The Zed to Zed Podcast: The Show For Xbox Achievement Hunters and Gamerscore Junkies

The show for Xbox achievement hunters and Gamerscore junkies! We discuss topics relating to Xbox gaming, Gamerscore, achievements, and Gamerscore. Did we mention Gamerscore?
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Apr 13, 2016

017 - The GRAW Special with Christian Allen

Christian Allen, CEO of Serellan LLC and lead designer for Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter (amongst many other things) joins us for a chat about GRAW, achievements, game development, and lots more. Oh, and Crandy finishes GRAW (spoiler alert!).

Show notes are available on

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Opening/closing music: "Jive Bot" by Jake Kaufman from the game Mighty Switch Force! developed and published by WayForward Technologies

Break music: "Game Cool Dubstep Mode Logo" by Sparximer

All audio production and podcast backend support provided by Tarragon Allen.

Show notes by everyone!


Brandon Fream aka "Freamwhole" - TrueAchievements - Xbox

Tarragon Allen aka "zzUrbanSpaceman" - TrueAchievements - Xbox

Randy aka "Crandy" - TrueAchievements - Xbox


Christian Allen of Serellan LLC

0:00:00 - Intro

0:02:52 - Talking Zeds: Guest Christian Allen

0:51:27 - Talking Zeds: Achievements Suck

  • GRAW Terminology - Cycle: Moving up and down four levels (In ranked matches)
    • Invisible XP points
    • Based on ELO system, not TrueSkill
    • Designed before Xbox and Microsoft knew what achievements were going to be - Gary Stelmack driving the show on achievements
    • Originally layered achievements for the leaderboard - before 50 achievement limit
    • Seriously?
    • Shipped with 890GS
    • First time doing a ranking system in Ghost Recon
    • Set up like Chess (LINK)
    • GRAW Terminology – Blocking: Intentionally trying to prevent others from climbing a leaderboard and preventing others from earning the achievement.
    • Kane & Lynch Blocking Clan
    • BAFTA Game Of The Year Win and Worst Achievement Awards

1:07:15 - How Have You Seen Achievements Change and How Much Do You Hate Them?

1:14:10 - Are You Surprised At The Lengths People Go Through For Achievements?

1:30:02 - Microtransactions according to Christian

1:43:40 - Voice Acting in Epsilon

1:47:45 - Talking Zeds: The GRAW Journal

    • Starflight
    • 5.25” Floppy Disk
    • The GRAW Journal
    • Boosting
    • ~300 traditional cycles for for team/solo leaderboards
    • Yes GRAW is still possible! (just extremely time consuming)
    • Time to complete GRAW ~five months playing eight hours a day
    • Christian Allen thought "achievements are stupid" on original pitch from Microsoft
    • GRAW consistently winning worst achievements ever
    • Committed (Multiplayer) was not supposed to be eight consecutive hours
    • What achievements have become
    • Christian Allen on gaming habits of a game designer
      • Arcade games
      • The Division
      • Fallout 3/NV/4
      • Dead Rising 1/2/3
      • Ryse


  • "I'll get to it after GRAW"


  • Crandy's post GRAW ratio dive
    • My Horse and Me 2
    • Hannah Montana
    • Monster High
    • Barbie and Her Sisters Puppy Rescue
    • Even more!
  • Christian Allen on Takedown: Red Sabre and Kickstarter
    • Gaming nostalgia
    • Social media harassment
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • Ubisoft corporate training
    • "you-be-soft" not "oo-be-soft"
    • Toilet logo
  • Ad nostalgia in GRAW
  • Dodge® cars are good cover in GRAW 2

2:37:25 - Talking Zeds: Zombie Interlude

  • Zombie books
  • Threat matrix (includes zombie apocalypse planning)


  • 3389 days 21 hours 29 minutes later

2:43:40 - Shovelware Cemetery: Hotel Blind

3:10:10 - Shovelware Cemetery: GRAW

  • Too Brown
  • Looks like a ten year old game
  • Those achievements, wtf
  • Too many big maps
  • Can’t use rockets akimbo
  • Gunplay, damage and movement is “unrealistic”, unlike COD

3:15:43 - Talking Zeds: Wrap up

  • Brandon offering guided tours thru Destiny
  • Randy offering to play GRAW 2 (More Drinking!)

3:17:01 - Housekeeping and Recap

3:27:11 - Listener Feedback

  • iTunes Canada feedback from TheNyghty
  • AB0MINAT10N: Clarify power brick tangent from Randy
    • In short, throw out the power brick not from your region on your import console, and just use an in-country power adapter.
  • Randy & Brandon explain how not to fix a RROD…
  • Sinicide IiI
    • Brandon apologizes for butchering the name.
    • When do you release the show?
      • Wednesday night Australia / Wednesday morning US.
  • Saucy Slingo: Tarragon makes a guest appearance in OXENFREE
  • Griffey95: Comprehensive list of demo games with achievements?
    • Tron Runner
    • Kung Fu Panda: Legend of the Legendary Legends
    • Dead or Alive 5
    • Killer Instinct
    • Make a ZedtoZed list?
  • Montana97: Do I need to eject external HDD before disconnecting them?
    • Unknown if you pull it while in use.  Maybe turn off the console before you remove. Editor’s note: generally it’s probably fine to pull it whenever, but you may cause some hiccups if it’s saving a game at the time. Note that game saves are always stored on the internal drive and the cloud though.
  • GRAW (Drink!) Questions
    • Facial: Favorite game in the GRAW series? Excited for Wild lands?
      • Brandon has never played a GRAW game
      • Randy has only played the original GRAW (No substitutes)
      • Jury is still out for Wild lands, but skeptical.
      • Don’t give a company money in advance for 2 years in the future.  Finance 101.
  • xXxB1G311xXx: That guy?
    • Please stop mentioning GRAW? (Drink)… Doubtful.
    • GRAW has uneven Gamerscore (So you have to do the leaderboard to be even)
  • Salsbar: How can I get the leaderboard achievements to even up my gamerscore?
  • Anno Mundi: Would you recommend I try for the leaderboard achievements at this point? How much did it cost you for the gold subs?
    • Randy says “No”. Cost of 8 accounts with Gold. So apx $80 a month.
  • jjaldana: The leaderboard achievements takes about 6 months of playing all day everyday. This account for 8 hours of sleep days.
  • YODA12320: Yes what other than graw do you talk about..
    • Listen to past Podcast episodes.  ;-)
  • IXI B1G3L1 IXI: Since GRAW is rated T for Teen, when does your mom say you will be allowed to play games that are rated M?
    • Randy’s mom will allow him to play rated M games if he chooses, since he is such a big boy.
  • People are still pulling a Fream! (Marknocturnal, Damien, WebChimp UK: did it in Roblox and Project Spark)

3:50:51 - News

3:59:03 - Game Delays and Backwards Compatibility

4:00:50 - Zombie News

4:02:52 - Outro


Glossary of Xbox Gamerscore and achievement jargon and terms: