Do Gaming Achievements Need an Overhaul?
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A while back, I took the time to discuss some of my thoughts on achievements. There are so many times that these trophies feel like a total waste of time. Many of them are just placeholders really. Achievements like "finish this chapter," "talk to this person," and "finish the game," all feel worthless. Some games even make fun of how easy achievements can be to receive. Take the PlayStation 4 and Vita versions of Undertale, for example. A bulk of the achievements you can get in those versions of the game come from leaving money at a shrine. As in leave money in the shrine, and an achievement pops up. They're all easy to get if you're all right with spending a lot of in-game money to get them. Of course it's also a thinly veiled metaphor for Cash4Plats.

Some can be really difficult to get. There are many in games that are based on skill. You have to be good at a game to get all of the trophies or achievements. These make sense, as you try really hard to be good at something and are rewarded for the skill and time taken to reach said skill level. It's hard to find the correct balance between rewarding high skill/time investment and those who are just casual gamers. How do you please the hardcore gamers while still making those playing for fun feel good?

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Discussions like these are clearly driving the industry right now. Trophies and achievements have become unchangeably intertwined with video games. So much so that companies previously removed from the system are considering joining in. The indie developer Lichthund is now saying that Nintendo is going to join the achievement party. It would seem that they finally realized it was a staple in the industry that they were missing out on. There are no official confirmations from Nintendo as to whether or not this is true. The slip of the tongue from the indie developer in question seems pretty conclusive though.

Even if Nintendo joins the game with an exact replica of the existing achievement or trophy systems that Microsoft and Sony uses, it's a step in the right direction. The initiation of a similar system could drive their competitors to shake things up. This is already happening over at Microsoft. Apparently, the company is working on completely overhauling their achievement system. They want to try to find that happy middle where hardcore users and casual players alike can be rewarded. They also want those who devote most of their time to a single game to benefit. Gamerscore currently only goes up if you continue to complete achievement objectives. The easiest way to do this is to complete a bunch of easy ones in many different games. Microsoft wants to reward those both those that are playing a few games at extremely high levels and ones who are playing many different games.

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There's no elaboration at the moment on what these changes will entail, but it could mean a virtual renaissance for the achievement systems that currently exist. If there are more ways to congratulate players on their milestones in their gaming career, then more players will feel valued. A high Gamerscore or trophy count currently feels more geared towards those that play many games. If we can get recognition for being really good at one or two games, that would be fantastic.

How do you feel? Would you prefer achievements and trophies stay the way they are? Or are you looking forward to something different no matter what that means?

April Marie
April Marie
@Legiodith

Contributing Writer
Date: 09/18/2017

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