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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Planning my Steam bean dive

The Steam Summer Sale is fast approaching (like two months from now) and I've been mentally and physically preparing for it by writing blog entries and playing games. My "goal" is to play games from my Steam library consistently enough to build up my Steam percentage by the time the Summer Sale begins.

The main point of this is to avoid buying games from the Summer Sale without feeling guilty.

If I go into the sale on a hot streak of playing games for two months straight, then surely I can keep the momentum going afterwards including those new game purchases, right? Hopefully, if I don't burn out by the end of it.

I've been slowly dissecting every part of my process, from the meaning behind the Steam percentage to what happens if I do/don't succeed. That last part is what I've been dwelling on the most, specifically if I do make it through this, what happens next?

I know I shouldn't put the cart before the horse, but in a weird way talking about creating more challenges for myself before finishing this one, has been encouraging. I know this journey will be long and might not have a realistic end, but knowing how long it can be and all the different challenges I might face, keeps me focused and determined to complete it.

Or it might be too much and I'll give up. Who really knows!?! I know I don't, so I say screw it and let's talk about my next challenge: the Steam Bean Dive!

Origin story

Full disclosure: the idea for this challenge is not my own. I am not trying to take credit from an idea that the fine people over at invented (at least I think they inveneted it, it's where I saw it first).

A Bean Dive is a community event they do every year, where you take all those games you have sitting around or downloaded on your harddrive with no achievements unlocked, and you pop at least one achievement in each game.

The point of this is to drive down your percentage/completion rating, and work your way back up.

I talked about this a bit in my last post, about how sometimes gamerscore or steam achievement percentages don't tell the whole story. You can be sitting pretty with a 90% completion percentage on Steam, but that could only be registering five games you've managed to play in an account showing you own 500 games.

Basically, if you really wanted to, you can create a score/percentage that tells a different story from the truth. People lie all the time about gaming stuff, so the notion that people do this is probably more realistic than not.

Over at Trueachievements the Bean Dive is meant for you to own up to those unplayed games or to pull down the facade of having a real high percentage. It's an idea that I really love, and want to apply once I get past the Summer Sale.

Not so secret dirty little secret

Not all bean divers are dirty little liars. I'm sure that's only the minority. Most gamers probably use the bean dive to catch up on all those purchases during sales or promotions.

I would imagine the Steam users have this problem more than the Xbox 360/PS3 owner. I technically have a Steam account from 2009, but it wasn't until early 2013, when I got my new Mac, that I started to build my collection of Steam games.

In just two years, I have over 103 games in my Steam account, which is about 30 plus games more than my Xbox 360 collection. And I have had an Xbox 360 since launch.

So yeah, it's easy to build a collection pretty fast because of all the sales. Daily sales, midweek deals, week long specials, weekend deals, random publisher deals, Summer Sale, Holiday sale, etc.

We all know by now that sales are never in short supply on Steam. I was buying games even when I hadn't touch my Steam library for months.

Fortunately, the wealth of sales isn't as abundant on Xbox live, so my library hasn't grown as fast. They do have weekly deals with gold and random spotlight sales, but the selections are more limited than you would see on Steam. Also those don't get too crazy, they usually keep the mega specials for their holiday sales.

Because of that I never really felt compelled to participate in the bean dive. Raising my percentage was always a needs to do item on my list, but rarely would I have more than one or time game sitting in my collection without a single achievement.

The complete opposite is in effect with my Steam library. And as much as I've written about my percentage changing back and forth between one percent, I shudder to think how big of a dive it'll take if I start activating all the games with achievements on my account.

A new challenger the distance

The Steam achievement percentage is calculated a bit differently than your Xbox 360 gamerscore. For one, you don't have to actually unlock your first achievement for that game to count towards your score. As soon as you load the game and Steam tracks the playtime, it gets added to your completion percentage.

All those games I let sit idle in the background so that I could get Steam Cards for? They are part of my completion percentage. That's why I freaked out when I started playing LEGO Marvel Superheroes and my percentage instantly went down, even after getting five achievements. The 38% I had been obsessing over on my profile is inaccurate and actually a whole lot lower.

I'm having a lot of fun playing Marvel Superheroes, and pushing myself to play the games in my Steam library has encouraged me to play this game rather than sitting around and not. I'm enjoying it a lot, so much so that I will probably 100% it before the Summer Sale. Hopefully.

But now I have a decision to make. Will the next game I play be one that I already have contributing to my Steam percentage, or not?

I didn't know LEGO Marvel Superheroes wasn't, but now that I'm aware that my percentage is compiled only from 40 games in my library, do I keep dropping it by playing the games like LEGO Marvel, with no playtime at all? Or do I work at the games that are already contributing, so that I can keep rising my percentage, even though I know it's not telling the whole story?

The compromise I've decided to make for myself is to play the games that are currently part of the 40 that Steam is calculating my percentage from. I'll play those games, continue to bump up my percentage, and then bean dive it all the way back down after the Summer Sale.

I feel like this would be the best way to keep me focused going forward, and to really stress the fact that I need to play more games than I buy. Right now I'm playing catch up, and after the Summer Sale there will be even more for me to catch up on.

The point of this current challenge was to compensate for my percentage going down after I added whatever games I bought from the Summer sale. I knew my percentage was going to take a hit, but now that I know there's a much bigger hit for it to take I figure I'd get it out of the way and do the bean dive after the sale.

There are 14 games with achievements that I have not currently calculated into my Steam percentage. Between those games, is 379 achievements.

To put that into perspective, I currently have 497 achievements from 40 different games.

Regardless of what my true percentage is; it's easy to see that I haven't put any effort into playing my Steam games. I need to light a fire under my ass and start playing them.

I don't want to completely crush my hopes and dreams at the moment, which is why I'm going to stay focused with my current task. But now I know that once the Summer Sale ends, the real challenge begins.

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