Happy New Year to all members here at TrueAchievements! With the new year we look forward to new rumours, speculations and developments in the world of gaming. We also look ahead within the community and hope this year can build on the solidarity we showed last year in light of the now infamous ‘Great TA Server Crash’.
With the focus of our users in mind, we missed the regular Community Interviews and delving into our user base a little more. They were always an interesting read, and we noticed that you thought so too. That’s why they’re back, and for good this time! In our opening week, we’ve chosen to run with planting42. Here’s a brief snapshot of his essentials:planting42
is a self confessed ‘hardcore booster’ and a true competitor in the sense that he's one of the masterminds behind the Great TrueAchievement Score Challenge (more on this later!). His TA score stands at a healthy 131k with that translating to 81,000+ Gamerscore.
____________________________________Davie: Hi planting42. In the time honoured tradition of interviewing gamers, we have to open up with a Gamertag question. Are you the forty second generation of planting gamers or is it just a random tag?
planting42: Since the gamertag 'Planting' was already taken, and 42 is the answer to life, the universe, and everything.. it seemed natural to combine the two. Planting was the name of my Animist when I played Dark Age of Camelot.D: And how was your Christmas holiday? A quiet affair or a large family gathering?
P: It was a quiet thing. My family and I aren't really close (religious differences) so I'll spend some time with my friends and a fair share working and sleeping as Christmas/New Years are the busiest times of year for my work.D: Looking ahead to 2011 have you set yourself any New Year’s resolutions? Gaming or personal that is.
P: Personal, get outside more :) Gaming; 100k gamerscore, complete Marathon:Durandal, get my completion back to 60%.D: I see you’re from Vermont. Is there much to get up to where you live? Do you have any passions outside of the world of Xbox? I’m guessing music fares well as an interest with your Last.fm account having around 29,000 scrobbled plays. If my calculator serves me correctly thats around 480 tracks a month, or an average of 120 tracks a week.
P: I live at the base of Mount Snow (decent sized New England ski area), so I try to get out and hit the slopes at least occasionally during the winter. I tend to listen to music while I'm working on my computer. Besides my primary job - overnight cash register jockey @ the nation's largest 7-11 - I work for a non-profit historical organization called the Living History Association keeping their membership database up to date and doing graphical layout work for their periodicals. All that time in front of a computer (or with an iPod) does add up a few scobbles.D: As a Last.fm user myself the site reports us as being of ‘low compatibility’ musically speaking. We only share Muse, Pink Floyd and Dire Straits in common in the midst of our music history. Sabaton sit at the top of your listening chart with around a thousand plays more than their closest rival In Flames. Your favourite band I assume?
P: I'm definitely a fan of Sabaton. Wish they'd tour America... unfortunately most of the bands I listen to are from Europe and rarely if ever tour the US. Muse and Dire Straits are likely from me listening to Guitar Hero songs - helps get the rhythm down. I do listen to Floyd when I'm reading sometimes.D: Let’s start our Xbox chat now. It is the reason most of us are registered at this site after all!. So, what was your gaming highlight of 2010? Was it an outstanding title? Perhaps a single moment in a game?
P: I think the Kinect was the biggest thing for me in the gaming world this year. I wasn't sure until I demo'd it how it would work, but not only does it feel right, its really responsive. I doubt I'll be playing Kinectimals
but the hardware does bring a whole new playing field for developers to create with.D: So, as a fairly ‘serious’ gamer, what’s your take on Kinect? You seem fairly objective, and I spy Kinect Adventures hiding away in your game history!
P: Like I was saying before, I think it has quite a lot of promise... and some of the games, like Kinect Adventures
, are actually fun. Just have a few more Platinum medals and that game is complete!D: And which achievement are you most proud of unlocking so far?
P: Platinum Rockstars in Guitar Hero: World Tour
. I have no idea how many times I've played No Sleep till Brooklyn.D: As an avid booster, how many hours do you invest in gaming on an average week?
P: I'd say I'm online in a game at least 4-5 hours a day, 7 days a week. Just another job, albeit a fun one ;)D: Looking ahead now to 2011, what game do you see as having the best chance of coming out on top to claim GoTY? Is Mass Effect 3 the dead cert?
P: TBH, I still haven't touched Mass Effect 1
or Mass Effect 2
. They are on the shelf (well, I popped an achievement from 1, but I'm not more than 15 minutes into it.) But from what I hear with the inclusion of multiplayer in ME2, I'm not really expecting much. Too many games have ruined their great single player aspects by trying to elbow in gameplay styles that don't fit the genre. Here's to hoping for Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
.D: I also notice from your profile that your completion percentage is currently sitting around the 50% mark. I thought that might have been higher for a gamer who is willing to endure the pain of boosting The Club and Quake 4?
P: Due to the challenge I am running in the new year I was adding new games to my card so I can see when there are boosting sessions for them (or make sessions since I've started the game.) It was around 63% before I started the bean-dive. I think starting Orange Box
scared my completion% a little too.D: Where did gaming begin for you? It’s a question which everyone gets asked as part of this interview, but very rarely do two people ever give the same answers.
P: Childhood... those years I barely remember now. I first remember playing games on the 'ol Commodore 64 way back when games were on cassette and computing magazines had games you could type in and play.D: And thinking back to that first taste of gaming, imagine every game ever made had unlockable achievements. What might your first achievement ever unlocked have been?
P: 'You can't go that way' In one of the original text RPG's... probably Zork
.D: Why do you think it is that gaming, one of the largest entertainment industries in the world, still has ‘that’ reputation. Or, do you think the reputation and image of gaming has actually improved some in the past year?
P: Funny question. I was at a local diner and was talking with the cook about Assassin's Creed
when the waitress said,' I didn't know you were a gamer." I didn't know it was a bad thing. Perhaps its a culture still associated with kids that so many just assume there aren't any 'grown-ups' that would want to play those games too.D: Like me, you’re an Xbox LIVE Ambassador. Care to elaborate on exactly what Xbox LIVE Ambassador roles are?
P: Basically, the Ambassadors are here to help others. They were initially created to fulfill a support role on the xbox.com forums. Since then they have also helped newer members around the Live service and now are taking part in the Xbox Community Xperts program to provide live xbox help via MSN messenger.D: Speaking of getting involved with the community and the social aspect of the Xbox, you’re taking part in a Super Team Elimination Invitational. What is this exactly and how’s it progressing for you guys?
P: The STEI is an event run by futiles on 360v which is a double elimination event. Each week, the top and bottom scoring teams get a strike. Two strikes and you are eliminated. Unfortunately, my team struck out a few weeks back when the scoring got real technical. Lately its been less than 30 points between top and bottom teams. It was worth it. The winners each get a new Xbox Slim for their dedication.D: You’ve also done a fantastic job of bringing your own brand of competition here to TrueAchievements in the form the The Great TrueAchievement Score Challenge. The event is already maxed out with one hundred gamers signed up to the competition in a combination of fifty, two man teams. How would you sum up the premise of the competition for those who don’t have a clue what it is?
P: The GTASC will be an endurance race. Planning and teamwork will be needed to last the 50 weeks this event is slated to take. Every week I record each participants TA score and then at the end of the week figure out the change. The skill comes in planning what games to play when... as no one wants to burn all their fuel in the first few weeks. Some games will even come back to haunt you in successive weeks as more gamers play the new releases. The lowest scoring team (or the team with the most negative TA change if it happens) is eliminated each week until there is a victor.D: Where did the idea come from and who is putting up the prizes on offer? A Kinect doesn’t come cheap!
P: The idea of this came about when our team was finally eliminated form the STEI. I had fun, met some new folks that are serious about their gaming... and wanted to have that same feeling of community here on TA. I'm putting up the prizes myself for the most part. My partner, ChickenBoyBryan
has offered to help cover some of the cost and TAREKEGYPT
has put up a prize (4000 MS pts) to offer a bit more for the contestants.D: Introducing a great competition such as this to TA and being part of the STEI, would you say competition is a big drive for you?
P: Yes and no. I like the community aspect, the chance to interact with these people more so than the actual competition, but at the end of the day it's the sense that you are part of something bigger... and the fun you have while in that competition that matters.D: Has the competitive nature or ‘hardcore boosting’ aspects of your gaming hobby ever taken the fun out of gaming for you? Has there ever been a time where you felt like giving up on gaming or at least ‘stripping it right back’ and gaming casually?
P: There are days when I will admit to playing offline so I can get some single player achievements out of the way... will I ever go back to the way I was before... playing something simply for the sake of diversion instead of TA score or stats... unlikely. I like the interaction and the stats too much to give them up now.D: Looking at our TA community, members such as yourself are extremely valuable and help make the site what it is, a cut above the rest in my opinion. In a recent conversation we had, you also remarked: “TA... is one of the most supportive and helpful ones on the net. I'm usually on every day checking messages and making my random posts”. Where do we go from here? How could TA be even better!
P: TA is still on the move improving itself and its content with the work in the Walkthrough department and in other places. TA is more than just a place to check your stats and see if you are better or play rarer games than your friends, it is a place to meet new friends, complete difficult online achievements with like-minded gamers as well as a community that will help with everything from game recommendations, hardware repairs and beyond. The fact that this community bounced back so quickly from the crash is another statement as to the care users have for this site. D: Anything you’d like to add in closing? Anything goes (within reason)!
P: Good luck everyone in your endeavors in 2011. Complete those gamer goals, score mad points, and 'be excellent to each other and party on, dudes!'
And so that concludes the first Community Interview of the ‘new series’! I thank planting42 for taking the time to complete the interview to ensure we were ready to go live in the New Year. I know finding the time to do so isn’t the easiest thing to do around Christmas.
But this of course means we’re back, and for a long run this time too. I have my eye out for potential interview candidates, and everyone’s eligible. We’re not looking for the ‘same old’ members all the time. I want a healthy mix of personalities from our great bunch of members.
Did you know, there would potentially be 100,000 plus Community Interviews at this moment in time, if I interviewed you all in turn? That means we need to whittle the numbers down dramatically. So, on that note...
If you’d like to be featured in a future Community Interview, or would like to nominate another gamer on this site to be featured themselves, please send a PM to DavieMarshall