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.

I've also been getting back into Shadowrun, though I've switched up the races I've been playing, as I've been working towards getting the Achievements for having played 100 rounds as each of the races, and only have the Dwarf one. So I've been mixing it up with Trolls and Elves, and in doing so I've been able to experiment with using different weapons and magic that I wouldn't use as a Dwarf, particularly Gust, Teleport, Katana and the Minigun. Either way, it's keeping things fresh and fortunately not causing the overall team balance to suffer so that's always nice. As an added bonus, I got the Well Rounded Achievement for playing as each race in a Public Match, which some might say was overdue.

While on the topic of Shadowrun, some of readers of the column were kind enough to message me about the six training mission Achievements and how they are an easy 60 Gamerscore. I touched on this in the first Achievements 101 how I saw them as safeties that I could use to assist in extending my Achievement Streak as "backup" or "safety" Achievements should things come down to the wire. Well, given that I'm going to E3 this coming week, I need some quick and easy ones for Tuesday through Friday, so I'll be using the first 4 Chapters as a quick 2 minute fix to keep the streak alive without requiring a huge time investment. Hopefully this would help explain why some games I've played have some easy ones untouched and queued up.

While at E3, I'll try to get some Achievement news on the upcoming titles so I can talk about more than the bots I killed in Shadowrun. That or I can ask for their take on the Achievements part of the development process and how much thought goes into divvying up the value, difficulty, etc. Either way, next week's edition will have some E3 related information to make up for the lack of gaming progress made on my part throughout the week, as well as how I make sure my streak in maintained when traveling, which I do partake in from time to time.

When not killing Dwarves, Trolls, or Elves, I was either playing through The Darkness' campaign on Normal on a new save file, or killing terrorists in Nevada or Mexico, which is to say, playing Rainbow Six: Vegas. I started off playing some co-op of my recently (read: yesterday) red ringed comrade, APKJester, which was a good way to get into the game. We've played games and whored Achievements since Xbox 360's launch day, so we play well together, even when in new game experiences. After that we played some adversial gametypes before starting the co-op campaign on Realistic difficulty. I also did the same on the single player campaign, and have gotten onto the Strip level on Realistic, and really enjoy the challenge. The sniper rifles in the game, especially the Scout Tactical and SV-98, really work as even a secondary weapon, and the cover system essentially lets you queue up a headshot which is really effective. After E3 we'll all have to game together and have fun and perhaps boost a bit, I'll post again about the idea next week, and perhaps have a "sign up" post in between column's to schedule times etc.

On the Xbox Live Arcade side of things, I've been playing primarily Carcassonne, although I've had company over the weekend, and we've played some local multiplayer on TMNT, Aegis Wing, where I got myself the Veteran Achievement, and Carcassonne. During Aegis Wing, they got some Achievements at the same time, and when it was the same Achievement, rather than having two notifications in a row, it would just light up both quadrants on the ring of light for the Achievement, which was really cool, and the first time I saw that. Similar to the whole "2 for ##G" combination, it's nice to see that Microsoft has increased the efficiency in their notification systems.

Getting back to Carcassonne, I really like the way the Achievements are made for it. The overarching "total points" Achievements track your Ranked, Player, and Local matches for the total, rather than restricting it to rank, like Catan does. You'll notice that I already have the 5000 total points Achievement, and not many of the other ones. This is because I play primarily Ranked matches, because I tend to kick ass at them. My win/loss record is 33/13, which is definitely nothing to scoff at. Like the Chapter missions in Shadowrun, some of the Solo Match and Player match Achievements can easily be saved for later dates that may need a quickie. Fortunately, the ones that involve in-game accomplishments, like building cities with 3 or 9 Tiles are given upon completion, as opposed to the end of the game, so that should help if things ever come down to the wire.

Well, that more or less wraps up this past week for Achievements 101. Usually I give out contact information here, though since I'll be at E3, that's more or less pointless. Though, if you want, you can shoot me an email at david [at] xbox360fanboy [dot] com. I'll be back next week with hopefully some Achievement news straight from the developers, as well as any interesting happenings when trying to get Achievements whilst connected to Live in Santa Monica. Wish me luck, I just might need it.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.