75%-90% Completion

There are two standard “complete” points for a single-player game: beat the final boss and 100% completion. Steam achievements and similar systems usually mark both of those endpoints. There is one achievement for each, along with at least a half-dozen achievements for each aspect of the game you might take to 100%. These collective 100% achievements are what we call meta-achievements: the achievement for gaining achievements, in this case all the other ones. MMOs are fond of having many achievements that build to meta-achievements for each dungeon, special event, etc.

Guild Wars 2 has moved to setting meta-achievements below 100% without a 100% completion achievement. As mentioned, I think that is a great idea, particularly when the achievements are scattered across different types of content. You encourage diverse play without making someone feel “forced” to do everything to get the shiny prize. This is especially true for events and new content, because sometimes the new content does not work as intended or is radically polarizing, and you should not encourage people to play your most painful content. Team Fortress 2 learned this lesson with its class updates, originally going with “complete all the achievements to get the meta-achievements” and tying new equipment to those meta-achievements, which led to radically aberrant gameplay; class meta-achievements are now done with about half the achievements.

I think I still want 100% completion for single-player games. Those are for completionists, not everyone, although I want no one-way doors on that path. For my MMOs, I like having a bar below “do everything” because I hate that night where you make 20 attempts in a row because the event is going away tomorrow (or worse: time-limited, attempt-limited, non-tradable, random drop collection achievements).

: Zubon

The Queen’s Jubilee does this somewhat differently, and I will address it in a separate post.

7 thoughts on “75%-90% Completion”

  1. I note, however, from reading the official GW2 forums, that making the meta-achievements only require most of the achievements, not all of them, really has not stemmed the tide of tears, temper tantrums, and general hurt butts.

    God, the crying about there being a kite in the WvW jumping puzzle.. unbelievable..

  2. implementation could be better though… why do you still get achievementpoints if you have the required ones finished and do the rest? Completionists who want each AP feel they still have no choice.

    Luckily I’m not such a person, but I see why they might be upset

    1. I’m someone who completes more than 5 dailies if I’m playing, but since the pool of achievement points is potentially infinite (complete with infinitely repeatable achievements in some categories), it’s not like I can permanently miss out on achievement points. I can miss out on achievements, but those have to be for my own satisfaction, because no one else can see my achievement screen of historical Living World content. And I skipped about six months after they threatened to start adding progressive loot tiers, so I can never have all the Living World meta-achievements, so I’m free!

  3. I doubt you’ll ever be able to discourage completionists from trying to do everything, short of breaking their compulsion permanently. (Persona 4 did it for me: the first choice has every option bar one locked behind stat requirements you have no hope of meeting yet, and the missed opportunities spiral out from there.)

    They also have to do every single daily, PvE and PvP, and at this point that’s like sixteen or something.

  4. My only beef with GW2’s achievement system (and the vast majority of its content, in fact- jumping puzzles, also come to mind) is that getting 99% of the way to the achievement bar (wherever it is set) only gets you abouty 5% of the reward (basically whatever xp/drops you pick up along the way).

    There’s little to no granularity in the reward structure, and given that the mechanics of most things are so damn error-intolerant that adds up to a TON of frustration.

    Lowering the bar for what constitutes “achievement get” helps a little bit but very indirectly and inefficiently. They need to make their rewards more granular (“xp for everything” and the event rewards structure were a good start but the rest of the game has the complete opposite philosophy- then again throwing down chests for champs and dungeon bosses is good step too), and their actual gameplay mechanics (and UI) more accessible. They’re finally helping the UI problem with the new effects culling.

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