"Spam" Achievement Games Now Have A Capped Score On TrueSteam

By TrueSteam, 9 months ago
Of the 1,000,000+ achievements that TrueSteamAchievements currently tracks, you may be surprised to learn that over 65% of these are tied to games which the achievement-hunting community has branded as “achievement spam”.

What are achievement spam games?

The definition is a little subjective and should be based on a per-game basis, but to put it more broadly, these games will throw hundreds, sometimes thousands of achievements at you with little-to-no effort required.

This trend could trace its routes to a little game that was released back in October 2016: Zup!. The object of this puzzle game was simple: get an object from A to B by exploding boxes. It is a fun little title and all of the levels can be completed in just over an hour, but what made this game popular was the amount of achievements you could earn by completing the levels. The achievement icons even feature numbers and letters to help decorate your Steam profile via the Achievement Showcase panel. Steam Spy currently projects that over 175,000 currently own the game which shows just how popular it was, so popular that it’s spawned a further eight sequels. Adding up all of the achievements in the Zup! Series, you can amass a total of 13,331 for a whopping 143,232 TSA score.

As a result of this, other game developers caught wind of the success of Zup! and have been churning out low-effort asset flips with thousands of achievements in the hope that they can repeat this success. While this has split the opinion of many achievement hunters, the fact is that these “spam” games have plagued Steam for the last 18 months which has had a knock-on effect here on TSA. Many users scores have ballooned and the argument of “pay to win” has cropped on the forums – buying your way to the top of the leaderboards. This in turn has brought up the discussions of how these games have devalued the leaderboards and that playing enough of these games can aid significantly in your progression on them.

Capping the score of spam games

We’ve listened to your feedback and have decided to take action. We’ll be implementing a system whereby any and all games that are marked as “spam games” will incur a 200 point cap to their total "base" score - beforehand each achievement would have been worth 10 points, now they are worth 200 divided by the number of achievements in the game.

The reason we’ve decided to install a cap on these games is to eliminate any “pay-to-win” aspects on the leaderboards, and whilst we don’t want to strictly discourage the purchase and playing of these games, we feel there’s an unfair advantage in the usage of these games to abuse the TSA scoring system. These games will still count towards your completion percentage, your completed games and your site ratio.

When we have enough data collected on a new game, the scanners use an algorithm we have designed to determine whether it is actually a game which comprises of spammy achievements.

The algorithm uses various factors, including the total achievements in the game, the completion factor, and the average time taken to unlock each achievement.

The algorithm is currently in version 1.0 and is subject to tweaks and changes. If you’ve played any of these achievement spam games, you’ll notice that your score will have dropped depending on how many you’ve actually played; for some this will be a lot. We welcome any and all feedback on this decision, so please let us know.

Paginated achievement pages

We’ve also taken steps to improve the achievement list pages of these spam games by implementing a pagination system. Previously, it would take an age to load the achievement page due to the sheer number of achievement that the site needed to load (in Zen vs. Zombie’s case, over 10,000 of them). Now, any games that house more than 1,000 achievements will have them listed 1,000 achievements per page.