As someone who actively seeks out achievements, I regularly find myself agitated at what seems to be the basic structure of the standard achievement list for any given game. That structure seems to be that there simply isn’t one. From any given game to the next the lists vary dramatically, making them increasingly more agonizing for someone who likes to get achievements. Sometimes it can even kill the experience entirely for players who like to 100 percent games, because they hit a wall where the achievements are either A: too complex to obtain or B: they require so much of a repetitive task that the player just stops trying (or the dreaded C: outcome that is multiplayer based achievements).

27_ssf4ach01

Fighting games tend to have bad achievements

From the games I have played, the lists (while having seemingly no structure) seem to be broken down like this: 50-60% are single player related achievements like complete any level; around 30% of the achievements are awful multiplayer achievements like beat any five of your friend’s time on this level by four minutes or win twenty rounds of X while on this map that you hate; and less than 20% are the bread and butter of achievement lists. Those are the ones that are actually creative and make players want to go obtain them. These could be anything from find the hidden monster in this level to find the chest in the warp zone that holds this totally rad weapon.

In a perfect world for the players who actually like to reach 100% completion in games, the list should break down like this. Single player campaigns should net players around 80% of the achievements, those should be the general level completion and story completed achievements. Mixed into that should also be the collectable achievements, but they should be done with the players time in mind. Far Cry 3 did this really well. It only required the player to get around sixty percent of the collectables throughout the enormous island. It felt like the developer knew that they had scattered a plethora of collectables and realized not everyone has the time to get all of them so they made the achievement easier to obtain. Then for those that actually went out of their way to get them all, they were rewarded with in game upgrades. Once single player achievements are wrapped up with a nice little bow on them, the developers should focus on the things a lot of players enjoy, creative achievements. These typically tend to stick in people’s minds as one of the high points for the game. An enjoyable memory for time well spent trying to obtain achievements. An achievement like this is Dog Whistle in South Park: The Stick of Truth. It requires players to fart on a dog while in gnome form. That is the type of creativity that is needed in achievements. It’s quick, simple and it gives the player a few laughs. These achievements should be worth 15% of the total Gamerscore for the game, if not coupled into the single player experience.

Far-Cry-3-3-

If the developer feels multiplayer achievements are absolutely necessary (though I personally would like it if they disappeared completely) the developers should stray away from the annoying achievements like: play 500 rounds of X, beat your friends time, or the classic kill ‘X amount of enemies while your health is below ten percent’. The achievements should be worth 5% of the total Gamerscore for the game. A few ideas to turn these vile achievements into something worthwhile are:

-Kills using all the vehicles available, vehicular manslaughter (uh… playerslaughter no need to discriminate) is something easy to do in a game every player can accomplish it and it is surely worth five to ten Gamerscore.

-Hidden items or sub objectives. This sort of stems from the creativity factor I was talking about earlier. Give players something interesting and creative to do, have them scout for hidden skulls that will unlock a song for them to hear. Better yet have them get to a certain high building in a game and find a cage that holds a tiger that will attack and maul my enemies. Then make it turn it to a motorcycle that will let me mercilessly mow down my enemies. All for ten to fifteen Gamerscore.

At this point I have to address the fact that other players find achievements rather masturbatory. They pop and most players go ‘Oh… so that happened’ and then move on. However, for those who actually enjoy getting achievements to improve their Gamerscore it can feel like a huge accomplishment. As a person who tries to get most, if not all, of the achievements for his game collection, I can honestly say I feel like I have accomplished more when I get achievements then I do putting a full shift at my day job.

Minecraft-Achievements

Another example of a great achievement list

In closing, the achievement lists of today are a little haphazardly put together. They could use a little update to what they consist of. The campaign should dominate the list with 80% or more of the achievement list, including collectibles. The multiplayer achievements a mere 5% or less of the list. Finally, the developer needs to be creative with their remaining achievements. Give players something enjoyable to try to go after, like tiger motorcycles. Also please, for the love of all things gaming, no more 0G achievements those are a cruel joke. If you have any comments or your own ideal layout for achievements let us know below in the comments.

 

 

About The Author

Allen S
Editorial/Reviews Team, Manager

I started gaming when I was seven years old. I started my own game studio when I was twelve, went to school for game design. Now I work here and also on my own YouTube channel