Achievements: a debate of sorts

Posted by brandt (66 posts) -

I hate blogs. I used to blog 10 years ago or something before the whole phenomena. I grew tired.  Anyways, I just want  to voice an opinion about achievements.  
I'm from Sweden and don't write in english a lot, so this might not be the smoothest ride. Just a heads up.
 
All right then. I like achievements, and I hate them. Why?  
I'm not a very experienced gamer but I've been at it for 10 years at least, though I haven't played every relevant game from that point forward primarily due to economic issues. BUT, the games I have played and liked I've played A LOT.  I'm also a mad completionist.   

I recently played Far Cry 2 for the PC, due to late upgrades. Not a fantastic game, but entertaining enough.  
However, a black hole when it comes to time. Sheesh. I wanna do all these crazy things in the game, but... what am I to show for it? 
It just seem pointless. In what forum am I gonna brag about whatever menial task I accomplished?       
I don't play games for easy gamerscore, I don't spend too much time on achievements unless they seem fun to complete, but as this  
was my first PC gaming experience for some time I was shocked to see how important it was for me to have something to 
show for my effort after playing a game.  "Aren't I doing this for fun?"i asked myself.  It seems not.  
If I don't get a pat in the back and a "good job" it seems my motivation just wasn't there.
 
Anyways. Back in the day before achievemants I almost always completed "optional" game parameters, something that at the time made me proud. 
I played through the first Splinter Cell without killing ANYONE. That wasn't easy, I tell you. My reward: nothing, but pure swell pride.   

If I for some reason would like to accomplish the same task in a game today, without getting an achievement for it, I would just skip it. 
No way am I going to set special parameters for my playing if I can't put it in my gamerscore.  Why? Hell, I've got other achievements to  
hunt and most of all I don't want to spend time on things I don't get anything to show for. 

Achievements that for the most part are good natured and just trigger a curious way of playing, or add a fun challenge.  

But on the other hand, there are achievements that make you grind to the bone. That cause more pain, steal more time, and twists your view of the game more than the reward in itself makes up for in any way.   
In the end you might've spent 50% of your total playtime chasing those last 10, 20 or something points that in proportion are nothing compared to the time they take. 
 
I have never 100% completed a game achievementwise, and I'm glad for it.  I have still ruined good games by removing all the fun of the game just to chase som stupid achievement. And in the end, what do I get?  
I'm tired of the game, frustrated and will with high probability remember these last strained moments with the game when I look back at it.  
 
 So. In an endless debate I would like to at least try to further the discussion by doing something else than merely stating an opinion. 
 What I believe would be a better way of implementing this feature in games is this: 
 
1. Remove the point system.   
Whoring for points is (aw hell) pointless as it exists today. Well, if I could level up my avatar we could start talking but, c'mon. 
And by the way, who's to say how much an achievement is worth? Some are purely skill, others just demand mad amounts of time.
I won't say that trophies are better, but in some way i think it's a step in the right direction.  
 
2. Add a meaningful reward system.   
  I want to show of my achievement, give me something tangible, more than a 10x10 pixel badge of some kind.    
Fuck it, connect it to facebook or whatever. 
Let it say "John Doe just did an awesome thing, here's his proof for it". 
Or if hardcore gaming isn't acceptable in your social circle, connect it to GiantBomb.  
 
3. Unify all achievement systems.   

Microsoft, Sony... work with the consumers here. Steam too.  
And why can't I get achievements in PC games that are multiplatform? Is this a joke?  
 If I can play online, why can't i just simply input a user account of my choosing? 
Xbox and PS3 already have their functionality, so how hard can it be to let the same actions translate  to them?  
  
 4. Remove tedious self-torture achievements 
"Hey , we just made this awesome game, now play it in the least fun way!" 
NO THANKS.
  

Anyways. If anybody reads this, please voice your opinion. 

#1 Posted by brandt (66 posts) -

I hate blogs. I used to blog 10 years ago or something before the whole phenomena. I grew tired.  Anyways, I just want  to voice an opinion about achievements.  
I'm from Sweden and don't write in english a lot, so this might not be the smoothest ride. Just a heads up.
 
All right then. I like achievements, and I hate them. Why?  
I'm not a very experienced gamer but I've been at it for 10 years at least, though I haven't played every relevant game from that point forward primarily due to economic issues. BUT, the games I have played and liked I've played A LOT.  I'm also a mad completionist.   

I recently played Far Cry 2 for the PC, due to late upgrades. Not a fantastic game, but entertaining enough.  
However, a black hole when it comes to time. Sheesh. I wanna do all these crazy things in the game, but... what am I to show for it? 
It just seem pointless. In what forum am I gonna brag about whatever menial task I accomplished?       
I don't play games for easy gamerscore, I don't spend too much time on achievements unless they seem fun to complete, but as this  
was my first PC gaming experience for some time I was shocked to see how important it was for me to have something to 
show for my effort after playing a game.  "Aren't I doing this for fun?"i asked myself.  It seems not.  
If I don't get a pat in the back and a "good job" it seems my motivation just wasn't there.
 
Anyways. Back in the day before achievemants I almost always completed "optional" game parameters, something that at the time made me proud. 
I played through the first Splinter Cell without killing ANYONE. That wasn't easy, I tell you. My reward: nothing, but pure swell pride.   

If I for some reason would like to accomplish the same task in a game today, without getting an achievement for it, I would just skip it. 
No way am I going to set special parameters for my playing if I can't put it in my gamerscore.  Why? Hell, I've got other achievements to  
hunt and most of all I don't want to spend time on things I don't get anything to show for. 

Achievements that for the most part are good natured and just trigger a curious way of playing, or add a fun challenge.  

But on the other hand, there are achievements that make you grind to the bone. That cause more pain, steal more time, and twists your view of the game more than the reward in itself makes up for in any way.   
In the end you might've spent 50% of your total playtime chasing those last 10, 20 or something points that in proportion are nothing compared to the time they take. 
 
I have never 100% completed a game achievementwise, and I'm glad for it.  I have still ruined good games by removing all the fun of the game just to chase som stupid achievement. And in the end, what do I get?  
I'm tired of the game, frustrated and will with high probability remember these last strained moments with the game when I look back at it.  
 
 So. In an endless debate I would like to at least try to further the discussion by doing something else than merely stating an opinion. 
 What I believe would be a better way of implementing this feature in games is this: 
 
1. Remove the point system.   
Whoring for points is (aw hell) pointless as it exists today. Well, if I could level up my avatar we could start talking but, c'mon. 
And by the way, who's to say how much an achievement is worth? Some are purely skill, others just demand mad amounts of time.
I won't say that trophies are better, but in some way i think it's a step in the right direction.  
 
2. Add a meaningful reward system.   
  I want to show of my achievement, give me something tangible, more than a 10x10 pixel badge of some kind.    
Fuck it, connect it to facebook or whatever. 
Let it say "John Doe just did an awesome thing, here's his proof for it". 
Or if hardcore gaming isn't acceptable in your social circle, connect it to GiantBomb.  
 
3. Unify all achievement systems.   

Microsoft, Sony... work with the consumers here. Steam too.  
And why can't I get achievements in PC games that are multiplatform? Is this a joke?  
 If I can play online, why can't i just simply input a user account of my choosing? 
Xbox and PS3 already have their functionality, so how hard can it be to let the same actions translate  to them?  
  
 4. Remove tedious self-torture achievements 
"Hey , we just made this awesome game, now play it in the least fun way!" 
NO THANKS.
  

Anyways. If anybody reads this, please voice your opinion. 

#2 Posted by ApolloJ85 (241 posts) -

Achievements do have the potential to ruin a game for those completionists out there, but there's nothing inherently wrong with them, they're just implemented poorly.
 
When they're done right, achievements can actually enhance your experience. Check out Half-Life 2 and its Episodes for a good example of that. Unfortunately most achievement setters don't do this, they just throw in a bunch of multiplayer points in an attempt to get people playing their game online. 
 
As far as the numerical score goes, it means nothing. That sucks, but as has been pointed out time and time again, it will continue to be a pointless score as long as the achievement/trophy systems remain hackable.

#3 Posted by cancerdancer (314 posts) -

Stopped reading once I saw how you spelled phenomena.

#4 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

I would like stuff like " 10k kills online " or " 100k ingame kills" removed. Gears of war did stupid stuff for some of their achivments. 

#5 Posted by ApolloJ85 (241 posts) -
@cancerdancer:  
Dude what? He's Swedish, of course his English isn't perfect. Hell, it's my native language and even I get wrong sometimes.
#6 Posted by cancerdancer (314 posts) -
@ApolloJ85: lol, like I said, I stopped there. Didn't read he was Swedish. Do'h!
#7 Posted by brandt (66 posts) -
@ApolloJ85 said:
" Achievements do have the potential to ruin a game for those completionists out there, but there's nothing inherently wrong with them, they're just implemented poorly. When they're done right, achievements can actually enhance your experience. Check out Half-Life 2 and its Episodes for a good example of that. Unfortunately most achievement setters don't do this, they just throw in a bunch of multiplayer points in an attempt to get people playing their game online.  As far as the numerical score goes, it means nothing. That sucks, but as has been pointed out time and time again, it will continue to be a pointless score as long as the achievement/trophy systems remain hackable. "
Sure, and I guess that's up to the player. But, it's something developers should strive to avoid. However, focus will understandably remain on the core product, and I think that many devs probably view achievements as more of a gimmick than something that can be used to enchance the game experience.   

I've played both HL2 and Ep. 1 on PC but couldn't remember most of the achievements so I checked them out and you're right. None of the usual repetitive and  tedious tasks.  Some very creative and maybe even enhancing the experience by creating "games in the game". 
 
 And considering numerical scores... I guess if in my dream scenario of a achievement/trophy reform points should remain, would we really want them to matter? 
I don't wanna have to grind games to be able to do something that actually means something. So, I guess it'll just have to remain a measurement for your amount of free time. 
 
 
@The_Laughing_Man
said:
" I would like stuff like " 10k kills online " or " 100k ingame kills" removed. Gears of war did stupid stuff for some of their achivments.  "
Exactly. 100k kill doesn't measure your skill... or well, I guess you could achieve it a bit faster if you were better at the game, but in the end it all comes down to a developer demanding that you spend a ridiculous amount of time on their game.  
 
@cancerdancer said:
" Stopped reading once I saw how you spelled phenomena. "

Well. As stated in sentence two, it's been some time. Gotta work out the kinks. Stupid misspelling though. :/  
#8 Posted by abdo (1037 posts) -

You raise a really good point. Some achievements/trophies are just poorly chosen, or they try to get you to spend more time on the game. Before I used to completely ignore them and just play the game the way I want, but in recent weeks I've started to get greedy, and it really does suck the fun out of the game.
 
Also: "haven't played every relevant game from that point forward primarily due to economic issues"  
 
Being a gamer in Sweden ain't easy. Jag vet exakt vad du menar.

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