Achievement Categories

Achievement screens need some way to indicate that some achievements you will get in normal play, some involve wacky circumstances, and some involve playing for a really long time. As it is, everything gets grouped together, and the fact that you get quite a few suggests the others may be nearly within reach.

This annoys teams in multi-player games in which one player is trying to take 5,000 damage in one life, another needs to kill eleven people with a fish, and everyone else is trying to win. This haunts completionists who see “39/40 achievements” when the last one is “have 1000 levels of characters.”

I like the common division of achievements into categories like “exploration,” “monster slayer,” “fishing,” or whatnot within games. I would just like to see them also classified according to the sanity of achieving them, so you might have:

  • 10 benchmark achievements, earned at various points in a normal playthrough
  • 10 difficult achievements, earned by doing some things well, quickly, etc.
  • 10 epic achievements, earned by doing things 100 times
  • 10 wacky achievements, earned by selling all 12 types of rare fish to the pelican; by dying from falling damage 1 higher than your hit points; by defeating the end boss using only paint and sandwiches; by winning a multi-player round without drawing your weapon; …

That way Alice can have her sense of closure from meeting all the benchmarks, Bob can showcase his mad skills from beating it all on hard mode, Cindy can demonstrate how hardcore she is with 6/10 achievements that each took 500 hours to earn, and David can find a server or group that supports wacky achievement-acquisition rather than causing strife with folks trying to play the game non-perversely.

: Zubon

5 thoughts on “Achievement Categories”

  1. To me, it seems that the problem you are discussing is rather about weak achievement design than about grouping those weakly designed achievements together. A game should, after all, not support ‘anti-social’ behaviour — running around without a weapon where you could kill 10 times more enemies using your standard shotgun just to get the ‘100 fist kills’ title — by rewarding it with an achievement. There could be so many objectives related to group tactics, social playstyle and such if developers would just stop making boring achievements hard to earn (that is, attractive to some sort of players) by making them anti-social. Do we really need the ‘kill eleven people with a fish’ achievement?

    If we already have the weak achievements, however: Well, group them and maybe even give the player a means of telling ‘Watch out I’m trying to be more hardcore than hardcore.’ That could certainly be a way to make weak design not feel too weak.


  2. I wonder how fine the line is sometimes between hard achievements and wacky ones.

  3. The “Insane in the Membrane” achievement in World of Warcraft instantly came to mind as something that covers wacky, epic and pro-social.

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