Multiplayer Achievements - A Gamer in Limbo
Written Sunday, August 05, 2007 By Dan WebbView author's profile
Right, I have a confession to make. I wrote a conflicting editorial on this topic some weeks ago, but as soon as I was about to post it, the Halo 3 achievements fell out the sky and made my editorial seem some what out dated. So I let it stew for a few weeks before I went in to change a few things and before my eyes, I watched my editorial's foundations get ripped apart. Which is definitely a good thing in my eyes cause it seemed more negative then positive.
My first editorial on this topic focussed on developers constant need to include multiplayer achievements in a game when the game is most definitely a single player game. Games such as Overlord and The Darkness demonstrated this and triggered the original disappointment but subsequent lists have made me a very happy bunny.
"That was my torque bow!!!!!" *stomp*
Multiplayer achievements in my eyes are the devil's spawn, a reason for people to boost, something that totally shapes how some people play online. This is not intended by the developers no doubt but it is a definite by product. Don't you just hate the kid that goes "I call the Torque bow" in Gears, then you pick it up and for the rest of the game you get abuse from a 12 yr old who still wants his achievement. Online shouldn't be like that! It should be about having fun, working as a team, going up in ranks, climbing the leaderboards, NOT killing so many people with a certain weapon, its hardly an achievement really, is it? But, in all honesty, they are expected in some games, granted, but why put them in other games where the multiplayer is not up to scratch. Why not do as Codemasters did with DiRT and add a few in just so people at least try that arena. That in my opinion was a good list.
Halo 3 has a great list and the series has been commonly known as THE multiplayer game on Live, yet, they didn't over do the multiplayer achievements and there was a nice balance between online and offline. People weren't happy though you say? Fair enough. Thats only because they wanted an achievement to work towards while they played online cause they love the game so much and pretty much spend every waking minute online. But I pretty much guarantee that more people will play Halo because of that list than those that will miss it because they are disappointed. Touché Bungie.
"Sir, all multiplayer achievements eradicated"
Then we have Call of Duty 4, back in the hands of Infinity Ward and already proving they know what they are doing. One of the greatest single player experiences on the 360 was Call of Duty 2 and the list was a challenge as well, but more importantly, it was the essence of what an achievement list should be... Challenging but achievable. The new list is all single player and looks to be exactly that. Kudos to them.
Thing is though, I'm not sure where we stand anymore on this topic. EA's latest incarnation, Medal of Honour has a 700-300 split with multiplayer achievements being in the minority... Is this too many still? Or have they got it right? Well, looking at the list, 75 of those 300 points are for 1,000 online kills and 500 objective points, but in actual fact, these may as well be worth the full 300, why you ask? Well, you should in actual fact get them all on the way to that final goal. One great thing I think about this list is the 0 point multiplayer achievements. Killing two bird with one stone pops in to my head. Not upsetting those, like myself, that want to get 1000 points from the game, but at the same time giving the Live players a few goals to work towards. Is this the future of multiplayer achievements? Well, lets hope so, but only time will tell.
"Major Nelson tells it like it is!!"
Microsoft firmly stated a while ago, well through the ever resourceful Major Nelson... On podcast 211 I do believe (no research, honest), that they will be encouraged against using these multiplayer achievements. What happens to a non XBox Live Gold user? Including multiplayer achievements in one sense suggests that they have been sold a faulty product. Well, this was 6 months ago when they stated this and one could say that the multiplayer achievements have in fact become less frequent, but there are still too many when you look objectively. Problem is, they gave the developers total discretion over them, which to be fair, will probably not make much of a difference in the way they act. Only a definitive statement making them not use them would be effective, but I'm sure Microsoft don't want to stiffle the creative powers of the people that work around them.
I personally say, we're moving in the right direction on the whole, but games like The Darkness and Overlord have casted more doubt and aspersions over these terrible things. At this current moment in time, being in limbo on multiplayer achievements is probably the best way to say it. Some developers are going with the user feedback (Call of Duty 4 and its 100% single player list) and some continue to want to encourage people to play their games online... Alot, well too much condering they are mainly single player games! (The Darkness, Overlord). It's like making Tiger Woods do synchronised swimming while his strengths lie in golf. Madness, total madness! Some are trying to balance them (Halo 3 and Medal of Honour), so I have no idea what the current stance on them is... But lets hope, that they heed the words of Microsoft and Major Nelson and be done with them forever.