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Make More Sense Of Your Achievements With TrueAchievements

| 11 Feb 2009 13:57
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Want to see if you measure up? Try TrueAchievements, a new site dedicated to addressing the seeming randomness of Achievement scores that's currently in open beta.

The concept is simple: Achievement points are awarded arbitrarily, which eliminates any relevance they may have outside the confines of individual games. The site points out that Just Cause awards five Achievement points for completing ten side missions, while The Simpsons Game hands out the same amount for just pushing the start button; similarly, Avatar: The Burning Earth gives out 1000 points for achieving a hit counter of 50, which the site says takes about five minutes, while Guitar Hero III won't cough up that many until you complete the entire game, including the "Inhuman" Achievement.

In response to this inequity, the team at TrueAchievements has come up with a system that better reflects a gamer's skill and accomplishments across a wide range of games. "We've decided that an Achievement's difficulty can be accurately approximated by using a formula based on how many people have that Achievement compared to how many people own the game," the site says. "We also understand the phrase 'accurately approximated' is a contradiction in terms but are refusing to remove it on the grounds that it sounds impressive. From there we multiply the original points given to the Achievement by our difficulty score and end up with the TrueAchievement score for that, for want of a better word, achievement."

The sum of these TrueAchievement scores, then, represents the awkwardly named GamerTrueAchievement, a presumably more accurate representation of mad gamer skillz. Unlike standard GamerScores, TrueAchievement scores can fluctuate as the proportion of game owners who have earned a particular Achievement changes. "The reason your score has gone down overnight is due to the relative number of achievement winners compared to game owners for your achievements going up. This could be due to an existing user gaining the achievement, or a new user registering that has won the achievement," the site says. "But conversely, if a new user registers that has the game but not the achievement, or an existing user buys the game, the score for that achievement, and your score in turn, will go up as your achievement becomes more rare."

So what's the point? It's another way to measure your... self against other gamers, I guess. Along with a revamped scoring system, the site includes leaderboards, game reviews, forums, Achievement solution guides and other standard gaming site features. There are no fees for using the site and no "premium membership" options that reserve functionality for paying users. That could change once the site comes out of beta, although it's unlikely; "alternative scoring" might be fun to toss around among your gamer buddies but I don't see it as something worth paying for.

But it's free for now, so sign up and give it a shot. A word of warning, however: TrueAchievements has been getting a lot of attention from news sites and as a result is being hammered by the resulting influx of new users. New accounts are taking longer than normal to process, and at the time of this post - nearly two hours after I first registered - my Achievements have yet to be recognized by the site. Have patience!

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