Achievement Nomenclature

Can we agree to call them “achievements”? I know we mostly do, but some games seem to re-name things in the interest of being special snowflakes. Now that the largest systems in the North American market are using the same term, let’s accept that as the proper English word for those gaming account celebratory decorations.

Giving your new game a different term for the sake of being different creates verbal confusion and is just asking for really annoying forum discussions in which simpering trolls rack up post counts by “correcting” everyone for not calling them “trophies” or whatever. Double points are deducted if you have multiple and similar terms, triple points if you use “achievement” as a subset of “trophy.” You get a pass if there is a good reason for using a different word. Games that pre-date this consensus can keep calling them badges, deeds, etc.

I do not think we have a similar consensus on “guild” yet, especially given the range of games in which “guild” feels inappropriate. It would be fine in The Lord of the Rings Online™ (“kinship”), but not so much for City of Heroes (“supergroup”) or EVE Online (“corporation”). Maybe for some instances in each. “Group” seems pretty standard; CoX’s “supergroup” unfortunately leaves them with “team.” “Clan” seems a strong competitor between games but rarely within them. Let us not get into “character,” “avatar,” and “toon.”

: Zubon

8 thoughts on “Achievement Nomenclature”

  1. I can only think you are referring to LotRO with the achievement comment, though you may not be. “Deeds” have been part of their game for well over 3 years and are directly related to character advancement. WoW is the one trying to be a special snowflake in this case as I believe EQ2 has had achievements for some time as well.

    I personally find WoW’s “achievements” to be empty and boring, likely because it does nothing for my character/toon/class.

  2. I never considered Deeds on the same level as Achievements, as Deeds have an actual in-game impact+choice and tend (last I played anyway) to not be silly stuff like “Collect-em-all” pony stuff. Civ V is the same way now, with stupid Achievements for just about everything (ooh you built a second city , ACHIEVEMENT! (edit: I guess that’s more Steam-based than Civ V-based though))

  3. I think part of the reasons MMOs like to use different words is because they copy so much from each other that they want something to point out if they land in copyright court.

  4. As it is with language itself, common usage sooner or later trumps established dictionary definitions.

    They are “achievements” and “guilds” because players by far and large call them that way, and that’s about it really. The usage of those terms is already installed in the players’ lexicon and it doesn’t matter one bit if the game is trying to correct them at every turn. Even years after launch I log in to LOTRO and I still see as many references to “guilds” as to “kinships”, and “groups” as to “fellowships”.

    But I never observed this in CoX, for example, so it seems every microcosm is a little bit different and CoX players were quite content to use “supergroups” instead of “guilds”, I imagine because its context is hitting people in the face all the time. Who knows.

    Players act like a liquid and will inevitably find the path of least resistance, both for gameplay and mechanics as well as this. If it’s more comfortable and it makes more sense for them to say “guilds” then it doesn’t matter what other definitions you give them and how much more sense they make. “Guilds” it will be.

    1. It’s very much not guilds in Eve. I’ve occasionally made the mistake of saying guilds and have been very firmly set straight.

      (Yet another MMO generalisation to which Eve is the exception).

      1. But that’s a bit of what I’m saying about context. The game context of corps in Eve is always hitting people on the head; the leader is normally (afaik) titled as a CEO, there are ‘assets’ and so on.

        I’d bet that if corps in Eve never had those things and were more or less simply player associations under a common banner, the usage of ‘corp’ would be much less no matter how much the game insisted on calling those things ‘corps’.

      2. Yeah the EVE community is as dedicated to the game’s special snowflake status as the devs. It’s really kinda a case of parallel evolution, I think. EVE’s not really in the melting pot that most other mainstream MMOs are.

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