Tagged: Achievements

Achieving: Platinum, finally

Can you believe it’s been nearly two and a half years since I posted about a dumb achievement? The proverbial itch has apparently been scratched. Over the last console generation I played most everything on Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 exclusives I did dive into weren’t usually the ones to get Platinum trophies. So here I am in 2015 all proud that I basically just played a ton of Rocket League.

You’ll hit most of the trophies in the game just by playing it for a while. The unlocks come at the end of almost every five-minute match. Blasting around after the ball you’ll inevitably hit one in while driving backwards as well as bump an opponent into the ball for a goal. Many of them you can unlock just by setting up bot matches. But the ones that took the longest were finally playing online with a friend (aww, how sad) and racking up 50km on a single set of decorative tires. It finally popped though, in the middle of an uneventful match, and now I have a Platinum trophy and Yay and whatever. Let’s go play some more Rocket League already!

Achieving: Tales of Pointless Self Reward in Games retold in brief posts whenever we feel like it.

My first 200 hours in Grand Theft Auto V (Part 2: Online)

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As obsessed as I was about seeing as much of the single player content as possible, I had no idea how possessed I would get once Grand Theft Auto Online rolled out. I stuck with it after the shaky launch and found a different kind of San Andreas than the world Trevor, Michael and Franklin inhabit. I’m a no-good thug, fresh off the plane and in town to meet my LifeInvader pal, Lamar. He basically hands me a gun and throws open the gates to the world; a confusing new place where I’m a criminal jack-of-all-trades.

Like the fervor around the launch of Portal and Fez part of the fun has been figuring out how this peculiar MMOGTA works. Rockstar filled the game with grinding, loot and quest givers like any other MMO but they wrote a bunch of their own rules and didn’t bother explaining them all. Passive mode makes you immune to player abuse, unless you get in a car. The world is full of ATMs that you can stash your cash in but you can also use your phone for convenient online banking. Races and respawns cost money. Your apartment comes with daily utility fees. I’ve posted a few times as I’ve discovered how it all works and now that I’ve gotten farther in things are really getting crazy.

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At any time the open world around you is crawling with distractions. If it’s not driving to a clothing store to see what your last level-up unlocked it’s an impromptu gang attack, an armored truck packed with money, a convenience store yet to be robbed or a random player to greet/grief. All of that sits alongside starting points for nearly 100 races, 72 deathmatches, 6 Horde style survival games, parachuting and team deathmatches.

What you could call story missions pop up frequently from your cellphone contacts and work much like regular GTA missions only you can invite your friends. These linger on the “drive here, kill these guys, drive back” formula for quite a while but soon it gets interesting. Stealing tankers as they barrell across the highway is much easier with multiple gunmen. Bringing a helicopter full of gun-toting friends to bear on a sky-high construction site is much more exciting than attempting it alone. The most elaborate mission I’ve been a part of so far eclipses even the single player stuff with multiple gunfights, invasions and even hacking.

All of this has been even more all-consuming since we decided to buy a second copy of the game. Finding a game with an interesting online mode that Katy and I are both interested in at the same time hardly ever happens. GTA Online has paid for itself a million times over in ridiculous knife fights, accidental explosions, frantic Survival rounds, racing shenanigans, and bluntly honest fashion advice. Joined by a regular, nightly crew of friends I’ve finally found that unrelentingly fun multiplayer experience that so many have had this console generation.

My first 200 hours in Grand Theft Auto V (Part 1: Single Player)

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I’ve just topped 200 hours in Grand Theft Auto V so I thought I’d answer your probable first question, “what the hell are you doing in that game all the time!?”. After 93 hours I wrapped up the single player story and completed the 100% checklist which, somewhat perplexingly doesn’t require you to do everything in the game. Still, it was a feat of fun and dedication that I enjoyed completely… mostly.

You’ve probably heard it already but the heists in the game are definitely the highlight. Going over the planning board, choosing your approach and crew, running little missions to recon or acquire gear build up some of the game’s best moments. What really sucked me in, though, is the world that Rockstar created. So many little details at every turn solidify San Andreas as a real place that I couldn’t pull myself out of. One-off conversations you overhear, the random people out on hiking trips or picnics, the handwritten in-game Internet that hooks right into the game world. Websites point to secrets and even start whole mission chains which wind up unlocking some of the game’s mysteries and teasing you with others.

Even after the gargantuan credits finally stop scrolling each character has a good post-game moment that let’s you know Rockstar isn’t finished yet. This is where I really got started on the 100% checklist and other unfinished business because I was honestly saddened at the idea of leaving this world. Little did I know that once GTA Online sorted out its launch-week woes I wouldn’t have to worry about ever leaving San Andreas again. Check back tomorrow for a lengthy recount of my time as a strong, silent, fashionably confused Ginger fumbling into Rockstar’s online world.

E3: Xbox One Achievements fully detailed

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While the world is busy screaming about Microsoft’s more outrageous moves with Xbox One some good news did slip out of E3 regarding Microsoft Points and Achievements.

Microsoft announced at their Media Briefing that the old Points currency would be going away with Xbox One. Joystiq got hold of a spokesperson during the show who confirmed that existing Xbox 360 Microsoft Points would be taken to a duty free shop and converted to real-world dollars on Xbox One. It’s good to hear because I assumed my Microsoft Points were forever locked to the 360. Now I can come over to the One with some cash to blow on stupid themes and junk.

Next up is word from Microsoft’s Cierra McDonald on the changes coming to Achievements on Xbox One and there’s a lot to cover. There are now two kinds of Achievements; the typical Gamerscore-boosting kind that will always be available to unlock and Challenges that are time-based and unlock various awards but not Gamerscore.

The idea behind the split is to make sure that every game always has a bunch of Achievements that can be unlocked whether you bought the game on launch day or five years later. Expect the multiplayer-focused or “viral” Achievements that were impossible to get after a game’s popularity died off to become Challenges.

Challenges are time-sensitive and can be updated by publishers as trends develop around their games. Say everyone loves shooting guards in the knee with arrows, the publisher can run a challenge to reward all players who make kneeshots over a peried of time. Challenges can also span titles so your progress in one game could be counted towards a challenge in its sequel. Instead of rewarding players with Gamerscore, challenges can unlock digital artwork, new maps, characters or buff items. It sounds kinda gross but the current alternative is buying all that stuff as paid DLC which is way, way grosser.

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Both Achievements and Challenges can trigger the Game DVR feature so if the game knows you’re about to land your 1,000th headshot it can prompt you to save or share the moment. The Achievements dashboard has also been greatly expanded with progress towards Achievements now visible outside of the game and a more detailed list of what your friends have been up to.

The long-rumored Achievements system for non-game apps is also finally happening. Examples given were video and music apps unlocking “sneak peek content, early access or subscription extensions” for performing certain tasks. Rest easy, though, as none of this stuff will reward Gamerscore. Achievements for games are just that although “appchievements” may appear alongside game Achievements on your profile.

Given how coy they’ve been about used game policy and the like, I’d say this Achievement information is downright thorough. About the only question I have left is if they’ll be changing the ‘ba~goink’ sound when an Achievement pops up.

Wordament now an Xbox-enabled web game too

Microsoft continues expanding their “Xbox everywhere” efforts and Wordament is once again the blunt tip of the spear. Wordament, the former Windows Phone exclusive word find recently jumped to iOS complete with Xbox Live Avatars and Achievements and has now made its way into a web beta. You can sign in and play the game right now on Xbox.com to unlock Achievements and watch your Avatar dance around when you find a word.

By this point the prospects for future Xbox initiatives is much more interesting than Wordament itself. Seeing core Xbox features like Avatars, friend lists and Achievements hop to multiple platforms is exciting enough to make me envision a future where my Xbox life is always at hand. Their efforts are still a little cludgy and development seems slow going but I’m nonetheless interested in seeing how all this folds into the next Xbox experience. And if nothing else this means two more chances to S-Rank Wordament Achievements!