The GamerTag Series Part 2: Achievement Counselors

Eventually Paul developed relationships with Persona Designers and Image Counselors, and soon he was taking in work by referral, and assisting their clients in acquiring the G that they needed to backstop their new gaming identities, and he discovered that he had a knack for the process of picking the right sets of Achievements and building the legends for each of these new identities.

"A lot of the time you take a tough game and you do not want to have a perfect 1000 G in it, because that just gets you branded an Achievement Whore or worse, other gamers decide you hacked your Gamertag.

"There is an art to this, but you basically want to unlock all of the Achievements that would come from playing the game from start to finish, plus the Achievements that you would expect to see in a game like COD, Forza, and Gears where the gamer plays a lot of multi-player online, and you want to be sure you do it online, so that each Achievement is time-stamped.

"It is a lot easier to do this with a new ID that is just being established since they don't have friends who might want to chat, you know? Of course I had to be really careful not to do a lot of chatting, and I never had a mic plugged in because I couldn't risk talking to anyone, because a voice is a distinctive thing, but you get the idea."

By the time he finished high school Paul was pulling in serious money, though he admits that once he started college he continued to work but on a part-time basis... Unaware that he was unlocking Achievements for other gamers for pay, his college roommate was convinced that Paul was a gaming addict, since he spent most of his time playing games when he was not studying.

"When I graduate I will probably stop doing this," Paul allows. "Maybe. I don't know, it depends on whether or not I can get a job that pays more I guess."

Do you think gamer harassment is an overblown and rare event? Watch this NSFW Video on YouTube of the PAX Prime 2011 Panel that deals with the subject that helped lead to the establishment of the Gamer Identity Industry...
Creative Fiction: Manufacturing Status in Online Gaming
It appears that the profession of Achievement Counselor sprang into existence almost as soon as Achievements did, despite the fact that the G on your Gamertag is good for nothing more than bragging rights. Or perhaps it is better phrased that the profession was created because the G on your Gamertag is good for nothing more than bragging rights?

In June of 2008 in a post to the Gamespot chat board for Microsoft Xbox 360 Shawn7324 posted a thread called "Pay Someone To Get Achievements For You???" that read:

"I found a Seller on Ebay for whom you can pay to unlock Achievements for you. Since you have to send this guy your Gamer Tag & Password there wouldn't be anyway for Microsoft to crack down on this right unless he is cheating to do so??? It seems this guy is actually making good money doing so. Thoughts?"

The thoughts that were expressed widely criticized the notion, and suggested that it was probably a scam in which the Achievement Counselor was simply seeking access to steal Gamertags. In a follow-up thread the OP mentions that the bloke was only charging $1 per 100 G for his services, so they may very well have been legitimate...

In August of '08 over on the website Den of Geek, games columnist Ryan Lambie asked a similar question -- what is the sense of paying someone to unlock Achievements for you? But in his piece he illustrates the question by listing some of the Achievements that were being sold -- also on eBay -- among which was the Achievement "SERIOUSLY..." from the then current title Gears of War -- an Achievement that, though only worth a paltry 50 G, also happened to be one of the tougher Achievements in the game to unlock.

Assuming that the Achievement Counselor was offering legitimate unlocking services (meaning not simply editing the Gamerscore) it is easy to see why some gamers would actually pay for that one. It is a tough Achievement -- one that many gamers legitimately consider to be a pain in the ass to unlock.

Posted: 18th May 2012 by CMBF
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