Xpovos' Blog - Oct to Dec 17 (95 followers)
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Dec
06
PermalinkChasing the Server Shutdown
I've written about the problems of Free-to-Play games frequently. For achievement-hunters, one of the biggest problems is that of course free-to-play games shut their servers down, eventually, and when they do, the achievements become discontinued--unavailable to any gamer who hadn't earned them prior to the shutdown.

While Free-to-Play games are the largest culprit, they are hardly the only ones. In one high-profile example, we had a long standing fight with EA about their continual shutdown of annual installment sports series. As the games became more "online" focused they had more and more online requirements for the achievements, and those servers don't pay for themselves, so eventually EA will shut them down as well. Perpetual online servers are unsustainable, no matter what Blizzard manages to do.

Discontinued achievements are also not a new topic for this blog, they are a sore spot for me and will likely continue to come up. But my recent efforts in Marvel Heroes Omega got me thinking about the process I go through after a server-shutdown is announced and how that dictates my gaming.

For Marvel Heroes, it worked out, kind of. I earned every achievement that I possibly could. The only achievement left for me in the game is the one they broke with a title update and never had a chance to fix. But now comes the difficult question. Was this a victory? Or a defeat? Surely, a victory. I did everything I could. And I even had a decently fun time doing it. But the truth is that it feels like a defeat because the game remains non-completed. Beyonder is my first genuinely discontinued Xbox One achievement. I have a few that are Unobtainable, but so far in the Xbox One chase, I'd caught them all--or they came back, as Killer Instinct's achievements did. It also feels like a defeat because, though I had some fun doing it, I was driven to achieve. It was a compulsion, not an actual desire from something within me. I did make a choice, but it was heavily influenced by forces outside of me.

I think these have gotten more frequent as well, though the server shutdowns are not. It may just be that I'm playing more games that have these problems, or I'm noticing it more now that I'm a more active achievement-hunter.

Some games where I have chased servers, and the end result.

2017
Kinect Adventures We had a bit of a scare with this one and I got it right away. Then it did go down for good it seems. 100% online done, still need to finish the SP.
Madden NFL 13 This one is a bit of a stretch in that I did finish it prior to the shutdown announcement, but I was motivated to get it done by the fact that an announcement was going to happen, so when a good opportunity arose, I took it. And the race finished about a month before the announcement dropped. 100% online done, still need to finish the SP.
FIFA 12 This one already had at least some discontinued achievements by the time I got to the server shutdown chase. As a result I wasn't committed to going for 100%, even 100% of the remaining. So it was a chill chase. Even still I earned all but 3 of the achievements I could, and those 3 were just too much of a grind to be worth it. Not even close to 100%.
Xbox Fitness This was probably THE big grind of 2016-2017. They gave us a year's notice, and I needed basically every minute of that as I attempted to "climb" 100,000 meters. 100% through and through.

2016
Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes - 2.0 Edition
Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition
Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition (Win 10)
All of the Disney Infinity servers went down in March, but most of my chase was in 2016 when the announcements came. Some were already done, such as the original Disney Infinity, but there was definitely some scramble here from me to get it done, particularly in 3.0 for the One, where the Arcade Ace was a pain, and I had to get it multiple times. All of the online is done for the series, but I have a bunch of MP to cleanup.
Project Spark (Win 8)
Project Spark
Most of the Project Spark Chase was actually in 2015 for the GTASC, but I finalized it in the downtime after that contest in January 2016, well in advance of the server shutdown. 100% done on both platforms.

2015
World Series of Poker: Full House Pro Possibly my best chronicled server chase. Like Marvel Heroes Omega, it ended with a single missed achievement, despite my actually doing everything that was possible.
Spartacus Legends A surprisingly less painful grind than I had any reason to expect. Still not a good game. 100% done.

2014
Ascend: Hand of Kul One of my very first server chases, it showed how oddly I was willing to behave to ensure that I earned the achievements before they disappeared. 100% done.
Karaoke Achievements This one is particularly odd because I didn't even start it until after the shutdown notice came. Why not just leave it alone? Because I could start it and finish it in the time period, and because it was free GamerScore. Somewhere, my wife still has video of me playing this game in her "blackmail" folder. 100% done.

Really, it's just a matter of finding out which games will be the server chase in 2018. Lies of Astraoth? AirMech Arena? Neverwinter (with Perfect World shutting down Gigantic and Runic, this is very possible). How about Happy Wars/Dungeons? World of Tanks--they're in some hot water after their latest cash grab efforts. So, it's not whether they'll be a chase... it's what I'm going to be chasing.
Posted by Xpovos on 06 December 17 at 18:48 | There are 5 comments on this blog post - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Nov
21
PermalinkEphemeral Gaming
Last week we learned that Disney was cutting ties with Gazillion, the developer of Marvel Heroes Omega. This is a piece of bad news, but in some ways it is not unexpected. Certainly, it was going to happen at some point. F2P server-based games will close eventually. They will stay open while the business model is viable, and when it isn't, the game will end. And when it ends, it essentially ceases to exist. No one can play that game again.*

MHO's death was even less unexpected because the development team had given some warning signs over the past month or so. Expected content rollouts weren't rolling out. Status updates weren't updating. And the CEO had an accusation of sexual misconduct made against him. While most of these misconduct statements are coming against politicians and media people frequently right now, the gaming industry has been hit by a fair share as well, and that really shouldn't be too surprising. This is a reminder that these are human problems that are not actually confined to, or prohibited from occurring in any walk of life. And many people in positions of power, such as bosses, judges, or just famous people, will use that as leverage to take advantage of others. I don't want to go off the rails on the sexual abuse issue here, because it is an unpleasant subject that I know far too much about, but it is relevant here as an item that was brought up as a possible additional reason why Disney elected to cut ties with Gazillion so quickly, given that apparently the property was still making money--if perhaps not enough.

As MHO goes, many of us remember one of the last big news story we had about the game. Here's TA's article on it: Venom Comes To Marvel Heroes Omega For A Limited Time

Venom is awesome. But is he worth $20?Venom is awesome. But is he worth $20?


Yep, a $20 DLC for a F2P game, maybe that's part of the reason why they weren't making enough money? Here's the worst part, at least for me. I briefly considered it. See, I love Venom. Venom was one of the first comic book characters I really had an affinity with. Sadly, even though I kept that series in great condition as a possible collector's thing, it just doesn't have much value. So why not drop $20 more on him too? Particularly since MHO got me to break my cardinal rule on F2P, which is that if it is F2P, I will play it for free. Early on in the MHO life-cycle they offered a deal that any purchase, which was as low as $5 would get a permanent account based xp boost and access to Nightcrawler as a playable hero, and Nightcrawler was at that time only available in that way.

Why did that appeal to me enough to open my wallet? You guessed it, Nightcrawler is one of my other comic book characters that I have strong affinity with. So I gave MHO a fiver, got my xp boost and Nightcrawler, and I was satisfied. But the thing about microtransaction is that once you make one, you are far more likely to be willing to make another. Getting the flow started is the trick, and unlike every other F2P game in the Xbox ecosystem, MHO got paid for turning the trick. This should have been strong evidence of a successful game, and one which despite problems, was generally well-recieved and fun to play, holding an unimpressive but solid 3.5/5 rating here at TA and 68/100 (critic) and 7.8/10 (user) Metacritic ratings. Those are solid numbers for a F2P game.

Ultimately, I decided that $20 for Venom was just too much, particularly since by that point I'd largely moved on to other games. There are too many to play and my time in MHO was going to be a grind from now on, so a new character wasn't enough of an incentive, in addition to the price being too high. Well, yesterday I bought Venom for 1 Eternity Splinter, the in game "free" currency that drops from random mobs in quantities of 1-5 every few minutes. Everything costs 1 Eternity Splinter now. Every hero, every costume, every loot box (of which the contents can, and usually do, include Eternity Spliters). An oddity of this is that the 5x products cost 1 Eternity Splinter and the 1x of the same product also costs 1 Eternity Splinter. Server shutdowns make for some odd math.

December 31st is the last day anyone will be able to play Marvel Heroes Omega either on Xbox or on PC. The game had a much longer life on PC as "Marvel Heroes." I was actually a part of the beta for this game, which was very different back then. I was excited about it because it was coming out as my interest in Diablo 3 was waning, so a F2P Diablo-esque game with Marvel IP was a good fit for me. And I was eager to be in the beta so I could give good feedback to help the game avoid the pitfalls that Dialo 3's vanilla launch had. Unfortunately, Marvel Heroes never took off for me on PC and I was back in the Xbox ecosystem after that. But now, years later it came to Xbox too, and I could have the best of both worlds! It was an exciting announcement.

Marvel Heroes Omega launched June 30th, 2017, which means that it's total lifespan on the Xbox One is going to be exactly 6 months. A month and a half of that will be in 'shut-down' mode, where the game is not functioning as it normally would, which means that Xbox gamers really only had Marvel Heroes Omega available for 4.5 months.

External image


Two months after it released, Marvel Heroes Omega updated with a Title Update that added two new achievements--and broke one of the existing ones. The Beyonder achievement:

Marvel Heroes OmegaBeyonderThe Beyonder achievement in Marvel Heroes Omega worth 1693 pointsEarned all other Marvel Heroes Omega achievements.


It's an easy mistake to make. "Check that all other achievements are won, if so unlock this." Well, which achievements are we talking about. Base game? TU? Both? It seems it doesn't matter what you do, this achievement has not unlocked for anyone since August 24th. (TU was launched 9/5, according to TA's data). We were told that a patch was in development and working in their test environment, but that patch seems unlikely to ever see the light of day now, which means that Beyonder will be my first officially discontinued achievement on Xbox One; the TA team has already marked it as discontinued, as is appropriate unless we get a miracle patch. This situation reminds me tremendously of World Series of Poker: Full House Pro

World Series of Poker: Full House ProBig Game HunterThe Big Game Hunter achievement in World Series of Poker: Full House Pro worth 75 pointsParticipate in 5 Big Game Events.


Despite tremendous effort and a lot of time spent grinding at this game after the server closure announcement was made, I was not able to earn that achievement because by that time, that achievement was already discontinued. That achievement had an approximately 3 month window when it was valid, and was only actually obtainable during limited periods of time (certain days and hours) within that window. It's an open question as to which is worse; but both are clearly bad outcomes for gamers.

Are we at a point when it possible for developers to dictate to us that we play their game only for the period of time that they permit us to do so? Are we prepared for the darker future world where developers retain that level of control over games we have either paid money for; or where there is an implicit agreement that we get to play for free because of the freemium microtransaction? These particular examples catch our attention because the time period is so short. 2-3 months to fully complete a game or it becomes permanently non-completable is not something many of us find acceptable. If it were announced as a feature, rather than implemented in hindsight, many of us would avoided it entirely. Others would have played, but made sure completing those requirements was a priority. The lack of transparency is a problem, but it's not one we can even blame the developer for--they fully expected their contract on the IP to run another year or two.

The first games as service.  The first microtransactions.The first games as service. The first microtransactions.


This is ephemeral gaming. It's "games as a service." It's removing any vestage of ownership of the game itself from you the gamer and making sure it is retained by the developer/publisher. In general, I dislike renting games. I buy a game to own it. When the Xbox One launched with its focus on digital gaming, many were afraid that the move to the digital store would result in much more of this ephemeral gaming, but the reality is that it has nothing to do with the store. When I buy a digital copy of a game from the Xbox Store, I do own it. What I don't own, however, is a right to play Assassin's Creed: Origin's Trials of the Gods 10 years from now. With this shift, the ownership is swaying back towards a place we left behind in the 1970s.

Let me conclude with one more example of ephemeral gaming I recently read about. Friday the 13th: The Game was a mess when it released, so it was patched and patched and seemed like it finally reached some level of functional. The developers certainly planned for people to be playing their game for a while, though.

Friday the 13th: The GameThe Final ChapterThe The Final Chapter achievement in Friday the 13th: The Game worth 2706 pointsPlay 1000 multiplayer matches as Jason.


Playing as Jason is either random or semi-random. The solution indicates that you could boost this with one other person and have 2.5 minute matches and be Jason half the time. That's an ideal case. In most cases you'll be Jason 20-25% of the time, probably. Maybe lower. And the matches will probably take longer than 2.5 minutes. So 1000 matches as Jason is a significant time investment.

But apparently that time investment is enough for the developers. Because once that achievement unlocks, the game breaks. Permanently.

Caution - Game WILL Crash for GOOD

The same guy who posted the solution got bit by actually earning the achievement. Here the game is playable for a significant period of time, but the result is ultimately the same: at some point of the developer's choosing, whether intentional or not, the gamer is locked out of playing the game any further.

Discontinued achievements are bad, discontinued games is next level bad.

I hold out some small bit of hope that for MHO a disgruntled developer sneaks the patch into the update queue for the last week of December saying, essentially, "who cares if it isn't properly tested at this point." But that's a very low probability outcome. And even if it happens, it only fixes an achievement. The game is still gone. I enjoyed playing it with my kids. My eldest daughter loves Black Widow. My middle daughter loves The Hulk. This is a game we could easily play together. Now all that will be left are memories, and my Let's Play streams.

The future is digital, and apparently transient, and connected and multiplayer games offer a lot more potential content and engagement in our games. These are features I largely embrace, but when we are dependent on them for functionality, we are certain to be disappointed in the long run. Almost all F2P games follow this model, which makes it all the more surprising that I play so many of them. I blame my cheapskate factor. But it is in turn that factor which ultimately shutters those games. At least, in theory, the fact that I, and others like me choose to not pay dooms these games in the long run. Maybe not; I mean, it's a very weird coincidence that the one F2P game that I put money into is the one that shuts down the fastest and in the most ugly fashion. And those reasons are never truly going to be known, whether it was the allegations, or the IP rights, or just the bottom line not being good enough. For once it wasn't my doing.

Later on this week, when it is my turn to give thanks, I think I will say a small thank you for all of the smaller developers making quality offline single player content and forgoing the microtransaction money. They are quite possibly the only ones actually selling me a video game these days. Everyone else is selling me a limited term contract, and one where they have all the options about the future.

*A game as popular as World of Warcraft has gone through many iterations. So many in fact that the game cannot truly be called the same today as it was at launch, and folks missing that "vanilla" experience were able to recreate it themselves. Though they were ultimately sued by Activision out of existence, Blizzard started running their own "vanilla" servers to accommodate those who preferred that style of game. Still, World of Warcraft will only work as long as it makes money. Someday, before I die, I suspect, World of Warcraft will no longer exist. Unless those enterprising folks can get a new copy of vanilla up under Blizzard's radar. Most games, however, do not have the dedicated user base that World of Warcraft does, and such projects remain fringe at best, in addition to being problematic under copyright law.
Posted by Xpovos on 21 November 17 at 20:06 | Last edited on 22 November 17 at 00:03 | There are 5 comments on this blog post - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Nov
15
PermalinkI've Ben Streaming Again (Hur-Hur)
After taking off a few weeks to deal with some real life requirements I loaded up Ben-Hur and had Des join me once again so that we could chat as I worked to complete this notably boring game.



In no way was my performance in-game excellent, but I did manage to earn all of the achievements over the course of the stream, so that, at least, was successful.

Also, sorry-not-sorry for the absolutely terrible title for this blog. I'm coming down with something, as you can hear in the stream--I become increasingly hoarse as we drag on. Something-something chariot race pun. So, yeah, all of these bad, punny jokes I'll blame on the incoming illness.

Also incoming?

Next Tuesday: The Turing Test, an actually good game for once, plus it's in time for the TA playlist for November.
Next Saturday (morning): Saturday Morning RPG Des and I both love the RPG genre and are children of the 80s, so this should be a blast. Plus the time shift means that my UK/Europe followers have a chance to actually see these live, since the stream will likely be early-afternoon for you guys. The plan is to make SMRPG a weekly series for a bit--at least as long as it keeps us all entertained.

We've branched out a bit from my initial plan to just stream the Backward Compatible titles I bought, because frankly I just have too many games to limit myself like that. So if there's something that strikes your fancy, let me know because I still have about 30 games on the list that I already own and are largely unplayed that we want to take a stab at streaming, so at this point it's all about prioritizing.
Posted by Xpovos on 15 November 17 at 17:38 | There are 4 comments on this blog post - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Oct
30
PermalinkDead Exit First Impressions
Dead Exit: A zombie survival card gameDead Exit: A zombie survival card game


Last night I had an opportunity to play Dead Exit a few days before launch. Dead Exit is a zombie-themed card game that feels very much like it could have been printed as a more traditional "board game" style of game with significant card mechanics. In Dead Exit, every card has two sides: the zombie side and the regular side. The "regular" side can be a survivor, supplies such as food or fuel or a vehicle, or special cards like "Stop" or "Event" cards that keep the game flowing in unexpected ways.

Although there is a lot for a new player to take in, in terms of mechanics and special abilities, the basics of the game are pretty easy to learn. You have three actions per turn to do stuff. Most actions are totally beneficial, such as stockpiling or using a survivor from your hand to kill off some zombies attacking your base. But in order to succeed, you'll need to go into the city to collect supplies. Every time you do, you pull a random card to your hand, but also a zombie follows you back to your base.

The city is a dangerous place after the zombie apocalypse.The city is a dangerous place after the zombie apocalypse.


The mechanics are well-designed to keep the pressure up and work very well in a solitaire game, which is all I was able to play last night. Though there are multiple different versions of solitaire, including some against enemy agent (Raider) AI, the gameplay is largely the same. While I was able to handily beat the City Escape mode even on my first tries (on the lowest difficulties) my forays into the Survival mode were less successful. Here the randomness of the cards seemed to be working against me more profoundly. It's also entirely possible that I missed something in the game mode that I intuitively grasped in the City Escape mode.

While I wasn't able to play any multi-player, I look forward to doing so. The game is rife with opportunities for co-opetiveness. That is, it is in everyone's best interest, and often necessary, to work with your opponents to survive. But at the end of the game, there can be only one winner. Determining who will backstab who and when helps to add to the tension.

The game is mechanically solid and is enough to keep fans of card games engaged for quite a while. Each individual game is fairly short leading to a robust replayability. The game performed without incident in my limited time and the load times were suitably short. However, the game did lack somewhat in the art department. While the cards all have nice art assets, the environment in which you play is somewhat off-putting. Your opponents are represented by mannequins that look like they might be stock assets in the engine. You will never see this unless you stop looking at the game board and decide to look around--a feature completely unnecessary, so it causes me to wonder why it was included.

There's enough going on with the game board that the outside view is unnecessaryThere's enough going on with the game board that the outside view is unnecessary


There are nice touches here and there in that outside world. On one occasion the game table was littered with chips and soda, as if in a basement for a game-night. On another occasion, the table was adorned with a very familiar-looking club. But whether these touches add enough to the ambiance of the game when the gameplay is all in the mechanics and interplay of the cards is questionable.

The game clearly knows its medium and draws from the inspirations appropriately.The game clearly knows its medium and draws from the inspirations appropriately.


Perhaps the most striking thing about the game, as in any card game, was the level of randomness that will be experienced. Every game is unique because the cards dealt are random. On lower difficulties, skill can overcome bad draws. But Dead Exit offers a wide range of difficulties that can be tweaked with sliders. These difficulties range from "Very Easy" to "Impossible." Beating the game in any mode on Impossible is going to be a tough task and will likely call for a very lucky deal of the cards, in addition to great skill.

Regarding the port to the Xbox One, there are a handful of the standard criticisms. The graphics are scaled to suit a monitor, and while certain elements have been corrected for TV/console use, there are still issues with small text and unclear graphics, particularly on the cards. These issues were exacerbated by my using a small TV and may not be an issue for gamers with a better set-up. Finally, on this matter, the use of symbols for keywords means that the text does not become overwhelming on these cards, but it does require that the user become familiar with the symbols quickly. Most are fully self-explanatory, such as the graphics for the distinction between a survivor and a zombie. However, the graphic for "hand" was hard for me to see as anything more than a blob, and the graphic for stockpile was unclear and potentially has unnecessary multiple meanings. Some of these minor graphical issues in the port can be easily sorted out. Others may prove to be too difficult to fix. So, bring a pair of reading glasses.

Achievement-wise there are achievements for beating each of the three solitaire game-modes in each of the difficulties, and these achievements do not stack, so there will be lots of opportunities to practice before trying to take on the Impossible difficulty. There are also a handful of achievements that require cooperative play, or perhaps a boosting session. There's also a grindy cumulative achievement for killing 1000 zombies, which will take a minimum of 330 turns. That is a grind, but it should come quickly enough as games are played for the other achievements. I managed 4% of the achievement in just my single play session last night. There are far worse grindy achievements.

Overall, the game is a solid interpretation of the core mechanics of this zombie survival card game. It appeals to me as a card and board game junkie and likely will to anyone else with a penchant for games in that genre. Based on my limited initial play and expecting the game to continue as it is, I will give this a "Xpovos Recommends" rating, as long as you are into at least one of the following: card games, board games with card collecting mechanics, zombie apocalypses, repeatedly bashing your head against low odds for the rush of finally getting the perfect draw. On my star rating, which I normally reserve until I have completed a game, I would give this 3 stars, "Above average. Seems appealing and is probably a fun waste of time."

If you need to see some gameplay in action before reaching your own conclusion, the stream footage is available for viewing here:


Dead Exit is available now on Steam (on sale for Haloween) for $4.49 (regularly $5.99) and will release on Xbox One on Haloween (October 31st).

Disclaimer:A copy of the game was provided to me for the purpose of streaming and reviewing. This review is based on approximately 80 minutes of gameplay and my opinion may shift as I play the game more and experience different benefits and drawbacks.
Posted by Xpovos on 30 October 17 at 14:09 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.
Oct
24
PermalinkUHH 3 - Group Stage Stats - Personal Version
I'd love to do something like this on a broader scale, but it is impractical. All of the data is technically publicly available, so a database query isn't necessary, but without a team of assistants or a solid program acquiring the data is simply impossible. So, we'll have to make due with my data and hope I'm a good enough analog to the rest of the competition. I mean... unless you guys wanted me to set up a Patreon or something. I'd spend hours doing data entry to do the data analysis if there's a payday at the end and I can get a new TV*, or maybe just a dedicated capture card.

*
*** Spoiler - click to reveal ***


So assuming there's no massive outcry to give me money, let's dig into the stats I've got. To do that, let's talk about the data set. We had 4 weeks of group stage, with each week giving me a new opponent and 20 random achievements matched with that opponent, for a total of 80 random achievements. I actually only have 79 unique achievements because one that I had in an earlier week was randomly re-selected for a later week. As I griped before, that one glitched out on me. It should have counted for a point for the previous week and not been eligible for pick in the later week. Not that it matters in the slightest. I'm going to talk about the stats of what happened, not what should have happened.

  • Games

The algorithm, except for the first week, tries to spread across as many games as possible, so each week it should be 20 different games. But from week to week it could be the same 20 games, or completely new games. With my collection, I had over 200 valid games, so the odds of a re-selection for any given game was poor. But with so many being selected and match-ups being made from good matches, some re-selection was inevitable. I suspect my re-selection rates were lower than average, though.

I had achievements picked from 57 unique games.
*** Spoiler - click to reveal ***


My most frequently pinged game was Ori and the Blind Forest with 5 achievements pulled. Four of those achievements came in the first period due to the algorithm messing up a bit. Second was MASSIVE CHALICE. I got all 5 of the achievements assigned to me in Ori and 2 of the four in MASSIVE CHALICE.

One of the most pertinent questions that came up during discussions of the algorithm was how gamers felt that the 360 was being over-represented in the pulls. This was frustrating for some gamers because they have largely moved on, but the contest is looking at our whole history. An incomplete game on the 360 is weighted just as much as an incomplete on the One, and those of us who have been gaming for a while are likely to have more on the 360 than the One.

E.g. I have 228 games available, by my count, the official contest count is lower for reasons I can't explain. Of those, 88 are Xbox One titles and 140 are Xbox 360 titles. Of the Xbox 360 titles, 83 are backward compatible. This is how that looks.

My Games CollectionMy Games Collection


A random distribution, which the UHH should simulate these statistics, though likely not match due to the matching algorithm aspect--it would be weighted toward the more popular games. So, how did my pool actually do?

My Pulled UHH GamesMy Pulled UHH Games


Wow. That is a huge shift to try to explain as a matter of "matching more popular games." And it definitely adds some fuel for those who were complaining about the over-representation of the 360 in the pool. Now, there is one more point to make which is that this is games counted, and as I noted, I had two Xbox One games come in with a total of 9 achievements. Another had 3. So if there were an achievement pulled, rather than games pulled, comparison it might look a little better

One of the factors that could result in a "more popular game" is whether it was ever available as Games with Gold. Regardless of whether I got the game from the program or not, I made a note of those that were selected from my collection, and in my Games Collection. Same as above.

My Games CollectionMy Games Collection

Games with Gold makes up a decent chunk of my unfinished business. And I probably have a higher F2P chunk than most given my tendencies. But even then, paid content is always going to make up the majority for gamers like me. I just can't keep my wallet in my pants at the sight of a big sale.

My Pulled UHH AchievementsMy Pulled UHH Achievements

I'm starting to compare apples and oranges here, but honestly it gets worse if I don't. Here I'm comparing the achievements I pulled to the games in general. That introduces a new element of non-parity, but the skew is still very pronounced, and as I said, it's worse in terms of games. And since I want to look at achievements next, this is an OK segue--I just don't recommend anyone do this in a scientific paper. It is unfortunately very difficult to pull achievement counts per category from the "My Games Collection" so I can't do as close an apples-to-apples based on the data I have, failing that Patreon thing I mentioned. laugh

  • Achievements, Targeted and Won

The final question I really wanted to have a look at is how I, behaviorally, took these discrepancies. I know many gamers got frustrated and lost motivation, but I was strongly motivated throughout. I was close to the cut-off and wanted to make it, so I was always giving it what I could, even if I failed in the end due to the strength of competitors in general, and my own lack of free time. I certainly turned on my Xbox 360 more for UHH group stage than I had remembered doing for a long time. It got me back to games I hadn't touched in a very long time. The contest did its job in that respect. At least for me. But even though I was willing to "go out of my way" to get these achievements, the ease of access of the Xbox One and Xbox 360 BC achievements might have swayed me to earn more of those, right? These graphs get a little more complicated because I want to include all of the data in just two graphs. If I had more time I'd break these up into simpler comparisons, like the above.

My Targeted AchievementsMy Targeted Achievements


I'm going to throw the other one up right away for comparison and then talk about them to really get into the details of what is going on. But first note there are zero BC F2P games/achievements targeted. That's just a category that doesn't really exist. Even the games that exist on both platforms are simply independent.

My Earned AchievementsMy Earned Achievements


Starting from the biggest block in the top graph, about half of my targeted achievements were in Xbox 360 (non-BC) games that I had paid for. That's actually amazing considering that the GwG was likely to give me a significant number of matches. I blame this on Xpovos' Bean Dive. My first Bean Dive was all Xbox 360, and about 100 titles, and I have not even come close to recovering from it. This makes me a strong matchup with a lot of people on most of those 360 titles, and most of them were games I paid for in the parlance of this graph. That makes for a huge target for the algorithm to select from. Meanwhile, it shrinks to only about 10% of the earned achievements. Those games are often on disk. I had one achievement I lost for sure because I couldn't find the disk. And in many cases even if I was a good match for an opponent, maybe they weren't for me, because I've only dived the title and they're further in. My limited time is spent better elsewhere. The achievements I did earn: next storyline, fairly easy cumulative and one I had some significant help on. This huge category was otherwise untouched in my attempts.

The other two categories that got huge changes in percentages were the Xbox One Paid and the Xbox 360 BC Paid. Both had out-sized performance relative to their targets. I was highly motivated to play the games that were easy to access and that I had paid for, it seems. GwG titles and F2P were largely in line with targets, but when I paid, it gave me some extra juice, perhaps. The drivers of this were:
Ori and the Blind Forest (5 of 5)
Don't Starve: Giant Edition (2 of 3)
Unravel (1 of 2) but a ton of "tagUHHlongs"
Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (2 of 2) plus "tagUHHlongs"
Fallout 3 (1 of 2)
Splosion Man and Ms. Splosion Man (2 of 4 combined)

This makes up about a third of my total achievements earned for UHH. And a lot of them came from the first week, where the matchup was "bad" because of the glitch, but the re-roll gave us multiple targets in the same games. To me, this points to the 20-game list as a potential problem, at least on a casual level. It is helpful in making a competitive list to differentiate between higher level players, but in a JFF league, having multiple achievements in the same game gives extra incentive to actually play that game. If I had only had one achievement in Ori in week 1, and say it was the last one chronologically in the game, I would still have had to earn all the others, but it wouldn't have been so satisfying.

Week 1 was my best result (13 achievements) and it has an out-sized role in this analysis which is looking at total results. Week 1 was the best because the contest was fresh, too. With out that added motivation it's hard to say how this all goes. So the 20-game list may not be the primary culprit... but I don't think it helped in the Group Stage or as a JFF tactic.
Posted by Xpovos on 24 October 17 at 14:59 | There are no comments on this blog - Please log in to comment on this blog.