale casual dining eatery. About the last time I at there, the chain slogan was, "No Rules, Just Right."

The GTASC is not the Wild West. And those in the know are aware that even the "Wild West" wasn't the Wild West. But the GTASC is pretty close to "No Rules. Just Right." There are really only two rules to the GTASC: Score enough to survive and don't get banned by MS or TA.

The second rule inherently includes MS and TA's rules. Since joining the site I've had a long history of revising my own understanding of what is "against the rules" for achievement hunting. I recall one of my first statements on the nature of cheating in achievement hunting included considering problematic individuals who earned achievements prior to a game's release. I'd still welcome some improvements to that kind of a situation on a technological level, but clearly there are many cases where that is NOT cheating. And TA (the site in general, not the man necessarily) was right to not consider it such, and I was wrong to broach it. For an excellent piece on cheating in achievement-hunting, I recommend reading this blog.

The most poignant rule, however, is the code of honor. For a research piece I was doing I found this old article. The most important takeaway is that an achievement has to be your own. Boosted is fine, but it has to be your boosting. By this logic, if I had let my daughter play a round of Gems of War yesterday (because she asked and to keep her occupied) while I set a fire, I would have violated not only MS' ToS, but the unwritten code of ethics that many abide by on TA--even if it isn't cheating per the cheater policy. Such an action might be against the letter of the law, but hardly the spirit. Microsoft quite literally does not care if I let my daughter play my game; they just want to ensure I don't share my purchased games with strangers, something that is more and more possible with larger and larger digital collections.

But then, what about the other side; against the spirit but not the letter? We had some strong accusations flying around this period about account sharing, something against the MS ToS, but not specifically against the TA cheater policy, but definitely not encouraged, and definitely not part of the old guard code of ethics as noted in that article I posted above. It's almost impossible to prove without direct admission from the guilty parties, which is one reason why TA doesn't even try to enforce it. And speculation about that from outside parties with insufficient evidence is likely itself problematic, creating an atmosphere of McCarthyism and general angst. But, then again, certainly trash talking in an attempt to get a team taken down a peg, or jus to get under their skin isn't against the rules either.

In the end, the GTASC's true purpose is butthurt and popcorn. The weekly cutoffs are really just the mechanism for ensuring we get sufficient drama.

External image


  • Team Contest

A bonus was live in the Team contest asking each teach to earn an equal number of achievements between teammates. This isn't too hard, but it does require a little team coordination and a full team effort to score enough on the target number of achievements to avoid elimination. With no new real hotness this week (unless you got early access to Mass Effect: Andromeda which can't have been too many since the game didn't crack the top-20) we had a lot of rehash of our normal top-scoring titles, and not much increase in the cutoff. The lower %-based changed on the team side is likely completely attributable to the lower static percentage being eliminated in the teams right now. For this week at least, and perhaps for a few more weeks, the individual contest will be the more intense one.

But then again, that likely all goes out the window as we do get that new hotness aforementioned next week.

Our top games this week continue last week's trend and include several F2P.

#1 was Clicker Heroes which as an idle title is bound to show up for a while. Pre-loading this would take some serious thought, but I believe it is possible. I wouldn't be surprised for the winning team to have 3/5 members drop the level 3600 achievement in the final week.


#3 was Lies of Astaroth which continues to benefit from a very big TU. It should largely die out next week though as I think basically everyone who is capable of earning this achievements at this point has done so.

And of course, Minecraft and it's TU took up two more of the top-five slots.

The oddball this week was #4 I, Zombie which went from cheap to even cheaper thanks to a sale.

Meanwhile, last week's new game: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands plummetted to 13th place.

This week's closest thing to "new hotness": LEGO Worlds charted, but in 18th place. This game will likely stick around as it gains steam this week and the depth starts to allow some of the bigger achievements to pop, but it doesn't seem like it'll be climbing very high.

Finally, Battlefield 1 also received an update with achievements this period, bringing it back on the chart in 11th place.

Cutoff: 11079
Last: 10960
Delta: 1.1%

One final note, I counted three benches used this period. Using a bench can be a sign that a team needed a break week, but it can also be a sign of stress. A team that uses the bench is highly unlikely to survive more than a few more weeks after needing to use it. Three down this period shows that even with a limited increase in the cutoff, there's still sufficient pressure to start forcing teams to play out their hands before they'd like.

The thing about benches, though, is that they required at least the effort earning a bonus, so that three of them went down this period is worth noting.

  • Individual Contest

The top-5 games on the individual side were the same as on the team-side. The team bonus didn't really shake up the game selection much, as the goal was team matching, not necessarily something that requires any specific game. Though the games were the same, the order did change, of course. And further down there were some notable changes helping to clarify the differences between the two contests and their stressors.

The biggest of these was SMITE barging in at 6th place in the individual, despite not charting in the team version at all. SMITE did get a recent TU as well, so this is another example of the F2P TU system pushing a lot of content in the GTASC this year.

The differences as they go down the charts are pretty significant this week, but I want to note one more.

Her Majesty's SPIFFING came in at 18th on the individual side. While that's not particularly high, so not charting on the team side isn't unreasonable (it could easily have been 21st and we'd just not know it), the appearance might give us an indication of who is left in the individual contest vs. the team contest. Spiffing is a game with a very British sense of humor, and it tends to be enjoyed much more by our UK gamers, and those from the rest of the more closely aligned former colonies than those of us in the US, in general. If Spiffing is over-represented in the score, then that might indicate that Americans are under-represented.

Cutoff: 1548
Last: 1342
Delta: 15.4%

  • Personal Notes

This week was about the Torment map mode update for Lies of Astaroth. I didn't pop these last week, but I did, largely, at the start of this period. Then I coasted on the decay all the way to the finish line. I had to take it easy after the big bump on Sunday so I didn't outscore my teammates in terms of number of achievements, so we could easily line up for the bonus. Success! That said, my jubilation in an "easy week" was somewhat tempered by losing 500 points from Sunday through Wednesday. C'est la décomposition.

  • Highlight

Lies of AstarothMystery ForestXpovosThe Mystery Forest achievement in Lies of Astaroth worth 595 pointsThree star all stages in Map 13.

I needed to get this achievement to get the Torment achievement as well. I was still 6-stars away when I loaded it up and they were daunting. I had a momentary joy when I got the 5th one, thinking I was done. But, alas. Completing this one was the real achievement, though. The Buggy+ Torment mode achievement is not worthy of recognition except that it has this one as a prerequisite

Lies of Astaroth is up to 2000 GS now, and I hope that's the last of it. I know there is more content in the mobile version of the game, but I can't imagine it coming to the console and being any kind of enjoyable. If no new achievements are added, I'm confident I'll get to a completion eventually. If they keep adding content, it'll be an open question.

  • Lowlight

Bejeweled LIVE (Win 8)Chroma-CollectorXpovosThe Chroma-Collector achievement in Bejeweled LIVE (Win 8) worth 10 pointsAll the colors, so bright and pretty! I got 20 of them to unlock Chroma-Collector!

First, why is this an achievement? Second, I wasn't even trying for it. I got a thing from a friend via one of those social media thingies asking me to play Bejeweled. And rather than do that, I just loaded up this game. Popped a few gems because I felt like it. And achievements pop too? Preposterous!

  • Started


  • Completed


With the team target on achievements for the period I wasn't going to work too hard at starting or finishing anything.
Posted by Xpovos on 20 March 17 at 02:44 | There are 5 comments on this blog post - Please log in to comment on this blog.
PermalinkGTASC - Period 9: The Silent Lie
After a month or two people start to get acclimated to the environs. While every week we say farewell to another chunk of our compatriots, the constant cutoff is typically more our friendly companion than something to be feared. Similarly, amidst the relative quiet this week (certainly relative to the chaos of the past 16 hours--ah, fodder for next week) I read this week of some complaints. The GTASC, being a point-scoring contest is pushing people into playing quick indie games for points. It's a simple observation; perhaps even an obvious one, given what has been popular in the contest so far, but the question behind the question is worthwhile. Why? Why do we play a game that we may not otherwise enjoy simply because it has those magical GS assigned to it.

Certainly, that's a question being asked by many of those who regularly play our number one title for the week: Lies of Astaroth. I'm intimately familiar with their pain because this is one of the games I play myself. Though it does make me question a least daily whether I am playing or being played. Astaroth topped the charts this period thanks to a massive Title Update worth 450 GS across 13 achievements. The update introduces a new even harder version of every "story" level of the game, with a new achievement for completing every map on the new harder difficulty. Considering that only about 60 people have actually cleared the original maps, adding more difficult versions doesn't seem like an easy way to load up points for the GTASC. But there was a fatal flaw in the implementation that allowed these new achievements to be unlocked early if certain conditions are met. As a result, those 60 people can unlock all of the new achievements, and while some are still blocked off to the rest of the group, they can pop enough of the achievements to really load up the score, since the first 8 of the 13 have been done by almost everyone who is going to play the game. But the TU keeps the ratio inflated in spite of that kind of bug. These will decay some, at least until they get patched--if they can be patched, but not to lower than the original map's ratio, so they've got an overall floor of 4.0 or so.

A title update is hardly the new hotness, even if it is from a hot mess of a game. Our new game of note this period was Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands. Mr. Clancy's death three-and-a-half years ago has not slowed down the video game franchises based on his work. As much as I'm not a fan of shooters, I've always appreciated the heightened realism of the gameplay from this series. But it's also another reason for me to never play the game, because if you're bad at shooters, you're going to be terrible at a Tom Clancy game.

It's also worth noting that Eekeemoo Splinters of the Dark Shard Achievements made it into the top-20 for the period, barely. And that is in spite of a 1.4 rating from the site, placing it just above Yaris which at least had the benefit of being free. So we are definitely playing bad games just for points, and when questioned as to the why, there does seem to be a resounding silence.

  • Team Contest

The bonus is over on the team side this period, so the team is the control. I've already covered the big points, but here are a few more stories. While it outperformed on the individual side, I've failed to so far mention this new hotness: Clicker Heroes. Free to play is dominating the charts. And if you count Layers of Fear as "free-to-play" due to GwG, then 4 of the top 5 games are free.

To a certain extent the GTASC these days is about who has the most disposable income to throw at a plethora of quick indie games. Since each game is worth the full 1000 GS, completing 4 of those in 24 hours or less is worth as much or more than completing a single 4000 TA game that takes a hundred hours or more.

But with the free games on the charts like this, it's clear that's not the way it's actually going. Maybe on the margins, but the biggest chunks of score are coming from games that are widely available. They'll only cost your time. And maybe your soul.

Cutoff: 10960
Last: 11710
Delta: -6.4%

  • Individual Contest

Despite the bonus being active on the individual side, there wasn't much movement. The bonus this week required getting 7 different 1GS achievements. There are a handful of good choices for this bonus if you wanted to go for it. Both Cast of the Seven Godsends and Summer Athletics and the regional variant (Summer Athletics (EU)) have a sufficient number of 1GS achievements on their own. However, despite their increase in play this week, noted at least anecdotally, none of them gained enough points to show up in the top-20.

Cutoff: 1342
Last: 1576
Delta: -14.8%

The declines this week are a bit shocking. Not so much that they happened, as we've already seen in prior weeks the lack of popular new hotness reduces the score output considerably. So when Lies of Astaroth is your "new hotness" you're gonna have a bad week.

What is shocking about this number is that if this had been the score last week, I'd still be alive. Nope, I'm not bitter at all. cry

  • Personal Notes

My teammate, FNSUITE GHOST tore it up taking all of the pressure off. I wanted to score more, but even though I'm going for a high scoring year there's no point in blowing my 1000 GS games right now in the face of that. Next week is just as good for me to pop one (or not, thanks bonus). So I stick with my soul-stealing obsession and the Bat.

  • Highlight

Lies of AstarothWilderness VolcanoThe Wilderness Volcano achievement in Lies of Astaroth worth 496 pointsThree star all stages in Map 11.

The game is awful, but earning this achievement is still a big deal. I was the 51st gamer to do so. A few more have gained it since, in large part because the Torment levels have encouraged a redoubled effort.

  • Lowlight

Lies of AstarothLegendary Hero ⅦXpovosThe Legendary Hero Ⅶ achievement in Lies of Astaroth worth 182 pointsYour hero reaches level 90.

It's fitting that this game has the lowlight too. The achievement is fine, but it's worth commenting on, so I'm happy to give it this slot. Lies of Astaroth has an exponential experience curve, as many games do. Unfortunately for the players, the achievement gaining mechanisms level out early on. The most efficient method earns ~2200 xp per action. The total xp required for level 100 is 175,000,000 or so. Quick math shows that the efficient action needs to be done close to 80,000 times. Get ready to buy a new controller. Even better the game limits those actions by time so that a maximally efficient person (or a turbo controller) can get about 360 actions per day. Some freebie actions speed this up, and there are limited ways of gaining xp outside of the most efficient method, so this is not the 200+ day grind that initially means, but taking out efficiency for human error, sleep, etc. and to date only 5 people have done it.

External image

Level 90, which I earned there is at about 97M. That means the last 10 levels I need (that 5 intrepid players have gotten) is still another 50+ million experience away. I'm more than halfway, but that's cold comfort.

Level 90 fell this week, in large part, due to an error on the dev side. Two days a week the experience gained from all sources is doubled. It's important to log in every day for this game, but especially on double-xp days. This week, someone goofed and the "2x" became "8x". I worked hard at it and my ~600,000 xp for the day became ~6.4 million.

  • Started


  • Completed

BATMAN – The Telltale Series

I made a few comments about this game last week as I started it. Namely, that the game is 'short' even by TellTale standards and that they seemed to be doing some very interesting things with Batman canon. Upon completion, I can't really say much more. There is not much wrong with the game. Just the usual TellTale engine stutters. But there also isn't much to recommend about the game. It's a Batman adventure game. They managed to check off all of the necessary boxes, but didn't really go beyond. Most notably, one seemingly foreshadowed plot element was left nagging, and not in the "begging a sequel" kind of way. It's hard to be disappointed in a game that isn't bad, but I do feel this could have been, perhaps even should have been, more.
Posted by Xpovos on 13 March 17 at 03:17 | There is 1 comment on this blog post - Please log in to comment on this blog.
PermalinkMore TA than TA
My normally scheduled GTASC blog will post shortly, but due to early morning score (and ratio, as noted by AlbinoKidELITE on that milestone) inflation from to the recent Title Update of Lies of Astaroth I have this to say. No real content, just a fun observation.

Today, for the first time ever I have a higher TrueAchievement score than TrueAchievement

Time for a sick guitar riff. rock

Posted by Xpovos on 12 March 17 at 17:32 | There are 3 comments on this blog post - Please log in to comment on this blog.
PermalinkGTASC - Period 8: Not Quite What Was Expected
I'm starting to feel the pressure keeping the blogs up while still working on other things. I promised this would last as long as I could, but if they stop, y'all know why.

That said, this could easily just be a temporary pressure due to my trip last week. Being away from the computers and Xboxes for an extended period of time meant that I had to scramble to keep a streak alive, let alone do any significant scoring. Fortunately, for the team-side, the team picked up my slack like the champs they are. By the time I got back they'd already essentially got double the team achievements for the bonus already. I did spend my limited free time on the weekend playing some easy games to try to keep alive in the solo contest, but that effort fell short. I had ~900 TA Saturday night when the fatigue came crashing in. I knew I could stay up and score more, but it had been a very long week. So I chose to use a bonus. ~1400 points should keep me alive I thought. But then the problems hit. Sunday morning is not achievement hunting time 'round here, so after popping off my bonus and heading to bed I didn't see anything again until it was too late. The line moved a lot in the early morning hours and my ~1400 was not enough.

I could have survived, I had another 500 point bonus, and the 2000 "safety net" I could've used as well, but I really thought 1400 was going to be enough. Overconfidence means I got knocked out. It's a useful lesson for every team and player still in the contest. Everyone playing is competitive, even at this point. Through 8 periods now, we've cleaned out all of the chaff. If you know you're going to have a down week, like I knew I was, be prepared to spend it all.

  • Team Contest

I alluded to the team bonus in effect already. Earn lots of achievements. Twice as many as the team did in the previous period. It was all team-based, though, so I didn't have to try to double my own achievement total from last week, though I basically did. It just shows that Period 7 was a week one for me, just as Period 8 was.

As far as bonuses go, it's a pretty easy one. As a result, it was earned by a large number of teams. But earning all those extra achievements didn't move the scores too much. Mostly people just changed the games they were playing and got more lower-value achievements from games that have a lot of them.

That's borne out in the statistics where TurnOn a quick indie completion with 82 achievements in 6-8 hours, which also happened to go on sale at a fortuitous time, jumped into second place overall for the week. First place was claimed by Gems of War on the back of the Title Update that retroactively popped achievements for some, including me. Seeing those pop up on my feed when my Xbox wasn't even in the same state was amusing.

Other games with a ridiculous number of achievements were also tapped this week, including:
Killer Instinct (4th place)
Rare Replay (15th place)
and of course the Minecrafts (3rd, 8th, 12th and 17th place)

But all of these games are also just perennial placers these days. Lots of achievements and solid ratios make these quality games for the GTASC in general.

Also worth noting, we had the release of a series of ACA NEOGEO games this week. Retro is new again, as achievements and 1000GS each, make these classic games very popular in the modern era. ACA NEOGEO WORLD HEROES was the most popular, but ACA NEOGEO METAL SLUG and ACA NEOGEO NAM-1975 weren't far behind. NEOGEO wins the "new hotness" prize for Period 8.

Cutoff: 11710
Last: 9578
Delta: 22.3%

  • Individual Contest

While the contests are and will remain linked because most of the most successful individual players are still in teams, the fact that the individuals weren't focused on pure numbers of achievements meant that while the top of the charts were largely the same, there were some interesting diversions the deeper the chart goes. To my eye, the most significant shifts are the relative rise in popularity in Fallout Shelter and the NEOGEO titles near the top, but with less power overall but for more slots, the rise of A King's Tale: Final Fantasy XV (newly free) and Madden NFL 17. Both of these games still made the chart for teams, but they were 5 and 3 spots lower respectively.

Cutoff: 1576
Last: 1290
Delta: 22.2%

I really wasn't expecting a 22% jump, and clearly my ~1400 wasn't going to hold up in the face of these numbers. The worst part about being knocked out of the individual contest is that I no longer have my stats for the week so far in a nice little bar on my home page.

  • Personal Notes

For streak-saving purposes, without a Windows Phone, I was left with remote desktop access to my computer at home and my Android. I'd bought Minecraft: Pocket Edition (Android) years ago. I knew Minecraft was something worth trying out and I thought a phone version might be good. This was long before Microsoft acquired Mojang. *checks his digital reciepts--it's an amazing time to be alive* I bought it in 2011. Microsoft acquired Mojang in 2014. The Android version got achievements in 2016, so nearly five years after I bought the game.

I played it once for about 5 minutes before deciding it wasn't for me, and then again some time later to confirm--but I made it further that time.

But now it has achievements. And now I need a game with achievements that I can earn on the road. Minecraft it is. Besides, with how my eldest is obsessing with it, I have a distinct need to "git gud."

Remote Desktop is also a life-saver. I used that last year for UHH. But now Solitaire is also available on my Android. So I played a bunch of Solitaire, particularly on the airplanes. But not enough to pop anything. The only problems with Remote Desktop are 1) No sound 2) lag. Just for fun, I tried a few attempts of Alto's Adventure (Win 10). It was not unplayable, but I was significantly worse than normal. Not great. So Remote Desktop needs games that aren't highly reaction-time dependent. That brings us back to Fallout Shelter. I knew I'd be starting it this week because of this exact reason.

  • Highlight

Alto's Adventure (Win 10)Secret AchievementXpovosThe Secret Achievement achievement in Alto's Adventure (Win 10) worth 89 pointsContinue playing to unlock this secret achievement

Slow week means that landing two triple backflips in a single run is good enough.

  • Lowlight

Gems of WarHordemasterXpovosThe Hordemaster achievement in Gems of War worth 69 pointsUnlock 100 different troops

Gems of WarThe EmperorXpovosThe The Emperor achievement in Gems of War worth 78 pointsCapture 20 Kingdoms

Are they really "achievements" if they're earned based on stuff you've already done and pop when you're not around to appreciate them?

  • Started

Minecraft: Pocket Edition (Android)
I'm still not sure about Minecraft, but I'm happy to have something I can earn an achievement on my phone with again. I'm sure I'll need it for another streak saver before my year is done.

Fallout Shelter
I came in with a certain set of expectations. This game hasn't really hit them. But neither has it failed them. It's gone in a completely different direction than I expected, and that's OK.

BATMAN – The Telltale Series
More Telltale goodness. The game is VERY short. I'm about an hour and a half per episode, and that's taking my time, as I always do. They are doing some interesting things with Batman canon and largely it's working. As much as always, the choices feel unimportant, and the gameplay is pretty minimal, but the story is where it's at here anyway, and it's succeeding so far. The new detective mechanic is FAR too simple to really be any kind of detective mechanic, but at least they're trying.

  • Completed

Posted by Xpovos on 08 March 17 at 15:48 | There are 5 comments on this blog post - Please log in to comment on this blog.