Tagged: Achievements

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!

Achieving: A Rogue’s Tale from Spelunky

This is why I love roguelikes and especially Spelunky! I start a fresh game in the Mines, find the Udjat Eye which guides me to the Black Market once I make it to the Jungle where I could buy the Ankh which grants an unheard of second life! I’m a few thousand bucks short for the $50,000 Ankh so I carefully bomb my way around the numerous shopkeepers to get some extra jewels and gold nuggets out of the terrain. The last nugget I need is all the way on the far side of the level and my final bomb sends the shopkeepers on a rampage.

Jumping and blasting like maniacs, branding me a terrorist, they all either kill themselves on the Tiki Trap spikes or bound themselves into a small alcove… where the Ankh is. I carefully run around to the shops to loot the abandoned items and see if the coast is clear and that’s about the time a chill runs up my spine. Oh no, the Ghost is coming! I head back towards the Ankh as he appears right there on the edge of the screen and chuck four bombs into the Enraged Shopkeeper hole. It’s somehow enough to kill them all and I drop in to touch the Ankh as the ghost closes in just pixels away.

I book it back around to the exit, taking a hit from a shopkeeper but somehow avoiding certain death from another. I duck inside the exit and check to make sure “stealing” the Ankh counted for the Achievement. It did! Splendid, now I’ve got two lives and — as soon as my mind starts reeling with the possibilities I’m hit at the next exit by a patrolling shopkeeper which wastes my extra life and killed in a totally forgettable fashion shortly after. That’s how these games go; dizzying, miraculous highs followed almost immediately by crushing lows. But man, I gotta get that high again!

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

Achieving: Slide Puzzle Domination on the Vita

I AM THE TOUCH MASTER! No, not the master of the DS game Touchmaster, the master of the Vita’s generic, built-in tech demo “game”, Welcome Park. It’s a collection of sterile, mostly disinteresting minigames designed to show off the features of the hardware… but it has trophies!

To achieve this miraculous S-Rank I had to confront my lifelong nemesis: the tile-sliding picture puzzle. I’ve always been really bad at them but Welcome Park has several trophies that require finishing increasingly complex ones in less and less time. The advantage here is that you get to take the picture and it wasn’t long before I realized I could make a spreadsheet of numbers and take a photo of the monitor.

With the numbers now on screen the next hardest part was figuring out how to line up 15 tiles in 50 seconds, a feat that I thought was out of reach even after I looked up the trick to these puzzles. I tried it numerous times Friday night and got it down to the last six tiles that needed aligning but always took too much time. I was crushed when I finally finished the puzzle and found out I’d done it in 51.836 seconds. As is often the case with troublesome spots in games, though, I completely crushed it on my very first attempt the following morning. One try and 36 seconds later I’d done it and gotten the gold trophy for getting all the other trophies. PlayStation games are weird that way.

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

Achieving the hushed silence of shadowy success

A little update on my approach to Achieving before today’s story. I’ve finally amassed enough friends on Xbox that the constant pips of them coming and going has really started to get in the way. I turned off notifications recently which also includes Achievement pop-ups so I’ve been playing games pretty much like I used to. After I finish the main mode I’ll pop open the guide and see what I’ve done and what else I can aim for; it’s shaken up the typical Xbox experience for me if nothing else.

I figured Mark of the Ninja would have a few for collecting its hidden haikus and completing its level-specific challenges so I ventured back to the stages I’d missed them in. The game also has Achievements for finishing a stage without killing anyone, finishing a stage without being detected and one for doing both in the same stage. I was determined to get all three Achievements in one go, presumably on the first stage as it would be the least challenging.

A Shattered Stronghold’ was the last stage I needed a challenge seal in, one of the most complex in the game with sandstorms that obscure your view and explosive traps all over the place. The challenge was to retrieve some keys without using any ninja items so I started out with stealth kills in mind. Nevertheless, I found myself avoiding detection altogether even though I was pretty sure this wouldn’t be the stage to do it in. “This is a stupid idea,” I thought as I approached an area with criss-crossing sniper sights. Later it was a narrow passage full of loose and loud debris with guards and dangling explosives. Even with the game’s most useful ability unlocked it was amazing to see there really was a way through without so much as raising an enemy eyebrow. Even more amazing that I was able to pull it off.

By the time I saw the tally screen above I had nailed four Achievements in one super stealthy go. In fact it was so stealthy the Xbox didn’t even ba~goink at me with notifications… oh, right. The only thing I have left is finishing the New Game Plus which makes things tougher but lets me keep all my ninja gear. It’s been great so far and even with the extra challenge I’m feeling decidedly ninja-powered in dealing with these fools a second time through.

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