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Achievements in Games

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Love them or hate the achievements in games appear to be here to stay.

I’m trying to decide the best way to incorporate in the simulation game, where you play though a single life time. Do achievements change the way you play a game? And do you feel the game should reward you for completing them?

I’m leaning towards having two kinds of achievements global and life time. Global would be unlocked permanently but life time would only apply for single play session.

When it comes to rewards for achievements most games tend to give just bragging rights and maybe some extra content like concept art, or additional avatars.

But I’m thinking of providing new in game options and choices as reward for completing an achievement. For example earning a million dollars during a life time would reward you with the Millonaire global achievement and unlock the wealthy family background option when creating a new character.

While a Lifetime achievement might be “Found Waldo” which gives a +5 bonus to all searches.

Lastly should achievements be achievements? Most games tend to award achievements for just general playing. For example you completed level 1. Would you prefer achievements to be a challenge to earn requiring you to go above and beyond or try things out of the ordinary?

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Do achievements change the way you play a game?


No, typically they do not. I never read what achievements are in advance, so I don't know what they are, so therefore I don't ever go out of my way to get them.

Quote:
And do you feel the game should reward you for completing them?


Yeah, I like it when games allow you to unlock stuff via achievements in games. Even if it just stupid stuff, I will still try to get it. In the same way, I don't really like Xbox achievements because it's usually just a simple "Good job, now here are 50 inconsequential points that count for nothing".

Quote:
Lastly should achievements be achievements?


I think achievements should be somewhat above and beyond just playing the game. They should be something that is more challenging for the player, something that causes the player to go out of his way to accomplish.

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I'd say that what you describe as "Lifetime Achievements" are just upgrades or acquisitions in-game. StarCraft's armor tech upgrade or Final Fantasy's Airship are a lifetime achievement as much as "Found Waldo" would be, since they're discrete accomplishments that yield a bonus for the duration of that game. No need to have them enumerated in some kind of hall of records, since the player can see them on a status screen or something when they're relevant.

As for global achievements, I think they're at their best when they either acknowledge excellence (Unbreakable: Completed the campaign mode without dying) or suggest novel and interesting ways to play, thus improving replay value (Einhander: Defeated fifteen enemies with a one-handed weapon).

It's easy for them to become tiresome (Genocide: Killed 500 gremlins before sealing the gremlin spawner in "Gremlin Tsunami") or absurd (Attrition: Conquered Russia with a sharp stick and foul language).

Completion gamers have a neurosis that you should neither cater to nor exploit in your design. If they want to get everything, that's their thing. You should target your core audience and do your best to provide content that is worthwhile and rewarding.

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In my humble, i just think that achievements should show "the new possibilities" of the game. For example completing campaign on medium is ok, but making it perfectly on impossible takes totally another level of the skill, hence requiring new tactics and intimate teamwork (for multiplayer game). Or, for example, performing 10 times in a row a complex, but powerful combo, so player gets a grip of new ways to kill enemies and completing the achievement itself will help in futher mastering of the game. And, of course, im totally agaist achievements like complete 100 quests or kill 500 enemies. That is just useless and annyoing.

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I've been thinking about achievements for the game I'm attempting to make at the moment and this thread has helped steer me away from some nasty common themes with them!

I think that perhaps there can be achievements on with different depths in regards to a game:
- You have achievements like "Reach 500 Kills" and "Drive 30 Unique Vehicles" which are something outside of the game and have no impact.
- Similar to above, but gives something in-game, but doesn't impact the gameplay. An example would be beat the Swordmaster Trainer in 30 seconds and you gain a prefix to your name of "Swordmaster" which stays for the rest of the game.
- Achievements in context to them game and part of the game, which could be ranks within guilds/factions in an RPG game (although this could be via "Kill 10 Opposing Faction Members") which could be seen as character/plot progression.. but that depends entirely on how open the game is.
- Or achievements that could make a game easier.. ie if you defeat the Swordmaster Trainer in 30 seconds of less you get an increased skill in sword usage early on. And perhaps the title mentioned earlier..

So I don't think achievements have to be like the games I've seen on Steam where it's just basically a todo list of in-game stuff.. most of which I've stumbled across by accident.

Just my 2 pennies (English..)

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They don't change the way I play a game. But I'm aware that they want to, and that can be distracting.

If they offer advantages, I feel slighted. Getting rewarded for achieving stuff that has nothing to do with the context of the game makes no sense to me.

I like the option to turn achievements off and ignore them.

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Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
I'd say that what you describe as "Lifetime Achievements" are just upgrades or acquisitions in-game. StarCraft's armor tech upgrade or Final Fantasy's Airship are a lifetime achievement as much as "Found Waldo" would be, since they're discrete accomplishments that yield a bonus for the duration of that game. No need to have them enumerated in some kind of hall of records, since the player can see them on a status screen or something when they're relevant.


So you are saying you wouldn't want to see a list of note worthy accomplishments in your characters life time record some where and rewarded for them?

I guess I see Life Time Achievements as a combination of achievements and acquired Perks from the fallout series.

They would be things not necessarily note worthy enough to be global achievements but still import enough to note in the character’s biography and award a little bonus.

To give you a better idea here are a few I’ve come up with:
1) Kill the Messenger – Kill someone who gives you bad news - + 5 intimidation
2) Back with a vengeance - Find and kill someone who inflicted a near fatal injury on you. - + 5 determination
3) Found Waldo - Tracked down a character named Waldo -+ 5 Search Bonus
4) Beat the Habit – Recovered from a drug addiction - + 5 determination
5) Cheat a Cheater – Bluff, Lie, or cheat without getting caught some doing the same - +5 Bluff




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The achievements in the Starcraft 2 campaign have one main thing wrong with them: they are presented only after the mission is accomplished, meaning they fail to be a goal the first time through.

And that's what an achievement is to me: A secondary mission objective.

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I liked that about SC2 achievements. You can see them pre-mission when you're choosing to replay it from the menu, but not when the mission is first introduced as part of the story.

That way, the first round feels very engaging from a role-play standpoint. You're thinking about keeping Jim alive and beating back the Dominion troops and such and such, and then when you win you see that you get points for killing 20 guys with Jim, or for beating it in under five minutes, which inspires you to replay the level, putting Jim way up front or just blitzing the whole thing. Then, later, when you're getting ready to do that mission again, the level select window handily reminds you of the achievements that are available. Works great.

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