Explaining your TrueAchievement score

By Heidi Nicholas,
We thought we'd take the time, while everyone's at home, to go through and republish some of our site help articles. If you're new to TA or would like a refresher; this article goes through an explanation of the TrueAchievement scoring system, with examples, to help you understand and recognise one of our most important features.

For this site help story, we're going to explain how the TrueAchievement scoring system works. It might already make perfect sense to those of you who've been here for a while, but for our newer members, seeing all of these different numbers listed on their profile, achievements, and games could be a little bit confusing. Below, we'll explain why and how the TrueAchievement score was invented, how it works, what the TA Ratio is, and how to spot it and understand it around the site.

Explaining Your TrueAchievement Score

Before we get into how the TrueAchievement score is calculated, we'll take a moment to explain why it was invented in the first place.

What is TrueAchievement Score

When comparing Gamerscore with some friends near the release of the Xbox 360, we came to the conclusion that as great as the achievement system is, the way that points are awarded isn't always fair. For example, the 5 Gamerscore awarded for pressing the start button in The Simpsons Game is worth the same as the 5 Gamerscore given for completing the game using only the Lunar Staff in Ninja Gaiden S2.

With the base Gamerscore for each game capped at 1,000 points (yes veteran site users, we realise that there are exceptions and that XBLA titles were capped at 200 and 400 in the past,) the problem becomes even more apparent. For example, the 1,000GS earned for pressing the B button 50 times in Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Burning Earth is worth exactly the same as the 1,000GS unlocked for completing a game like Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, which will take some skill and dedication to master.

That didn't seem right, so we decided to see if we could come up with a better system — a system that still respects the Gamerscore value that developers have chosen to award for each achievement, but more accurately displays the achievement's rarity.

Introducing the TrueAchievements Scoring system

At TrueAchievements, we believe that the harder an achievement is to earn, the more points and kudos you should be handed when you unlock it. To that end, we’ve come up with a formula that adjusts these achievement scores by their rarity.

Explaining Your TrueAchievement Score

The scarcity of any given achievement is determined by comparing the number of people who have unlocked the achievement to the number of people that have played the game in question.

The smaller the percentage of people that have the achievement, the bigger the multiplier for that achievement (this multiplier is known as the TrueAchievement Ratio).

The formula above is used to calculate the TA ratio for a game's base achievement list. We do use different formulas to calculate TA ratios for achievements in DLC packs and title updates which we'll cover in a future site help story.

An example of the TrueAchievement Score

In this example from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, we can see that 69,172 TA gamers have unlocked the Mile High Club achievement out of 342,256 that have played the game. That's quite a low percentage (20%), which suggests it's reasonably hard to unlock and it, therefore, has quite a high TA Ratio (2.21).

We then take the base Gamerscore value for the achievement (20) and multiply it by the TA ratio (2.21) to give us a TrueAchievement score of 44, which seems much fairer.

Because the TrueAchievement score is based on the number of people that have currently unlocked an achievement compared to the number of people that have played the game (we count unlocking at least one achievement in a game as playing it), the TA score for an achievement can increase or decrease over time, as more people are tracked as having the game, or more people who have the game unlock the achievement.

And it's as simple as that!

TrueAchievement Scores

Adding up all of the TA scores for each of the achievements in a game gives you that game's total TrueAchievement score. Using Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare as an example again, you can see that it has a total TrueAchievement score of 1,461.

Add up all the TrueAchievement scores for the achievements a gamer has unlocked and you get their TrueAchievement score. In the example below, you can see that smrnov had a TrueAchievement score of 5,396,901 at the time of writing.

TA score

If you have a suggestion for any site features that you'd like us to cover, please let us know by posting in the comments below.
This article was updated on 24/12/2021.
Heidi Nicholas
Written by Heidi Nicholas
Heidi graduated with an MA in English Literature, and now enjoys writing news, reviews, and features across TrueAchievements and TrueTrophies. When she’s not writing, Heidi is usually either looking for her next RPG, or trying to convince the rest of the team to hear about yet another delightfully wholesome game she has found.