I have to admit – I love achievements, I really do. I love that little “blip” when you’ve did something that will increase your gamer score. I have to credit the whole achievement system with actually reigniting my love for video gaming. There’s just something really fun about beating a game, then having it permanently listed beside your username, to show the world that yes, you played Gears of War 2 on insane, and you lived to tell the tale.
I’ve also found Xbox 360 achievements have helped in social settings. I was out with a few people a month ago, and there was one person there I had never met before. The topic of video games came up, and as we both had XBox 360s we swapped gamer tags just for the hell of it. I went out with that same group of people a couple of weeks later, and I spent most of the night just talking to that guy, chatting about the achievements he had, and that I had. He even asked for advice on how to get a bigger gamer score, as he has a competition going with one of his co-workers.
I promised him next time we go out, I’d bring Avatar with me.
So yeah, I’m a big fan of achievements, and I have a 75k gamer score to prove it. However let’s be honest – the term is “achievements” is just a tad ambiguous. I’d estimate less than 30% of all potential achievements are actual true achievements. Now that’s fine – sure, it’s a bit sad to sit there with a printed off map for 5 hours shooting and killing 200 pigeons just to show the world that you did it – but at least you have something to show for it. It was a lot sadder finding all those hidden parcels to 100% earlier GTA games “just because”.
My only problem – and it’s a big one, is online achievements. Because as the title of this article suggests; they’re ruining online gaming.
The inspiration from this article came when, after a nice dinner, I sat down to chill for an hour and play some Fifa 2010. I find playing against the AI is rather boring, so I like to go online and play people. Now online play can be frustrating at times, especially in sports games when people quit out after they start to lose, but it’s something that I just have to suck up and live with – because that’s the way many online games are.
Achievements have made it a hell of a lot worse.
I started up a game of Fifa 2010, and within seconds of kickoff my opponent got the ball, ran to his own net and scored an own goal, then immediately quit. What? Why did he quit that early? Why did he score an own goal? I assume it was just some sort of internet connection problem or just someone messing around, so I went to play someone else. Seconds into the match, this person got the ball, ran to his own net, scored an own goal and quit on me too! I was wondering if there was problems with XBox Live so I messaged the person and asked. He replied:
“Sorry bro, doing it to get an achievement.”
What? Quitting games seconds in for an achievement? That doesn’t make any sense. So I logged on to the internet to check, and sure enough: there’s an achievement entitled Bad Loser. To get the achievement you have to quit 5 xbox live matches when you are losing.
Seriously, what the hell?
Now this is a 0g achievement – it won’t affect your gamerscore, but it’s still an achievement nonetheless, and you’re always going to have people going for it – people who like to get as many achievements as possible, no matter what they are, what you have to do to get them or what they are worth.
So EA deliberately put in an “achievement” which essentially encourages players to lose and quit matches.
I wish this was just a one-off, but in reality the majority of online achievements found in games are ones that disrupt the whole point of online play. Thankfully they’re not all that bad, but really – if you’re sitting there playing an online game and going out of your way to do something you really shouldn’t be doing – you’re ruining the whole point of online gaming.
Let me give a few examples of achievements that disrupt online gaming, some specific to games, and some achievements you can find in a majority of games:
Blitz The League: Lose 5 games in a row online. So you can sit there and play people, and they’ll just let you win, taking all the competition out of it, just so they can get an achievement.
Call of Duty 3: There are achievements for getting up to 40,000 total points in online multiplayer. The best way to do this is to be the person that scores the flag, or secures the HQ. So if you have an achievement junkie on your team, don’t even think you can count on them to back you up, or look out for you and your team, because they’re going to be doing it just for themselves, so they can get that precious 120 gamerscore points.
Play Every Map/Gametype: This is a popular achievement found in games, where you have to play every sort of game mode like Deathmatch, Capture the Flag etc, or every different map. Why exactly is this an achievement? What you often get is people going for this achievement, and not actually caring about the game itself. Some of them even start up the game, then go off and do something else, just so they can get that achievement.
Another one that is similar to the above is play X amount games of multiplayer. Again, it encourages people to just join up and let it sit there.
Kill X amount of enemies with ____(insert weapon here): Now okay – I can understand WHY so many online games have this sort of achievement – it encourages variety, but again it comes at the expense of online play. It’s happened to me way too often – playing a team deathmatch, and half my team members are spending their time lobbing grenades or trying to stab the opposite team with a knife, just to get a lousy 10g.
Frontline Fuel of War: This one actually has an achievement for killing YOURSELF 10 times in a multiplayer game. There’s nothing I like more than teaming up with someone who is going to spend the whole game throwing grenades at their feet.
Battlefield Bad Company: Man, where do I start with this one? Let’s see – 15g for hanging back at the gold crates and letting 20 teammates die and respawn on top of you. Destroy 1000 walls and knock down 1000 trees rather than you know – try and help your team? – for 15g each. Battlefield Bad Company 2 is even worse. “Hey, think you can go a sniper and cover us from afar?” “Sorry, I’m going an engineer and will kill someone with my repair tool – it’s 15g you know!”. “Hey can you give me some cover fire?” “Sorry, I already killed someone with my M60 and my RPG-7, I need to go knife someone now.”
I’m not anti-achievements, really. I love them, and I have a 75k gamerscore to back that up. I’m in the Mile High Club. I spent 5 hours freeskating in Skate. I’ve killed 7 chickens in under 10 seconds in Modern Warfare 2. I’ve even saved my game of Fallout 3 at Level 19, just so I could go back and redo it again, getting to Level 20 with all 3 different types of karma.
What I’ve never done however, is disrupt an online game or another persons enjoyment just for the sake of achievements. And really – is it worth paying over $50 a year just to meet people who spend the game jumping off high ledges, deliberately losing or hiding out in a corner?
Because I don’t think it is.
Source by Stephen K Jones