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After doing some digging on the matter, I think I found out just what the autistic boy did to get his gamerscore reset. It turns out there were some shenanigans surrounding the boy's acquisition of Recon armor in Halo 3.
This Spartan is lining up a headshot... on your gamerscore.
After piecing together some tidbits of information from the Twitter feeds of Xbox Live Policy Director Stephen Toulouse and the boy's mother, Jennifer Zdenek, I've figured out enough of what happened that I can probably fill in the whole story. [EDIT: Zdenek has removed her Twitter account since this blog was first published. I left the link in anyway, because I felt like it.]
Recon armor is pretty much the best thing you can have in Halo 3. It is a symbol of your domination of the game. There are two ways to get it: Bungie can give it to you directly because they think that you are awesome, or you can unlock a specific set of 7 achievements spread across Halo 3 and Halo 3: ODST called "Vidmaster Challenges." Some of them are pretty easy, like "7 on 7," the one for having 7XP in a multiplayer playlist on the 7th of the month.
Bungie really likes the number 7.I don't know why.
Others are quite difficult, like "Annual," which requires 4 players to beat the final level in co-op, on the hardest difficulty, with respawns turned off, AND without using a Warthog.
According to Zdenek, her son gave his account information to another gamer online (big no-no right there) who offered to get him Recon armor. Rather than earn them legitimately, though, the other gamer unlocked the Vidmaster achievements through external means* and returned the gamertag to the autistic child.
Since some achievements can only be unlocked online (such as most of the Vidmaster achievements), it's really easy for another player to see if these achievements are unlocked illegitimately, as they'll lack a timestamp next to them if they were unlocked offline.
This was likely brought to Microsoft's attention by an opponent on Halo 3 who saw the boy's armor. Maybe the boy underperformed in a game and someone thought he couldn't have the skills to unlock the armor legitimately. Maybe the boy cleaned up and a vindictive loser went looking for any dirt he could find to get revenge. Maybe someone is just skeptical of every Recon armor he sees. Who knows. In any case, someone likely compared achievements with the boy and discovered his Vidmaster achievements had been obtained offline, and followed suit with a complaint to Microsoft. Microsoft, upon receiving the complaint, saw the same thing and reset the boy's gamerscore, as is standard fare for people who cheat on their achievements.
STRANGER DANGER!! STRANGER DANGER!!
*I don't know exactly how one would go about cheating on their achievements, but I'm sure you can find out somewhere on the Internet. I could probably find it and link it here but I'd rather not give anyone any ideas or encourage that kind of behavior.
If I was Microsoft, i would just give him all the recon armor he wants haha.
Well, that clears things up.
A plot twist fit for M. Night Shyamalan!
BTW, if you want info on how to earn achievements through outside means, ask GI's own Dan Ryckert. There was a big scuffle a while ago when he used a cheat on the PC version of Fallout (3 I think...) to get all the achievements in less than a second in an unofficial office achievement race. On second thought, he might not exactly be inclined to answer. Your choice.
Oh and Bungie loves the number 7 because they have a 7 step plan to world domination. They're on step 6 now...
Here's the lesson, kids: kids will never lear--I mean, you never give your account info to anybody you don't know.
Nice blog what you said makes sense and is a plausible reason, The kid should just be happy he got his account back.
I'm one of those people bungie thinks is awesome :D
Got reach now and I need to earn a star nameplate but everything is a drawing contest so far :(
The kid's first retarded move in life.
First of all, who would EVER be so stupid as to give away personal information to anyone (I mean this with no intentions of offense)? Second of all, HAHAHAHAH, it was the child's fault. So...maybe MICROSOFT should sue the boy and his mother for wrongful accusations.
That was very informative, thanks much for the post! Definitely legitimizes Microsoft's decision to reset his account.
Goodjob, hopefully this is the true story( almost sure it is) I mean idk who plays Halo 3 anymore but whatever the case may have been the rules should not be bent for someone with or without a disability.
nice follow up
Very nice follow up I was very curious to see what would happen.
Well that cleared it up. Thanks for the follow up :)
Nice follow up I agree with what everyone has said to an extent. My comment from your previous blog still stands...
Isn't there a public notice on Halo 3 online that says to never (for any reason) give your account info to someone online? Nice one. This is justice---hopefully he learned something.
Wow thats some story. Hope he learned something
Reading the original headline angered me initially, but after reading this I understand where Microsoft is coming from. They have to have a "Zero Tolerance" policy on things like this deter future gamers from doing similar things. I wish Sony would do the same.