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View Full Version : Advice for Devs: Fun vs Annoying Lists


daishichi
06-11-2009, 05:59 PM
Hi Folks, thought I'd collect some opinions on what gamers think defines a well-designed achievement list.

My bro and I recently talked this out on a subway ride, and while we play very different game types we're similar achievement-chasers. I know our preferences aren't universal, so chime in and tell me what standards you wish developers would keep in mind.



Not fond of required replays. Ideally a game keeps me busy after work for a week and then lets me move on the next game. I get annoyed when IGN and the like count that against a game in a review, and I leave a lot of points out there when I'm asked to play the same game over.
Obviously, difficulties should be stackable.
Annoyed by online achievements. I get that they've invested time in multiplayer...maybe 100 of 1000 is okay, but I prefer a list like Godfather II's where it's amode you don't have to show any interest in. I want to be able to pursue points on my own without being dependent on others. Besides, buddying makes them mean nothing (you kill me 50 times, then I kill you 50 times...we're so badass!).
Enjoy easter eggs. Should be low points, obviously, but I like a good joke or reference (i.e. Wolverine's Lost, Portal and WoW refs, Destroy All Humans' DAHm! series).
I like a story-based game, and feel like I should get at least 300 pts for finishing the main story mode.
Total-based pts (i.e. kill count, miles travelled) should be set at amounts which you'll get 75% of while playing normally. I just knocked out Superman Returns, and those totals were retarded. Fly 10,000 miles and lift 20 million pounds? At the end of the story I had 1/10th of those numbers. An achievement should require you to go the extra mile, not an extra light year.
Points for style. Hard-to-pull-off combos (i.e. Prince of Persia's "Sword Master"), specific attacks (i.e. Wolverine's "Stick Around")

Cacky
06-11-2009, 06:08 PM
I'm going to have to agree with you on this list.

Question. When you say "I like a story-based game, and feel like I should get at least 300 pts for finishing the main story mode", do you mean that you should get 300G at the very end of the game?

BlackTitan666
06-11-2009, 06:24 PM
that is a great list

Rowey 94
06-11-2009, 06:25 PM
Yeah I Like To Get 88% Of The Game Achievements through Playing Single Player

Shelton
06-11-2009, 06:25 PM
I believe he means as you progress you get achievements for each mission you complete, and the end total is 300.

I am a fan of creative achievements. A recent one that I found to be quite clever was "High Noon" in COJ:Bound in Blood.

I love when achievement names are well thought out, and reference other things. Such as "Flip You. Flip You For Real." Lol, hilarious.

At the end of the day, I'd rather have achievements which require skill, as opposed to grinding. "Bling, Bling" on guitar hero requires no skill, but takes a long ass time. Anybody can get it, regardless of their skill level, so whats the point?

ViRaLuNdEaD
06-11-2009, 06:29 PM
Another thing to consider about the online achievements is the lifespan of the game. If 6 months to a year from release no one is playing online, then it makes it that much harder to do the online achievements.

Shaftiel
06-11-2009, 07:18 PM
I agree with pretty much everything on your list and I've got two more obvious ones:



I hate poorly thought-out collection achievements with a passion. 280 flags in Assassins Creed? 800 Crackdown Orbs? EVERY ITEM in Lost Odyssey? The ONLY way to get them all is with a list that you print and use from the beginning of the game, and that's reeeeal fun. At the very least least include a tracking system so you can go back and get them, like the 1/stage with an in-game checklist in Halo Wars or the "hidden item" detector you get at the end of Bully: Scholarship Edition (it wasn't in the original).
I despise achievements that absolutely require you to go look things up online. The worst offender I know of is Endangered Species from GTA4 which I feel it is safe to say NO ONE in the entire world would have gotten without the help of guides and/or the extensive efforts of an online community. And really, how is my having had the patience to follow a guide for several hours an achievement?

OneSweetShannon
06-11-2009, 07:26 PM
I hate poorly thought-out collection achievements with a passion. 280 flags in Assassins Creed? 800 Crackdown Orbs? EVERY ITEM in Lost Odyssey? The ONLY way to get them all is with a list that you print and use from the beginning of the game, and that's reeeeal fun. At the very least least include a tracking system so you can go back and get them, like the 1/stage with an in-game checklist in Halo Wars or the "hidden item" detector you get at the end of Bully: Scholarship Edition (it wasn't in the original).

I despise achievements that absolutely require you to go look things up online. The worst offender I know of is Endangered Species from GTA4 which I feel it is safe to say NO ONE in the entire world would have gotten without the help of guides and/or the extensive efforts of an online community. And really, how is my having had the patience to follow a guide for several hours an achievement?


In total agreement. I actually like collectibles achievements, but there should be an ingame way to track. I just finished the Pigeons in GTA IV and if you mess up with one, you could potentially have to check each and every place again. At least in Fable 2 it tells you that you have x/however-many gargoyles/keys in a region, so you can limit your search to a smaller area. And Eternal Sonata, without a guide I'd never have gotten the EZI items or scorepieces.

JeS 87193
06-11-2009, 09:32 PM
Good list. Def agree on Single Player getting more love than Multi Player achieves. Not everyone has Live or even cares to play online that much. Difficulty level achieves should def be stackable because if a game's good enough, I'll play through it again myself because it's fun, not because I want to scrounge a few extra points out of it.

Also, my OCD compels me to add, no odd-point achievements. Keep everything in multiples of 5.

Shaftiel
06-11-2009, 09:46 PM
...and if you mess up with one, you could potentially have to check each and every place again... . I have a friend who went back through his Crackdown game with a video guide to get the 114 Agility Orbs he had missed and when, hours later, he finished the guide he had 299. :eek: Good times.

Gackt
06-11-2009, 10:34 PM
I like mp achievements as much as single player, I actually wish there would be more MP achievements in games as long as the MP is decent.

Only achievements I hate and usually no longer bother with are collectables, I absolutely hate having to search for hidden items... if it were maybe 1 per level fine...I can deal with that but its always something like 7 on this level maybe 14 on another and overall amount of 149!
...Hate em

DDcup x
06-11-2009, 10:42 PM
Agree with everything on the list
And at shelton's "well thought out name" point
like the GoW2 chieve's
Good times.

daishichi
06-11-2009, 11:27 PM
Wow, I'm relatively new to posting and am glad to see folks give some input.

Shelton's got it right, I meant that 300 should be the minimum you get by the end, but by all means split it up over the missions/levels. I just find it lame when they get so busy with other stuff (mostly online stuff) and give you a mere 50 pts for accomplishing the main point of the game.

And yes, cleverness in titles and such is a pleasant bonus. I remember seeing some kind of survey on this site about Best Titles and Thumbnails (or whatever those little pics are called).

I had totally overlooked collectibles. They are just about the only achievements I'm missing (or, rather, not missing at all) from Destroy All Humans 3, Assassin's Creed, Spider-Man 3, Hulk, etc.

Shaftiel's finer point about a revealing reward or at least a tracking system is dead-on. As a platformer, Prince of Persia got it perfect by making them highly visible and offering regional totals; the challenge was figuring out how to get to them. And, as I mentioned, you're likely to end up with 700 out of 1001 by the end of the story.

I think everyone would agree that collectibles should always amount to real in-game benefits. When that's the case, completing the story should be recognized as meaning you don't need the rest, so put 'em on the mini-map for those who want to clean up (DAH2 for PS2 did that, Web of Shadows something similar).

KRIS DETH
06-12-2009, 02:11 AM
I do agree about the collectables one, i'm currently TRYING to do the flags & templars in Assassins Creed, and i've finished everything else in the game and i'm just stuck at 895 GS (i've done all the acre flags) but the rest are really taking the piss, i mean i love assassins creed it's just like :( DAMN I WANT 1000!

And i agree about the stupidly hard achievements, like "The Sum Of All Zeros" in World at War, i've had 985 in that game since like march, and i finally got that achievement last night :D was so proud, but the fact it took me 3 months just took the cake.

DestroyThineslf
06-12-2009, 09:10 PM
As for multiplayer achievements, I dont completely hate them, but the ones that require you to level up to a crazy level (i.e. Gow 2, lvl 100) are the ones that bother me. I cant see myself ever reaching that cap. I enjoy the game and all, but simply dont play enough to hit those numbers. I think some MP cheeves should be worth 0 GS, but unlock a Gamer picture or Armor or something so the people that play those games alot still get some kind of reward for maxing out their rank.

Exhausted Dad
06-12-2009, 09:38 PM
@Destroy I agree with you on the multi player rewards in game rewards or pics.
@Daishichi Nice list most points I agree on I think it would be nice if devlopers would add something like a free theme for 1000ing their game. We know GS will never be a type of currency but for all the challenges you go through to get some achievements it would be nice and not that much to ask for.

Mr Burgerz
06-12-2009, 09:56 PM
I entirely agree with the tracking system thing. If you want us to find items, allow us to know which we have and haven't found!

Unmasked Bandit
06-13-2009, 06:20 AM
I like required replays. When I pay $60 for a game, I do not want to it be one and done. I want the experience to last a while. Sure I can just play through it again, but it is always nice to have some reward for doing so. This is one reason I do not purchase single player only, linear storyline games. I'm looking at games such as Mass Effect. When I went to play through it for the second and third times, I unlocked an even harder difficulty and had to use other allies.
To be honest, I believe the only difficulty achievement a game should give is for its hardest difficulty. They are called achievements after all. I do not see completing a game on the easiest difficulty as being a very big accomplishment. I like how they did it in COD minus the achievement for completing the game, I believe it should have been for veteran only. However, if the developers do decide to hand out achievements for every single difficulty they should stack. I usually choose the hardest difficulty available when I begin a game. I don't want to go back down to easy to get an achievement. I've already got the harder version.
I have mixed feelings for online achievements. I like that you can get a reward for being a good player online, but I do not like how they can ruin online play. When I am in a ranked match, I care more about winning the match - not how many kills my random teammate needs with the sniper rifle. All multiplayer achievements should should be attainable in unranked matches. I abhor when a teammate is screwing around going for an achievement than helping out the team.
Personally, I enjoy achievements that make you play a game differently than normal. For example, playing through a mission in COD: WaW without firing a shot, or using a controller or lefty flip in GH. I have fun going for these oddball achievements that make you see the game in a different light.
I like the total-point achievements. I'm mainly looking at the 10K+ killing achievements. They keep life to the game. In addition, they separate the hardcore from the normal gamer. All I ask for is an ingame counter. In my opinion, GOW2 did a good job in this aspect. I can easily view the total kills I have toward Seriously 2.0. The frequent updates are nice too.
I do not mind collection achievements, but don't put them in the game just to have one. I prefer to have the collection give something to the game. It does not have to be some upgrade for your character, just adding to the story line is good enough for me. For example, I did not mind collecting all of the audio diaries in Bioshock. I felt that each one enriched the story. Conversely, I dislike collecting the flags in Assassin's Creed. They add nothing to the game at all. Not to say I would not have done it anyway. I only rented the game and didn't have time to find the few I missed.

I like achievements that make me work for them or that give me a long-term goal. Achievements that lengthen the game. I want achievements that hold up to their name.

XxBlueSpade2xX
06-13-2009, 06:36 AM
I don't mind replays (more than 3 is just tedious though). I hate multiplayer/online achievements. Other than that, I don't really care.

Thegreatest7884
06-13-2009, 06:51 AM
I think Fable 2's list was close to perfect. It could have gone without the dolls, but the achievements introduced things that the player would have never done otherwise, and they were really fun to do.

pinksheets
06-13-2009, 06:52 AM
They should do away with "Don't die once" or "finish undefeated" type achievements. Way too easy of a workaround by just quitting to dashboard, so the achievement is just pointless.

I don't mind required replays, but I do wish MP achievements were relegated to either a small amount of points or be 0g achievements. Most of the time they are just obnoxious attempts to get people to play a lackluster multiplayer mode(Hello Riddick!). If it's a game that pretty much has a lock on having a successful multiplayer mode like Halo, Gears, or CoD, I don't mind as much.

iiGNiiT3
06-13-2009, 02:03 PM
Online achievements suck tbh. It just encourages boosting

Porpoise King
06-13-2009, 06:27 PM
Advice for Devs (2k sports) - Don't shut down your online servers.

TooMuchCowbell
06-13-2009, 06:40 PM
For me, the best list I've seen is CoD4.

You can get a fair amount of points just playing through the single player on Normal.

Then some achievements make you go out of your way and do things you might not have done, like taking down a helicopter with an RPG, knifing three people in a row, or killing an enemy while flashed. Challenging, but doable.

The collectible achievements are really easy, there's only 30 and all intel can easily be found if you just explore the levels.

The only "hard" part is finishing the game on veteran, which is very challenging and rewarding. It can be done with a little patience.

Cav Clayton
06-14-2009, 08:21 AM
Online achievements suck. Find a game can be a difficult, not to mention one with a decent connection.

Collectibles are okay if you are rewarded (other than the achievement) for them. And I'm not talking like a crap reward like the heli from GTA IV.

Achievements that would make you do something you otherwise wouldn't have done are great I reckon.

All this being said, I think replayability is a great thing. As long as it doesn't involve grinding, playing a game another time just means your getting more for your money.

K-Will
06-14-2009, 10:41 AM
I want achievement list that take less then 50 hours to do.

iKiddo
06-14-2009, 11:48 AM
Advice for Devs (2k sports) - Don't shut down your online servers.

And waste money just because you want an achievement. Yeah good idea.

TriRock
06-14-2009, 01:48 PM
On collectibles - I really liked the way Dead Space did it, you only had to get about 90% of all the diaries to get the achievement. I was hesitant at first but then made the attempt to play through without looking up a guide, and it worked out fine.

kaleido42
06-14-2009, 02:11 PM
I completely agree with everything stated by the OP and everything stated by Shaftiel in his first post in here, especially on Crackdown. In the end that game gets down to whether I should restart it (actually deleting it from my harddrive) so that I can play through again and get those stupid collectables.

Demon9Tom
06-14-2009, 02:32 PM
For me the ideal achievement is one that has you do something fun that you otherwise wouldn't have done, or as an extra incentive to do something worth doing in a game.

I hate any achievement that is a grind as it is the total opposite of the above. So anything like kill x number of enemies, use x skill x number of times, all achievements like that do is make you focus on that skill(s) until you get the achievement.

That style of achievement is made even worse when it requires you to playthrough the game multiple times to reach that amount, or replay parts of the game.

Multiplayer achievements to me are just another type of grind and are done badly in most games, anytime I see anything like win 100 matches, kill 10,000 enemies I find myself wanting to avoid the game entirely because 95% of the time finishing that game is going to require boosting which I'd rather not do.

The only multiplayer achievements that don't bother me are ones like play each map once, play a game in each mode. The type that get you to try the multiplayer mode.

I also really don't like it when I look at an achievement list and immediately get the impression that x achievement is going to be easy to miss, or see a collection achievement, because at that point a guide is required, and I would rather never have to look at a guide for any game.

daishichi
06-15-2009, 03:39 PM
Unmasked Bandit's list was just the kind of counterpoint I expected. I know there are folks who love multiplayer modes and enjoy replays, so I'd never expect those type of achievements to go away. I'd just prefer they be designed well; I like Demon9Tom's point about trying out all maps and modes. That at least would avoid the pointlessness of boosting via buddies and Bandit's complaint about self-interested teammates.

I'm surprised to see Demon9Tom, with a GS of 100K+, speak against boosting and using guides. I had figured those hardcore gamers depend on such achievements. Good to see you haven't lost sight of having fun and displaying skill.

And that's Bandit's best point: they are achievements. I don't think completing a game is less than that, I know folks who put a game down when the final level proves too hard. I think the common problem between unreasonable totals and pointless collectibles is related: they take time, but not skill. Grinding or following a walkthrough doesn't mean you play well, just that you have a sub-par social life (and as a guy who just spent 2+ hours collecting all the kittens in Superman Returns, I'm talking about myself too).

P.S.: I liked Bioshock's audio diaries also. They were part of the story's style; you could also see if (and figure out when) you'd missed one, and work your way back to get it.

Bearded Bugs
06-15-2009, 04:54 PM
Annoyed by online achievements. I get that they've invested time in multiplayer...maybe 100 of 1000 is okay, but I prefer a list like Godfather II's where it's amode you don't have to show any interest in. I want to be able to pursue points on my own without being dependent on others. Besides, buddying makes them mean nothing (you kill me 50 times, then I kill you 50 times...we're so badass!).



I don't hate MP achievements that much, but I think they should be completely self-dependent... I.e. having a total kill count that can be acquired without relying on others too much, and no team-based MP achievements... we've all been part of a team online at one time or another where either we're by far the strongest or the weakest on the team, which is frustrating for everyone.