Mr Granstaff1,404,108 (759,263)Georgia

It Hurts so good. Roll Tide!

Mr Granstaff has won 28,314 Achievements and 10 Challenges in 1032 games and 30 apps

Registered on 31 Jan 12 Last scanned today at 03:52 by TA Scanner 1

Kinect Specialist
Mr Granstaff

Mr Granstaff's Blog (73 followers)

PermalinkLacking Testicular Fortitude
If you're looking for fancy algorithms and graphs or even pie, then this may not be the blog for you. Of course, I wish I had the motivation to compile such a blog, but I'd rather use my words. I might sprinkle in a few numbers, but don't hold your breath for anything more than that. I'm a simple kind of man.

  • ELIMINATED! Team - 6th | Solo - 26th

At any rate, I was recently eliminated from the GTASC. I'd like to think if I had more free time, a money tree out back, an assassin for hire and other benefits that my competitors had, then I would have reached the final week in both contests. Unfortunately, by going on vacation at the most critical time of the contest, having sudden back issues, a brief family emergency and other engagements (like working and meetings) -- the cards were definitely stacked against me from the get go. I just had too big of a hole to dig out of.

You know what though? If I had the chance to alter that time line as if I was in an Assassin's Creed game, I simply wouldn't. I really enjoyed spending time up in Ohio with my good friend, YoJimbo Jim, and his wife. And, while I may have had a bit too much to drink during a Christmas Party for work late last week that hindered my plan to game throughout the night, I don't regret any of those decisions in the slightest. If I'm completely honest with myself, let's say our team reached the final week or even won the competition. The satisfaction of being victorious would be short-lived and probably forgotten the following 48 hours. Perhaps if it was advertised where it was a big deal on a grander scale and had a decent prize for reaching the top, then perhaps I'd feel disappointed on losing out. That just isn't the case here. It's not like we're getting paid to game in a way that's not natural. I wouldn't find any of that enjoyable in the slightest and let's not forget to mention the eventual regret from the amount of money that was undoubtedly put into the piles of games played. In fact, whoever does well in these kind of contests are actually putting money in other people's pockets. wink

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While the camaraderie was lacking on the team I was on this year compared to the last one, I still enjoyed the experience, so I'm not trying to knock on them at all. Just a simple fact. It's hard to top whoever popped your cherry first. Ha.

Personally, I thought I did one heck of a job putting up the amount of score that I did while away from home this past week (around 17,000 TA - personal best, I think). In fact, according to my stats, I had some of my best days these past two weeks as well. Not too shabby.

Unfortunately, the back issues is what really did me in as it limited to what I could do on Kinect (which is something my game plan depended on) and pretty much everything else in general. Jim and even Dawn could attest to that. I kept bugging them about those pieces of candy called Ibuprofen. Now, I obviously aimed to do better, but it wasn't my full effort.

I could have easily coughed up over $200 and played those quick Indie games to stay in one week longer, but I opted not to. I wasn't that desperate and we all have our tolerances, don't we? Knowing that my competitors heavily relied on those purchases makes me that feel much better. Those remaining had to go to drastic lengths to avoid elimination. Plus, that $200 could go towards something more useful, like, better games for instance. Du-uuuh!

In fact, the most I spent for this contest was $22.95 and that was to subscribe to GameFly (two titles out at a time). In the fashion I did things this year, I find my efforts more than admirable.

  • Realizations

At the risk of acting like a poor sport, I'll share my thoughts on the whole experience. First off, I'm appreciative of all the effort that went into organizing this event, but I think after my first year competing, the "honeymoon" phase wore off a bit this year. I'm not sure if some experimentation played a factor this time around or not because I felt like the structure in regards to eliminations wasn't done right in my opinion. I think they got it backwards. There should have been more eliminations in the beginning and then dwindle down that count as the year went on because let's face it: you could have survived on inflation alone during the first half of the contest. laugh

With that said, I probably wasn't very conscientious of the cut off until when November came around. Anyway, after competing in consecutive years, I'm realizing that this contest isn't a true representation of skill. Maybe minimal skill, but I'm being generous by saying that. I feel like it would ruin my gaming hobby if I spent all year stockpiling achievements. It sounds like waaaay too much work and not satisfying in the least. I'd rather pluck my eyes out than do any of that.

Another part of the contest that I find unbalanced is that whoever wants it bad enough are the teams that spend the most money. I shared this story with someone yesterday on how this contest reminded me of the first car show I ever went to. My friend who was very knowledgeable about how a car gets voted on and what not. At the end of his quick overview of the event, I asked him, "So, it's basically who has the most money that usually wins, huh?" And, he replied, "Pretty much."

I mean, the strategy and planning that goes into preloading can be commendable, but I just view competitions a bit differently, I guess. I would prefer everyone be on an even playing field. A contest like this has too random of an element for my tastes and it just can't be judged consistently for unfair behavior.

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Plus, when it comes to preloads, there's that risk of corrupted saves and general "bugginess," which I just read in another blog - it actually happens to the "experts" despite what they may have said previously when this was discussed in the GTASC forums.

(I'm being mindful of the no call-out policy, so that's why no names are being stated)

Speaking of that forum, I've avoided it like the plague for about a month. It seems like that place has become a breeding ground for poisonous behavior and that really puts me off too. I just couldn't deal with those idiots anymore. It just made my eyes hurt reading what some of them had to say. When they act like they're the best gamer in the world, it's quite laughable. Perhaps the best "stock piler," but certainly not a quality gamer. It's not that impressive to me. And what happens when they win? Yep. I don't need to say anything further. It's a hallow victory in my eyes after all of the effort and money that was exhausted to stay ahead of the pack.

Unlike what happens in that forum, I had a healthy conversation with a few others about who may win this year and we're all a little disappointed since we'd rather have a better sporting team represent TrueAchievements. However, like I said, after 48 hours pass, all of it will be forgotten, regret will probably sneak in while any sense of accomplishment will be lost. Plus, sports analysts say this all of the time: no one is a true champion until they defend their title. I don't think that's ever happened in the GTASC, so unless a team repeats and defends their "title," then it just becomes a minor feat.

At the end of the day, I know the entry fee is free, but the prize isn't worth the stress that some of us obviously put ourselves through. It's borderline ridiculousness. Maybe it's just me, but I just don't get the appeal (although the donations during the year was incredibly generous and just downright awesome). Maybe I'm just not in the loop or as absorbed into gaming like the others are. To each their own, I suppose. I enjoy having balance in my life and would rather not neglect life's priorities either.

  • What Now?

While I don't want to rule anything out, but it's doubtful I'll be competing in any type of gaming contests going forward. Under the right set of circumstances, I may partake, but it's going to have to be very appealing to enter.

Outside of contests, it's clean up time, that's for sure. Time to hit the ground running, put my nose to the grindstone and deal with one game (or two) at a time. Currently, I have a few projects lined up and since starting Rare Replay, a few more games showed up on my radar, like the Perfect Dark series and other cooperative/online related achievements.

I've been hitting Project Spark pretty hard these past couple of days too, trying to notch another completion on my belt. Due to the weekly challenges, it'll take me a few more weeks, but it's definitely manageable from here on out. I am going to miss that ratio bump though! On top of that, I need to complete these viral games I received and send them back into the rotation soon. Sorry Kez!

There's a few ambitions I have that only a handful of people know about, that I'm secretly working towards on achieving soon, but you'll know it when I get there. If all was aware, it may be more difficult for me to do it. wink

And, while I didn't officially broadcast it (wish I did), but I won JJB's challenge the other the week:
Octodad: Dadliest CatchNumber 1 DadThe Number 1 Dad achievement in Octodad: Dadliest Catch worth 231 pointsBeat the game without losing.

With that said, I'm taking up more personal challenges, so keep them coming!

Well, it seems I've gotten everyone caught up for this month, so I'll stop while I'm ahead. Otherwise, it's going to go beyond a TL:DR blog post, like usual.


[UPDATED: December 1, 2015]

* list has been adjusted considerably

Want to boost? Play some co-op? Trade games with me? If so, click the spoiler tag below:

*** Spoiler - click to reveal ***

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Posted by Mr Granstaff on 10 December 15 at 16:42 | Last edited on 11 December 15 at 01:27
Sven0330 Sorry to hear you didn't get to enjoy the contest as much as you wanted to. I agree that the stats you were able to put up are still very impressive, feats that I have never been able to accomplish in my whole gaming career.

Being an outside observer on the contest, I think you are right that it comes down to who can preload the most will win. Still amazing to see what folks are doing in there and it is definitely a different style of gaming that I just have never understood but doesn't make it any less amazing. I followed it a bit for the last 4 weeks of the contest since a few folks on my friends list (you included of course) were still in it.

Either way, enjoy your breather now and have fun mopping up. Good job in the contest again!
Posted by Sven0330 on 10 Dec 15 at 17:14
Mr Granstaff @ Sven0330 - No worries! I have always enjoyed trying out new things (and then remembering why I stick to what I know - kidding). If anything, the contest gave me the desire to alter my gaming habits, if only temporarily. Glad that it did because it lead me to start some games from my backlog whereas I normally wouldn't have (same effect as a Bean Dive, basically). It'll encourage me to revisit them sooner rather than later.

It definitely is neat from a statistical standpoint on the amount of score that has been put up this week. I wish I found it amazing, but that style of gaming just doesn't click with me. The willpower to not trigger an endgame achievement, and the like, just to save it for later could be praise worthy, but impressive? Unfortunately, not to me.

Indeed I will! laugh Hopefully I can get back to 90% in terms of completion and dwindle down my started games count soon enough. And, thanks for the consolidated congratulations and compliments! Ha.
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 10 Dec 15 at 18:47
dlCHIEF58 This was my first year trying the contest but knew I didn't have a chance to go deep either as a team (was randomly selected, and only 2 of us were halfway active) or as an individual. Time commitment was my biggest hindrance as my library backlog was (and still is) deep enough to carry me without rentals or many new purchases. But once I was out, it was a bit of a relief which I am sure you can now attest to. Now to just get this Bean Dive off my back, and am actually the closest to having completed one yet. The other goal is to climb the KS leaderboards in all genres, hopefully to get in the top 10 of each of them at some point in the near future. Remarkably I'm still holding on to the #1 spot in KS for Special games, without starting Project Spark for Win 10 or completing it yet on the One (so I have ammo to get it back should I lose it anytime soon).

But now you are free, we can now get back to some of the projects we discussed briefly before. Good to have you back.
Posted by dlCHIEF58 on 10 Dec 15 at 19:30
Mr Granstaff @ dlCHIEF58 - It was actually more of a relief to be eliminated last year since I did most of the heavy lifting. This year was a different story as I only felt like I worked beyond my normal gaming habits for two weeks versus two months, like last year.

Hm. Now that I think about it, with the craziness that's going on this final week, I'm probably more relieved now. laugh

I'm sure you'll prevail in those leaderboards and major props to being #1 as that's no easy feat in any leaderboard. And, I'm with you - if you hadn't started Project Spark yet on one platform, then you should easily hold onto it for quite some time.

Absolutely. We'll have to tackle those projects first thing next year!
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 10 Dec 15 at 21:02
dlCHIEF58 Agreed, I'm currently in chill mode in terms of gaming. No real specific goals other than casually working towards finishing up the Bean Dive and finishing up some titles I've started. I've also turned to some games where it may be a while/grind to get some achievements and playing them for enjoyment - Destiny (just got The Taken King addition), Rock Band 4 and Elder Scrolls Online are some I've started spending some more time with. Need to finish up Breakdown DLC on State Of Decay for the One, that game has sucked quite a bit of my time of late, but fortunately in small chunks (usually before work).

I really need to do what you had been doing, that is going back to the 360 and closing out some MP achievements while the servers are still up. I'm mainly referring to EA titles here, they have gotten better about leaving them up but it can't last forever. Defiance is another I need to get back to and knock out PvP and Coop missions as who knows how long that game will remain active after the TV show was cancelled last season. In other words, I just need to play more.
Posted by dlCHIEF58 on 10 Dec 15 at 21:48
Mr Granstaff @ dlCHIEF58 - My bad, chief! I had to be somewhere shortly after work, so didn't have an opportunity to respond right away.

Yep! You nailed it. I see myself permanently being in chill mode going forward and steering clear from high stress situations in terms of gaming - back to my roots, in a way. Everyone knows I've been considering that move for months now, so it's not like a sudden switch or anything.

One reason being, take this contest as a prime example: I can understand people being passionate, but most of them easily got their panties in a bunch when something didn't go their way or if there was a difference of opinion. It seems to happen every year, from what I've heard and witnessed so far. When I boot up a game - it's meant to be for enjoyment, but I'm guessing their competitive natures can misdirect their good intentions into something ugly. Simply put: I don't have time for any of that nastiness. #chillbro #umad

(why am I using hashtags?)

I know I tried to make light of this contest in my own little way, but I really don't know -- some of those contestants got a bit too sensitive, misunderstood what I was trying to say half the time and took trivial things out of proportion. I mean, it's just words and I essentially just dished it out like it was received. Not my concern if they can't take it. If what was said rubbed them the wrong way, perhaps there was some truth to it? Makes you wonder.

Plus, it's not like a physical beat down is causing them any embarrassment or anything like that. Then again, I think some people try to make something out of nothing and have a little too much time on their hands. It's unfortunate, but I refuse to surround myself with people who act like kids. I have enough courteous and levelheaded friends, like you, Sven and Jim, for example. You all see the bigger picture too.


Having goals, as you mentioned, is stress free (usually!) and really the way to do things. You can go at it your own pace and no one really pushes you to do more than you're capable of or willing to do. That stress just causes wrinkles and general moodiness, am I right?! laugh

Anyway, you've definitely been keeping yourself busy with an assortment of games it seems. That's awesome! I'm getting a slew of new games for Christmas myself. Dawn did good! wink

And, you know it - with those achievements in online game modes, that is - I figure I might as well get those out of the way while I still can because I can always go back to achievements that can be wrapped up in an offline game mode later on.

Hm. Never got into Defiance. Am I missing out? I normally steer clear from F2P games and those micro transactions.

I second that, my friend - "just need to play more." Don't we all. :)
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 11 Dec 15 at 14:58
dlCHIEF58 Well you have to remember Defiance didn't start as a F2P game, it switched to that after a year. Initially it was full release, and I am considered a founder member as I was there since before day 1. It is a competent shooter, decent story, and can be pretty fun. You don't need any money invested to complete the full game (outside of the DLC add-ons, which is a little high in price for some pieces for what you get (and I have yet to see it on sale). You will have more limits on inventory slots and such with the free model, where they want you to invest in more. And the cosmetic microtransactions were nothing to brag about and WAY overpriced in my opinion, which I think has hurt the game since day 1. Seems like they forgot the "micro" part of the word.

Think of it as an MMO Sci-Fi shooter. Graphics are nothing real special, but I've had fun with it over the years and need to get back into it just to see how much it has changed (and it has changed a LOT from when it launched). But this like Neverwinter on the One can be played to completion without investing a dime (outside of the DLC for Defiance I mentioned that is). Spending some money may help the process along (like buying additional inventory slots and such), but far from necessary.

I almost considered dedicating a month to just free to play games like Defiance, Neverwinter, Warframe, Happy Wars, War of Tanks, Magic Origins and others but decided against it as I don't want to limit myself like that. Would be an interesting month to see what you can play just for free on the Xbox (with Live membership that is) and how much fulfillment can be obtained so may still consider something like this in the future.
Posted by dlCHIEF58 on 11 Dec 15 at 15:52
Mr Granstaff @ dlCHIEF58 - Oh! Didn't realize that. Come to think of it, I do remember reading that article stating that it was going to be free.

I have been interested in most of those titles you mentioned, but never pulled the trigger. If I'm not all gung-ho about a game that also includes a massive a grind, I usually skip out on it.

"Seems like they forgot the "micro" part of the word. " I laughed out loud at that part.

MMO Sci-Fri Shooter does seem really intriguing, but if you think the servers are going to close, I may have to look into it a little more before diving in.

Not a bad idea -- month of only F2P games -- but like you said, I hate limiting myself, so I try to be mindful of that when I give myself projects. I used to do that -- when I tried to get my completion up, so I couldn't start new games -- and I hated it. Ha.
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 11 Dec 15 at 16:14
dlCHIEF58 I don't think the Defiance servers are going to close down anytime soon, but think it is more likely to happen a little sooner with the cancellation of the TV show last year. Trion has said this isn't going to affect the game, but we'll see. But with the 360 entering its twilight years, better to get it done now than later and be too late. I need to get over to their boards and catch up on the latest scuttlebutt about the game.

FFXI Online was a game I really wanted to get into, but the monthly cost turned me away from it. Plus I never saw a game with more of an achievement grind than that one did - I played the thing for 2-3 months (not religiously mind you) and wasn't even close to unlocking an achievement. I was almost ready to give it another shot when they announced the 360 servers would go down next year (yet for some reason they are keeping up the PS2 servers? WTF??) so I crossed that off. Neverwinter and Elder Scrolls Online are so much better anyway so I won't be missing it.

I'm in a similar boat in terms of balancing starting new games vs getting my percentage up/completing Bean Dive. But I have a bad habit of starting and not finishing games so I try to use that now as an incentive to at least complete the campaign portion once on normal difficulty. But every now and again I'll cheat myself in this by starting something new that has a lot easy or quick achievements to inflate my percentage - helps the percentage out but doesn't fix the problem of me not finishing older games I've started but set aside for one reason or another. The Telltale games are good for this (especially when they give out the first episode for free). But with no GTASC or anything else requiring a big push, I don't do that as often now either (though have been tempted, especially with Walking Dead Season 1 sitting on my One currently unplayed). Now I mainly just put a limit on starting new games until I finish an older one or two....sometimes. I guess its more of a guideline than a rule as sometimes there comes something I cannot resist the temptation of starting (or screw up and get a challenge unlocked like I did with MGS V: GZ, forgetting the site counts it as starting the game).
Posted by dlCHIEF58 on 11 Dec 15 at 17:22
Mr Granstaff @ dlCHIEF58 - Oh. I didn't know it was a 360 game. I could've swore it was on Xbox One. Well, in that case, since I'm trying to evolve and become fully next-gen, I'm striving not to get too many more games on the 360.

Truth be told, I've never played a FF game. I'm sure I'm missing out, but there's plenty of other series for me to get immersed into. That doesn't make any sense about the PS2 servers either. Truly a WTF moment. laugh

That's funny, coincidentally, I've been tempted to start up The Walking Dead as well. And, while I didn't unlock a challenge per say, but due to Rare Replay, I unlocked a zero pointer in Kameo automatically. I wasn't ready! Haha

I do believe Neverwinter and the Elder Scrolls Online is something I can see myself playing, even SMITE. All have interested me. I just have way too many started games and I'm glad I have the willpower to not dive in at the moment.
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 11 Dec 15 at 18:53
dlCHIEF58 SMITE is a F2P MOBA done well and can't believe I forgot it in my initial list. While I don't play too often, I make sure I log in daily to gather credits and crystals in order to unlock more gods. I've already got a pretty healthy pantheon of gods unlocked and haven't felt the need to spend a dime yet. It's part of my morning ritual anymore.

Speaking of F2P, I just got an e-mail from Lionhead wanting me to log back into the Fable Legends beta as I had not in a while. I had not gotten any e-mails from them in a while so wasn't sure when the beta play periods were. Turns out I had not changed my e-mail there since switching to Cox which was why they had stopped (wasn't linked to my Live account as I thought, had to change it manually on their site), so I need to log in there again and give it a go again. Can't talk much more about it due to the NDA with this beta.

This weekend would be a good time to try out ESO since they are having a free play weekend, followed by a 60% off sale if you wanted to buy/keep it. But then you'd have to start a new game, blah blah, blah. I will be tempted to get the digital version so I can ditch the disc - I would have preferred the digital to begin with but Amazon had too good of a sale shortly after release.
Posted by dlCHIEF58 on 11 Dec 15 at 19:39
Mr Granstaff @ dlCHIEF58 - I've heard nothing but good things about SMITE, that's for sure. Gathering credits for daily bonuses reminds me of Crimson Dragon. I thought the game was going to take me longer to do, so I didn't have that as my morning ritual for long. Ha.

I still have mixed feelings about Fable Legends. I like the series, but I don't know - I can't wrap my head around the change in genre. And, obviously, no worries about the NDA. It's all good in the hood.

I'd only start ESO for that million dollar prize! That way, I could win any gaming contest easy peasy. :P

Speaking of digital versus physical, I'm actually preferring digital nowadays. I still enjoy having my physical collections though. Pretty only get physical if it's cheaper or priced the same as digital.
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 11 Dec 15 at 19:46
dlCHIEF58 Yup, my digital collection this gen is much larger than the physical - and many of those I've already started replacing when the sale price is right (or when EA Access or GwG applies). Did that with Destiny on Black Friday, getting The Taken King edition to replace my disc. But also won't be selling it either since I have the collector's edition (not the Ghost one, but the other lower cost CE). I've gotten lazy in my old age in terms of getting off my butt to change discs...or is it I've come to value convenience. Yeah, that's it. Sadly this is why some of my One games don't get played as often believe it or not. But I do need to invest in a bigger external hard drive very soon - the two 1GB drives I'm currently using are almost full. I do have another spare 1GB drive, but then I'd be changing hard drives for certain games.

The million dollar prize is actually what got me playing ESO again, and I got past the part I was stuck on. OK, I didn't actually get past it, I temporarily dropped it, went back to my other quests to level up and get better equipment before I eventually return to it. I had not realized how far I had moved from my main quest and likely got into an area slightly above my level at the time. I think I have to do the same thing in Neverwinter as I am stuck on a quest where I keep dying.
Posted by dlCHIEF58 on 11 Dec 15 at 20:28
Mr Granstaff @ dlCHIEF58 - I'm valuing convenience more than anything else nowadays too! Perhaps that's an appeal I'm enjoying by going digital versus manually changing out discs.

I probably don't have nearly as many games as you do, but my 3 TB HD is doing just fine, even with Rare Replay installed. It actually was the one that broke that invisible barrier from internal to external.

Ah. I remember that situation quite well. I ran into a giant once in Skyrim, thought he was a friendly chap at first. Nope. I got smacked sky high. Died soon after that. Well, I guess I shouldn't say I got stuck on that part since I was just free roaming, you could say.

I definitely avoided that area until I did get better armor. Same goes for Yetis, I believe. Damn. They were tough to kill and they actually were in my way from completing a DLC quest, I believe - can't remember exactly. Anyway, I was trying to be like Ali - move like a butterfly, sting like a bee - and it was working to a certain extent as I was dwindling down their health after about twenty minutes. Problem was: they could heal themselves, which I wish I had known way beforehand.

I said eventually said screw it - turned down the difficulty briefly just so I could kill it and move on. laugh
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 11 Dec 15 at 21:58
dlCHIEF58 LOL at the yetis. You know how I killed them? I'd make them chase me down the mountain path and get them stuck under the stone arches they were too big to walk under, then fill them full of arrows. Cheap but effective.
Posted by dlCHIEF58 on 11 Dec 15 at 23:54
Mr Granstaff @ dlCHIEF58 - Dang. That's actually a good tactic! Wish I had thought of that.

I can't remember this other enemy's name, but they wore these magical masks. It was one of those situations were I didn't expect to find any kind of enemy due to where I was on the map (high up in the mountains), but they show up and just about creamed my ass AND I was at a level where I was definitely overpowered at that point compared to most enemies. Almost underestimated them, but not before I was running for my life like a wimp, just so I could heal myself Ha.
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 12 Dec 15 at 18:10
DefiantZero Or you could have been like me and gained maybe 70 achievements this whole year! I got to say I enjoyed gaming more this year just playing the games instead of going for achievements. I think my goal for next year is to not gain a single achievement.

However, I plan on getting an Xbox One soon when I get the funds. So something tells me GTAV Online achievements and Minecrack achievements will pop up.
Posted by DefiantZero on 30 Dec 15 at 20:55