If you’ve been with us for awhile, then you know that we love trophies and achievements. Hoarding aside, they are fun little incentives to spend some extra time with the games that we enjoy (and some that we don’t), or at least… they are supposed to be. All too often, game developers entirely miss the point. Some of them feel that trophies and achievements are simply an opportunity to fuck with their fans.
Sure, we call them “achievements” for a reason and you don’t usually get trophies for trivial things like blowing your nose (unless you’re really fucking amazing at it) but video games are supposed to provide fun experiences. In no way should “challenging” mean “torturous” or especially “mind-numbingly dull” when it comes to gaming. Yet, it often does so we feel like we need to help developers out with a few pointers:
5. Stack Difficulties
Consider this a petition. Please, game developers, for fucks sakes, take the extra minute to make the difficulty achievements and trophies stack. If I can complete a game on a normal or hard difficulty, how is it an achievement or trophy-worthy to then complete it on easy? Is it really anything but a hassle to have to play Battlefield: Bad Company or Devil May Cry 4 on a difficulty that has things die faster, after just doing so on one of the harder ones?
The whole thing is like watching a dude sprint at 27.79 miles per hour and then saying “alright, now that you have achieved the human foot-speed record let’s see if you can outrun my fatass three-legged pregnant dog.” It makes no damn sense! This practice doesn’t reward anything; all it does is annoy the fuck out of achievement/trophy hunters/whores. I realize that you want to keep us playing and re-playing your games but holding back trophies as ransom is a bit cheap, don’t you think?
4. Away With The Mundane
Here is another request: try earning the achievements/trophies yourselves before asking us to do them, and see how much you enjoy it, first (because enjoyment is the point, you see). If you start feeling a pain in the lower back area halfway through, it’s probably not a good idea to include those ideas in the final release. I’m guessing that Runic Games had not done so for Tochlight, otherwise, we wouldn’t be dealing with Fisher King and Tormented. Those aren’t the most difficult achievements in the game, but they are two examples of achievements that identify the most tedious possible tasks in a game and ask us to repeat them a completely pointless number of times (nope, Torchlight fishing is not as fun as it sounds).
It’s like someone thought “hey, of all the fucking things one could do throughout the day, let’s go with the most annoying, like say, inserting and removing contacts, aaand since we’re going the most drudging route we can think of, let’s make them do it, oh I don’t know, one thousand times or something crazy like that.”
2K Games feel the same way because they came up with Explorer for their Mafia II DLC: Jimmy’s Vendetta. That achievement wants us to drive for 1000 miles. While it may sound alright, keep in mind that you are likely to drive less than 200 miles throughout the entire campaign and all DLC. This means that you will need to put about 20 HOURS OF ADDITIONAL SOLID DRIVING, in one of those old cars that take an eternity to go from 0 to 60mph, through heavy traffic and touchy cops. So… both dull AND time consuming is… well, what it fucking is!
3. No Time for Poop
Look, most gamers can see tacked on poop features for what they are. Nobody is going to just up and confuse shitty multiplayer for Counter Strike (for example) and keep playing the thing endlessly, so please, don’t bother with the demanding online achievements or trophies, if you spend all of two days hammering the game mode out. We want to earn trophies and achievements for doing something challenging but enjoyable; not for simply tolerating a tacked multiplayer.
Just look at the Spec Ops: The Line developer. Not only did they include zero multiplayer achievements but they came out and said that their multiplayer section was a “tacked on bullshit [that] should not exist” and that “the game mechanics were raped to make it happen.” You know what? They just earned themselves a sale:
2. Twenty to Life
It’s certainly a challenge to dedicate a crazy amount of time to a useless task but developers need to be reasonable here. They have to realize that most gamers do not live forever, only have 24 hours in a day, and would like to play other games as well. Seriously, even a hundred hours is a fucking huge amount of time to put into a game, and I’m saying this as someone who has logged 5oo hours into more than one. Triple digits are EXTREMELY rare, and usually happen because we actually enjoy a game for whatever reason. Simply asking us to put in the hours is basically asking us to come up with a workaround, as is the case with Mortal Kombat (2011). My Kung Fu is Stronger is an achievement, which requires one to spend 24 hours with a game character (among other things)… with EVERY GODDAMN game character…
No skill required; only the willingness to keep your console on for the amount of time that can kill it (and possibly you, from the resulting explosion). Guess how most people get this achievement (hint: they keep their systems on overnight). Warhawk is a bit better, because the game actually requires you to do something but it wants you to do it for over 1000 GODDAMN HOURS! Seriously, what the fuck? I think that it’s the developers who need to be reminded that trophies and achievements don’t provide anything tangible. They are not worth a month of some poor OCD bastard’s life. Have mercy on the sick!
1. Impossible Achievements
The main point here is to plan ahead. One scenario is Ghost Recon up there. It’s a great and challenging achievement for when the first five people purchase the game. If anyone bought the game a year later, the chances of them becoming the best player in the entire fucking universe would probably be pretty damn slim. There is usually one, and only one, guy at the top of a leaderboard and the fact that making it there is also an Xbox achievement isn’t likely to change that.
To be fair, Ubisoft have realized that they fucked up and actually reset the leaderboards in 2010 but all that did was allow another one or two people to get it.
Another scenario is when there is a shit load of achievements that are tied to a dead multiplayer. I don’t just mean that nobody plays the thing, which is an issue too. The servers are often shut down preventing people form getting some achievements ever again, as recently happened with Madden 2011, for example. See, this is why most multiplayer achievements are not a good idea to begin with.
Got any other pointers? Bring them on! Who knows, what if a developer clicks on this page right before compiling a list!