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Gamerscore cheaters get punished and branded

Fresh from his much deserved vacation, Major Nelson sends word that last night, Microsoft dealt with Gamerscore cheaters / boosters with a highly concentrated dose of punishment.

Those gamers who Microsoft targeted as being the greatest Gamerscore abusers have just had their entire Gamerscore wiped to a more appropriate 0GS. This wipe also prevents abusers from being able to go back and earn Gamerscore from already unlocked achievements, but they'll still be able to live a pure life and earn new achievements in the future. But we have to say the best punishment of all is the fact that all Gamerscore cheaters will now carry a mark of shame (seen above) that's branded on the cheater's Xbox.com Gamercard. How fashionable. You can learn more about the punishment, how cheaters are targeted and what goes down over on Xbox.com. Also, be sure to heckle anyone you see sporting the mark of shame. Give it to 'em good, make 'em cry!

Major Nelson: don't share accounts or cheat at Gamerscore

Major Nelson has posted a warning on his blog to all the folks out there thinking about sharing their Xbox Live accounts or using altered game saves to cheat at Gamerscore. In short, don't do either one. Major Nelson uses the example of giving someone your account so they can gather all the skulls in Halo 3 for you. If said person were to download XBLA games or movies onto that account, there is basically nothing Microsoft can do for you. The only recourse is for Microsoft to cancel the account altogether, and you'll still be out any MS Points spent by whoever you gave your account to.

Major Nelson also lays down a warning to anyone using artificial means to increase their Gamerscore. He notes that such accounts may have their gamerscore removed altogether and any achievements earned on such an account will not be able to be reacquired. And, as you might expect, such an account (and the console on which it resides) could also be banned from Xbox Live entirely.

We're not sure what prompted the warning (an increase in one or both activities perhaps), but we're sure it's good advice. Besides, what's the point of cheating to get Gamerscore? Where's the fun in that? Remember kids, if you cheat to inflate your Gamerscore, you're no better than a pro athlete.

X3F Achievements 101: Pre-E3 lull

Welcome to another edition of the weekly Gamerscore whoring extravaganza, X3F Achievements 101. As usual, I'll discuss the last week in unlocking Achievements, or discuss any news that's especially pertinent to the Achievement obsessed. Unfortunately, this week was pretty light, with E3 just around the corner, there wasn't much spare time to grind through any games. I didn't rent anything this week, but I did get my feet wet with Rainbow Six: Vegas, as well as made a couple discoveries whilst playing some Arcade titles locally with friends.

Continue reading X3F Achievements 101: Pre-E3 lull

X3F Achievements 101: Dragonriding Swashbucklers

So the previous week has come to a close and I'm back with another glorious edition of X3F Achievements 101. The past seven days had some serious grinding behind it as I finished off the amazingly tedious Eragon. Hopefully Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End be a third time's charm for film-to-game adaptations. I'll also give my interpretation of the release of the Halo 3 Achievements, which took the interwebs by surprise this week. Either way, there's a lot to cover from the past week, so let's get started.

Continue reading X3F Achievements 101: Dragonriding Swashbucklers

X3F Achievements 101: Bots, Bosses and Babalities

X3F Achievements 101 is back, and on its regularly scheduled time slot of Sundays. Initial response to our first edition was rather positive, so we're glad you like the concept and hope you enjoy reading, and even participating in the column. Emails with Achievement tips also came in at a good pace, and I look forward to playing and trading with you. One particular email stood out, which came from Casey over at brains-N-brawn.com, and the steps he took to get Achievements in one of the most time consuming Arcade games, Bejeweled 2.

Continue reading X3F Achievements 101: Bots, Bosses and Babalities

Eets Achievements edibly available

Yesterday, to go along with the announcement of the double header Wednesday with Eets: Chowdown and Pinball FX, the guys over at Xbox 360 Achievements uncovered all the Achievements for Eets: Chowdown, while having had Pinball FX's set for a while now. So go ahead and take a quick peek and what you'll be shooting for in the puzzle game. We're kinda craving a Double Marshoburger ourself. That being said we're kind of curious
why "Smoreland" is worth 0 Gamerscore. Anyway, the game looks promising, will you be playing it tomorrow?

Oblivion's new achievements from Shivering Isles

Xbox360Achievements.org posted the achievements to Oblivion's newly hatched first born Shivering Isles. And if you're keen to remember, Oblivion will be the first game to go over the 1000 Gamerscore limit with its Shivering Isles expansion adding an additional 250 Gamerscore points (per Microsoft's new Gamerscore rules). The sad part of all this expansion happiness is that the achievements are rather ... how do we say this ... dull. They lack that creative flair, that personality, and RPG originality. Bethesda must have used up their creativity reserves on the actual game, because they included a rather lame achievement which guarantees a 20 Gamerscore boost just for purchasing the expansion called the "Tourist" achievement. Oh well, a huge expansion offering an additional 250 Gamerscore points ... who could possibly complain?

[Via Live Gamer]

Real Time Worlds has MS raise total Achievement limit

When David Jones of Real Time Worlds was looking at the ideas for Achievements for Crackdown, they had at around 200 or so to choose from. Jones said he wanted to just reward gamers for doing what they do best, having fun. When Microsoft told them they were allowing a total of 50, David felt that would cripple the whole concept of how they were going to approach the game's Achievements. So, when Microsoft recently altered their policy on Gamerscore, they also moved the total Achievements to 80 at Real Time Worlds' request. This gave Crackdown some breathing room with the upcoming 100 and potential 250 Gamerscore add-ons. Hopefully with proper feedback, their new content will be as fun and fulfilling as the current list. What Achievements would you want to see on top of the current set in Crackdown?

Xbox Rewards Revamped [update 1]

Due to issues with the servers overloading at the Xbox Rewards site, the guys at GamerscoreBlog announced that they would be extending the Old Spice Challenge to April 15th. This gives you an extra month three days to rack up your Gamerscore by 1,500 and they even added supply to the rewards so that more gamers can win. When we got word that the policy had been updated, there were brief hopes of broadening the access to the program, but given how much traffic they're getting, that obviously was not the case. Still, they say the site will be back up and running within the next 48 hours. If you haven't gotten in already, are you going to try now that the rules have been amended?

[Thanks PacoDG]

Update: Barbie says "Math is hard."

Fans to decide missing Crackdown points

Some time ago, we reported that Crackdown will ship with only 900 gamerscore points available. It was later revealed that Crackdown's missing 100 points would be made available via downloadable content. This week, Major Nelson's blogcast reveals the way in which those points will be doled out. During an interview with Aaron Greenberg, it was revealed that Realtime Worlds, developer of Crackdown, will be monitoring what people do while playing the game. They'll be keeping track of the most popular achievements to see what players are doing in Crackdown. Realtime Worlds will then create new achievements based on what they observe. For example, if everyone playing Crackdown is going for the rocket launcher juggling achievements, Realtime Worlds may add another achievement that expands on that. We love the idea of adding achievements based on how people play the game. It would be interesting to see other developers take this approach as well.

Are there any Achievements you'd like to see added to Crackdown?

[Via DarkZero. Thanks, SoonerBill]

New at MGC.net: are you a completionist?

For 360 users, gamerscore is the ultimate metric. It's a quick, easily referenced and categorized example of what kind of gamer you are. At least, it used to be. Gamerscore is great as a generalization of your skills, but it doesn't tell a story. Introducing the completion leaderboard on MyGamerCard.net. Sure, you might have a high gamerscore, but how did you get it? Did you buy 10 games and complete them all, or did you rent 20 and only play them halfway? The completion leaderboard takes your gamerscore and multiplies it by your overall completion percentage. The result is an adjusted score that reflects your skill and your dedication (my adjusted score sits at a literarily relevant 1984). Think of it as the Gamerscore equivalent of the ever popular KPD (kills-per-death) ratio.

So, gamerscore kings could potentially be brought down to earth, giving a boost to more modest and persistent gamers. How does your gamerscore hold up when you run it through the completion ringer?

Shivering Isles to get 250 Gamerscore boost

Last week the policy for Gamerscore and Achievements was standardized to make sure that gamers got a full 1000 points per retail game, with downloadable content able to bring in an extra 250 points. In Episode 2 of our podcast we mentioned Shivering Isles being a fine example of giving Achievements on top of the game's original 1000. Well, now it's official, Oblivion's Shivering Isles expansion will have an additional 10 Achievements worth 250 Gamerscore bringing it to a total of 1250. This marks the first game to have more than 1000 available Gamerscore, and hopefully will set the proper standard for other developers to follow. So, with the promise of more Achievements, are you more interested in getting the Shivering Isles expansion, or does it even matter?

[Via Digg]

Xbox Rewards announced

Last week we gave word about a rumor regarding rewards for getting Achievements. Now xbox.com has the full details. Starting on February 12th, U.S. Residents will get the opportunity to get some free swag for increasing their Gamerscore by 1,500 points within a month in the "Old Spice Experience Challenge". Also, to make the deal sweeter for those who already have been actively unlocking Achievements, they have three tiers of prizes, based on your annual Gamerscore increase. Less than 5000 Gamerscore will be Level 1, where you can win Contra, a gamer pic, and a level upgrade. The second tier is for gamers with 5000 to 9999 Gamerscore, and will net the same rewards as Level 1 as well as 100 Microsoft Points. Those of you who have 10,000 annual Gamerscore or more are part of the third and final Level, and can win the aforementioned prizes, as well as an Old Spice T-shirt, 200 total Microsoft Points and a copy of Fuzion Frenzy 2.

Not bad for beating one-and-a-half games, especially if you have just over 10,000 Gamerscore. If you're looking for some ideas on how to maximize your efficiency, you don't have to look hard. So, are you going to sign up? And for those of us who can't join due to being geographically impaired, when do you think your locale will be added into the mix?

[Thanks, Darksaviour69]

New gamerscore policy just makes sense

BIGVIP over at the Gamerscore Blog wrote up an article discussing what they've done for the gamerscore system on the 360. Microsoft has talked with developers and set clear rules pertaining to a game's gamerscore. All games here on out will be required to offer 1,000 gamerscore and all arcade games need 200. No part of the gamerscore can come from purchased XBLM content, but free downloadable content is fine. Also, any new expansion packs or new downloadable content can offer an additional 250 gamerscore for normal games and an additional 50 for arcade games.

Most Xbox 360 games have stuck to the 1,000 gamerscore rule, but some have ventured away from it like Microsoft's yet to be released Crackdown. It only offers a 900 gamerscore ... come on Microsoft, can't you follow your own rules? But you'll be happy to know that they will offer an extra 100 gamerscore for Crackdown via a separate download or additional free content. And now to you, what do you think about this new standardization of the gamerscore?

Rumor: Achievements Unlocking Rewards for Gamers?

Deacon Blade of Unscripted360 broke a very interesting story this morning. Apparently, he and some fellow MVPs came across at "torn document" that contained intriguing ideas for the future of the Xbox 360, and more importantly, its Achievement and gamerscore system. According to Deacon, Xbox is working alongside sponsors to initiate a program in February to reward gamers for their Achievements. Participation is free of charge, and the number of prizes are limited, although you will need to register to get in. We don't know if this will be limited to Xbox Live Gold subscribers, or open to Silver as well, but don't be surprised if only paying customers are eligible. Gamesaving was also brought up on the document as a "top priority", and will supposedly be taken care of.

All in all, the release of this information seems a little fishy. It's very likely that Microsoft gave the go ahead for its high ranking community members to give a few tidbits of information without revealing much more than the concept. Deacon, and the others at the event probably know more than they're letting on regarding the program, and just want to leave people wanting more and thus building hype. Well, it's working. We're excited about this opportunity for casual and hardcore gamers alike to get free stuff for playing games, what about you? And how do you expect Microsoft to circumvent the current, albeit neutered, gamesaving from exploiting the idea of rewards?

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