Are achievements the right tool for whatever it is they're supposed to do?

| Thursday, November 7, 2013
Guild Wars 2 uses achievements for a few things. They track the story of the moment. They act as a daily/monthly reward system. They shuffle us randomly around the map to go kill that one NPC type of which we've killed 497. They make Syl mad. Maybe they do other stuff as well, stuff that I am not awesome enough to know.

For all these things they do, I wonder, is this the best way to do it? I'm going to set aside whether the game should do this in the first place; that's for another day.

The story of the moment tracking is terrible. I don't know where I am in the story based on it. It gives no context to the story. It's just a check box and a number. This is a time when a quest system would function better.

The daily/monthly reward system works more effectively, perhaps because the thing to track is so much simpler. Achievement systems are well-suited to tracking numbers or basic actions. The WoW method of daily quests is more cumbersome, requiring travel to pick up the quest to do what you did yesterday and will do tomorrow.

The random shuffling of almost-complete kill achievements may be intended to promote exploration, though since it would send you to where you've already been it isn't adding anything new. Still, it does send you somewhere different, sometimes. The system isn't pretty, but it does work, at whatever it is supposed to do.

WoW has achievements too, but that's for another day, by which I mean that when I tried to write about it all my words turned into stupid.

Maybe the problem is that Explorer types don't like whatever it is that achievements are trying to do. But that's for an upcoming post titled "Explorers are an elitist waste of money."


Coreus said...

I think a lot of bloggers just enjoy having strong opinions. What annoys me a bit is how influential they can be with them.

I remember reading somewhere that righteous indignation is extremely addictive to humans because of the intense endorphin rush it causes. It would definitely explain a lot of the Internet.

Klepsacovic said...

I don't enjoy having strong opinions as much as I enjoy having the right opinion.

Anonymous said...

As an explorer-type, I really look forward to your follow up. Sounds like a promising debate!

Kring said...

I like the achievement system in GW2 a lot better then the terrible system WoW uses. The GW2 system is basically a continuation of leveling. You do stuff to get achievements (what XP is for leveling) and at some points you get a chest (like the level up while leveling). It's a carrot for to keep you playing.

The way I would improve it is to make all achievements repeatable (and infinite repeatable) like the dungeon explorator or agent of entropy. If you always play with a hammer you would get more points with the "Hammer Master" and you wouldn't be forced to swap to greatsword after 5000 kills with your hammer. However you play it should progress some achievement somewhere.

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