Just to make me look silly, between the time that I wrote about meta-achievements and the time that I posted, the new GW2 update went live and did something different with a Living Story meta-achievement. There are 13 achievements, and you need to complete 16 to get the meta-achievement.
Someone in guild chat wondered if they were hiding achievements for later parts of the story, rather than showing them all in advance like in earlier Living Story updates. This is possible, but the explicit answer is that there are now Living Story daily achievements that count towards the meta-achievement. If the event is live for two weeks, with a Living Story achievement each day, you now need 16 of 27, and some things you do will count for two or more achievements.
What does this do to players’ incentives?
- You cannot do everything on Day One and then just ignore the new content. You must play the event on multiple days for completionism. This should spread participation somewhat. The Queen’s Pavilion is a massive zerg, but I cannot say if this is a smaller crowd than would be expected from other events, lacking an indicator of how overflowed the instance is. Also, while participation usually drops until the last-minute rush to finish rewards, Living Story content does seem to be in continuous use at least enough to keep it playable for the duration.
- It will provide an incentive to repeat Living Story content for the extra achievement point. “One achievement point” is a surprisingly powerful player motivator.
- It will steer players towards the living story somewhat more, to the extent that the daily achievements motivate people. Previously, except to the extent that completing an achievement overlapped with your dailies, you chose between completing dailies or playing the Living Story, and you exhaust overlapping Living Story achievements quickly. Relatedly, I note that completing a Living Story meta-achievement is now a monthly achievement.
- It provides an extra incentive to try everything.
- It creates a Schelling point for Living Story content. This is less relevant for the Queen’s Jubilee, which is mostly centralized, but this will matter more in events that are dispersed. Strangely, this is the opposite of what was just done by creating a generic Daily Activity achievement, rather than pushing players towards one the way the GW1 Zaishen dailies created a critical mass for the daily PvP map. That circle seems to have been squared by limiting what activities are available each day.
- It creates a disincentive to try everything on Day One. If you can reasonably expect that most/all Living Story achievements will double as daily achievements over the course of the event, and let’s assume that you are the kind of person who is motivated by achievements, then you can wait on trying new things that are not the Living Story achievement of the day. I could get paid twice for doing X tomorrow, so why do it both today and tomorrow for the same reward? This is currently reduced because we do not know exactly what to expect yet, but it could have a greater effect on future events.
There is a tension. The most efficient way to complete most things is “all at once.” You enter the Queen’s Pavilion, get a rhythm going, and do not leave until you have everything you want from the Pavilion. That sort of farming can be efficient, unhealthy, and unfun, especially if you are driven by the extrinsic motivation. Dailies provide an incentive to do things over time instead of all at once. Given the number of people who have already completed the meta-achievement, I cannot say that the game has struck a balance in those incentives.