TrueAchievements (TA) is an amazing place for me to be. I am somewhat famously fanatical about statistics, at least as it pertains to my gaming. I do like working with big data sets elsewhere as well, but gaming is where I get to really use it, thanks entirely to TA.
Back in the day I lamented that I could not easily tell what games I had won achievements in on a particular day, or particular month, from the Xbox 360 dashboard. I would have to review every game manually and make a note of when I'd earned the achievements, if I was looking for a particular date. The data was all there, it was just in an unusable format. Microsoft seemed largely unwilling to do anything about it. And that may well have been for the best, given their tendency to mess things up by "improving" them.
When I found TA, the ability to just see my achievements in date order was enough, but so much more was on offer. The key concept of TA, the ratio for determining achievement rarity, was a great addition for me as well. At the time I was in a debate with my friends about just how "easy" my LEGO games were. I contended that, of course, they were easy, but they required a fair amount of determination to get through. The ratio helped me to demonstrate that my gaming choices were in many ways just as valid as their more mainstream games, by which of course I mean shooters.
This image has me feeling so conflicted.
TA overwhelms us with statistical options, ratio completions (with or without DLC), genres and leaderboards for those genres, total achievements, standardized achievement values, and yet for all that exist here, we find more that we like to keep track of because they have meaning for us, personally.
A long while back I blogged
about a completions
ratio, or CAROTS (as AlbinoKidELITE
coined it). This is a number that still intrigues me personally, and it's not an official TA statistic. When I wrote the blog: Xpovos' blog post - Completions vs. Completion Percentage
my CAROTS score was about 41%. It's about 40% now, after a pretty heavy dose of new games-starting. These are a long way from my "target" goal of ~80% for that ratio. There's no arguing with the stats. I'm completing about 40% of the games I start when viewed at multiple instances over many years, half of my end goal.
More recently, DANIELJJ14
revived an idea I'd seen elsewhere, but I can't source, so he'll get credit for now. DANIELJJ14's blog post - The Unique Ratio Test
. In this blog he discusses the highest ratio achievement earned in unique games. So, first, you have to play enough games, then they have to include some high ratio stuff. This is not a test that is kind to newcomers. But it does an acceptable job of showing, perhaps, how some gamers are more skilled, or are more dedicated to high ratio games, without just being ALL about the ratio. Using this technique, a gamer could play ten tough games and then all of the Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Burning Earth
clones he wants for a huge GS, but a tanked ratio, and still be shown as a competent and skilled gamer, not one relying solely on easy score.
I've tracked my own score via this metric for quite a while. It doesn't move quickly, but here's a screenshot of my current view--I keep this in my main page side bar, not as a motivation tool, but mostly as a curio.
Top-10 Highest Ratio Achievements, Unique Games.
So my tenth is this one:
This achievement from a discontinued free-to-play game that has been the source of my wrath
requires accumulating a tremendous amount of in-game currency, either by paying for it, winning it in "simulated gambling", or hoarding it from daily login bonuses. Then you need to spend it on a consumable. All of your chips are gone. But you still need to have enough left over to play a hand a million-chip buy-in table. Also the consumable is level-gated, so you have to play the game enough to earn sufficient xp to meet that criteria as well.
This isn't "hard," it's obnoxious and requires a level of commitment most people don't have. It could be done with some dumb luck, or just enough time and persistence. That is my wheelhouse.
When I talk with Des, my streaming partner, about what I'm good at in games, she mocks me, fairly, as being "good at collecting feathers." I can stomach the collectable grind. I don't necessarily find it enjoyable, but they bother me less than other gamers.
Only 491 to go!
Eventually I'll earn an achievement that is higher ratio than that one, and I'll have a new tenth. In the meantime, my current 10th-highest unique score is 7.7, which is respectable, but hardly impressive.
We all have our favorite statistics that we play to. Some people play for ratio. Some people play for the thrill of earning something that almost no one else will. I know Crandy
digs leaderboard achievements for some reason. smrnov
wants completions. Stallion83
wants raw GamerScore. Skeptical Mario
is preloading like a mad fiend for a 24-hour binge to end all score-focused gaming, while RedmptionDenied
is likely once again preloading for his yearly November-December explosion. I know gamers who want to top the Games Played leaderboards. I know gamers that want a 100% completion ratio. None of these are exactly mutually exclusive, but many of them do compete with each other. It is hard to be aiming for the highest ratio without sacrificing on total GamerScore because of the time and effort required to get those last achievements which are worth the most ratio. They're high ratio because most people don't or can't get them--there's usually a reason.
These statistics, the ones tracked by TA, by Microsoft, or just in our own spreadsheets or even just in our heads, help give additional meaning to our hobby. We spend time making pixels light up in sequences that mean something to us, but not much to so many others. So it's not unreasonable that we'd look for additional meaning--quantifiable meaning. I think that we do this because the most important meaning is not quantifiable.
Fun does not compute
We play for fun. We have fun playing games. Critically for many of us here, we have fun playing games even when the games are objectively bad. I completed Yaris
. That's not the worst game ever, but why on earth did I choose to go back and play that when I knew it was no good? I put hours into it for the sake of a completion and for GamerScore and a tasty bit of ratio. And if I am being honest, as I am trying to be in this blog post, I had fun doing it. I had fun because I got to experience the end of the game. I got to play with my buddy, V1p3rs bite
and help him get the completion too. We had fun together and we got the rush of brain chemicals rewarding us for our success.
When we can get that for playing good games, so much the better, but why not take the fun an enjoyment we can even from the bad games? It's perhaps the best when we get that additional rush for playing a game we think is bad, and finding out that it's decent. Some of my favorite moments of GamerScore hunting have come, not from playing the good games, but from playing the acceptable ones that I thought were going to be awful such as Lost: Via Domus
or more recently The Fall
I, personally, find it fun to play a lot of different kinds of games: some hard, some easy; some free-to-play and grindy enough to take years to complete; others done in an hour, but cost $15. I don't think I have a type and my statistics seem to bear that out. I don't particularly enjoy the difficult achievement hunt, but I have managed some pretty difficult ones over the years on my own quests. I have a decent ratio, but not anywhere near top-tier, and it has sunk quite a bit this year as I have binged on cream puff games and easy GamerScore--and loved nearly every minute of it. I have a mediocre completion percentage, but it could easily be higher if I just stopped starting new games. But what would be the point? Delaying the fun I'd have in those started games, hiding my "true" statistics, even from myself?
And that's just where I should be. I've always been a bit of a generalist. I can do almost anything pretty well. Not as well as the best, but better than most people if I focus. It's not a surprise to me that I'm that way in my games as well. I can find fun just about anywhere. Which means that I can't say I'm not going to play to statistics. I'm specifically playing games for GamerScore. Achievements and the statistics around them are going to continue to drive me. But I can acknowledge that it is all for fun, that the hunt of any particular statistic isn't my goal, but the overall goal of fun is reached in hunting for all of them--at least occasionally.
I'm creeping up on 200,000 GamerScore, an impressive milestone. 200 full retail games worth of achievements, and look, I've got 187 completions. But I have to be careful. There's another statistic creeping out, unintentional and uncalled for. There's another way I could attempt to quantify my fun. Man, if I could find a way to complete just 13 more games before the 200,000 GamerScore, how awesome would that be? I totally could, too. I've got bunches right next to completion. Jeopardy! (Xbox 360)
. I can throw a few bucks at Ticket to Ride
or Motocross Madness
to get their DLC and get "credit" for those completions again with my settings.
I'd have fun doing it too.