Com-cast Ep. 24: Achievements, What Are They Good For?


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Achievements, What Are They Good For?

  • What do achievements accomplish?
  • Is having stagnant achievement types and story completion achievements redundant and stale?
  • Are multiplayer achievements evil?
  • Do collectible achievements make it worth it or do they incentivize grinding?
  • Have achievements started to deeply impact the creation process of games?
  • What is the future of achievements?
RAM's picture

This comment was originally posted by Whiplash, due to a slight editing issue with the post it got deleted, but it is posted here in its entirety  If he wants to repost it under his own name, he can get the full text here.-RAM


I think achievements and trophies—over the course of this current generation—have actually resulted in games becoming easier to complete than games that were around when when the 360 and PS3 first launched. Because there are achievements that you have to unlock, it's expected that you get most of them in your first playthrough. So, in order to keep the achievements easily accessible, they toned down on the difficulty of the game to make it easier to get them. Look at the gulf between Call of Duty 4 and Modern Warfare 2 in terms of difficulty. By comparison, Call of Duty 4 was way more challenging than MW2, which made getting the achievements for completing X missions on Veteran difficulty harder, but they were satisfying to get and really gave you a way to boast to your friends. But, with the reduced difficulty in MW2, completing the game on Veteran was almost, in a way, expected. With most games these days, you start to see some of the more obligatory achievements that are just canon to the experience.

Some examples of these are the ones that you get for doing a specific action during the game, like The Simpsons Game, where the first achievement you unlocked was simply titled "Press START to Play", in which the description of the achievement read "Easiest achievement... ever", or games where there are achievements that pop up when you complete a chapter, such as "Arrived at the mansion" or "Defeat the Super Awesome boss". To me, these aren't really achievements in the simplest of terms. It isn't an achievement if anyone can do it. I can breathe, but it's not an accomplishment if everyone can do it.

Then there are the ones that you guys didn't mention: Achievements that unlock Avatar items, like in Gears of War 3, Halo Reach, Left 4 Dead 2, and Fable 3. I will give Microsoft some credit in trying to make Achievements more rewarding by giving you an incentive to unlock a specific achievement to unlock a special item, but it doesn't work in this because the unlockables are cosmetic. Maybe if they gave you microsoft points based on how many gamer points the achievement was worth, giving the player more incentive to get more achievements and would encourage them to play more games.

getrdun21's picture

I agree the Call Of Duty 4 was so impossibly hard to beat then add Mile High and it was the most uplifting achievements I have ever earned. Now I play veteran on my first playthroughs going blind and beat it in about a day worth time of playing. I just try and make goals like right now I just need a few thousand til I am at 100,000 but it is getting harder for me to care since my friends stopped caring about passing me up.

Solifluktion's picture

I kinda like the achievements that show me interesting things to try out. Usually there are 3 or 4 of those per game. On the other hand I really hate those "finish chapter 1, finish game on hardcore" - Achievements because they're just annoying.

darthskeletor's picture

Speaking to getrdun's point, there was a peak of achievements when they were creative and difficult, and getting them was genuinely an achievement. It was somewhere between the rough origins that you guys brought up of only 10 not very creative achievements taking the whole 1000 points, but not at today's total routinization of today's achievements in the major franchises. 

disgruntledavians's picture

Multiplayer achievements remain in my mind a fundamental disservice. They prohibit you from potentially getting a full 1000. Instead, I think that if they are to be achievements at all, they should be worth 0 points. That way, people who are insanely good and going to get there anyways have a way outside of the game itself to show it. (You know, because when Modern Warfare 2 is long gone, no one will be able to tell you were a L337 Level 70 10th prestige)

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