Xpovos387,968 (224,587)Virginia

Despite effort, I managed to screw up the 222,222 challenge pretty badly. Sorry, Albino.

Xpovos has won 8,834 Achievements and 20 Challenges in 499 games and 6 apps

Registered on 09 Apr 12 | Last visited Today | Last scanned today at 09:30 by TA Pro Scanner


Xpovos' Blog (104 followers)

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.

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  • 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 323 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 | Last edited on 20 March 17 at 02:52
Eurydace Very well said. I agree. At least I think I do laugh
Posted by Eurydace on 20 Mar 17 at 05:19
Mephisto4thewin What people dont understand is stuff like this has gone on ever since the GTASC become hosted on this site. Seeing as though we have been through the whole thing I feel we have a fantastic grasp of the competition. Half of it we were directly part of, the other half we had to react too. Not once have we ever called for a team to be DQ'd. Yes we stir the pot sometimes but thats part of the year long strategy.

I think sometimes different mindsets from different countries play a part. Here in Australia everything is permitted as long as it doesnt break a rule. Then if people have a problem its the rules fault not the participant. In other countries morals and ethics play just as big of a part as rules do. Thats why i had my back up in the forums, while I didnt conduct myself appropriately i stand by my teams strategy. If it was against the rules we wouldnt have done it.
Posted by Mephisto4thewin on 20 Mar 17 at 07:08
Mr Granstaff I must admit. You beat a dead horse with style. Ha.
Posted by Mr Granstaff on 20 Mar 17 at 12:37
DANIELJJ14 "If I had let my daughter play... while I set a fire" laugh

Great insightful read, TA contests never fail to provide drama. smile
Posted by DANIELJJ14 on 20 Mar 17 at 16:28
Xpovos It got cold here Saturday. A nice fire in our wood burning stove really helps.
Posted by Xpovos on 20 Mar 17 at 18:56