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Thoughts on the different kinds of achievements

There are a lot of different kinds of achievements. I want to go over the most common ones and give my opinion about them.

First some general thoughts about achievements. It would be nice if a game rechecks achievements at specific points. This way if a bug/network problem or any other hiccup prevents the game from unlocking that achievement it will still unlock after the problem is fixed and the player doesn’t have to go through something again or potentially even restart a game because of it.

Another thing that is very helpful for players is adding visible counters to that achievement when you have to collect X specific items or do an action X specific time. It helps the player to know how far he or she is, but it also confirms to the player that the achievement is working, of what they are doing is the correct thing to work on that achievement.

achievement with counter

Unique Achievements:
If your game has the option to have unique/funny trophies, please add them! It may entice players to play a new specific way they didn’t think about or just have a laugh with what you ask them to do. It also highlights what makes your game unique and special. These are the kind of achievements I enjoy the most.

Unique Achievement

Missable achievements:
A missable achievement is one that can be missed by the player and result in the player having to start over the game to be able to get it. For an achievement hunter, this isn’t the most favorable achievement type because everybody prefers to play a game without the need for a guide during a first playthrough or have to play a second time because they missed something.

I have a list on this website where I list games without missable achievements because it feels just so much more relaxed when you don’t have to worry about the achievements when playing through the game and that you can mop up the missing ones later. In many games, this type of achievement is easily avoidable with a chapter selection or the option to restart a level.

Missable Achievement

Achievements for collectibles:
Adding collectibles in your game is such a standard thing in the gaming world, but don’t go overboard (Looking at you Assassin’s Creed with your many many feathers). I don’t mind most games with collectibles, but please if you do, give the player a way to track where the player is missing them. Like in a list where you see if you have completed each level/world and what you’re missing or even better, show them on the in-game map. This way a player doesn’t have to hold a list next to their gaming equipment to check off a specific collectible. and again, make it possible to mop them up later on, this comes back to the point above about missable achievements.

Achievements for collectibles

Challenging achievements:
There might be a group of players who really love the hardcore achievements like “don’t die while playing the game” or “play this game on the hardest difficulty” or another example is “Beat this game within X amount of time”. For me personally, this type of achievement will turn me away from a game because I’m a very average gamer who prefers to just be able to play the game and not add another level of stress. So keep in mind that this kind of achievement sounds awesome but it can also turn away a part of the “achievement hunter’ group because they don’t are up for that kind of big challenge. One thing to make sure to do is if you ask the player to play on the highest difficulty to make it available for the first playthrough and if you ask players to play on different difficulties, make them stackable, so players don’t have to play through the game multiple times to just get all those achievements.

challenging achievement

Grindy achievements:
For the most part, I don’t have problems with this kind of achievement as long as developers/publishers don’t go overboard. This kind of achievement is most of the time the last achievement players are working on. If it takes too long because somebody went overboard then it might leave a bad last taste in the player’s mouth and if a friend asks later on if the game was fun they will mostly remember that big grind and not the wonderful main story.

Grindy Achievement

Multiplayer achievements:
If your game is a multiplayer game then it totally fits that you’ll have multiplayer achievements, but if it is not, please don’t add them. If you want to add them make it possible to get them with one other player, preferable with a friend (and not a ranked match or something). If you need 5+ players and do something specific, that is very hard to pull off and may turn down achievement hunters. Also, don’t go overboard with how many multiplayer games are needed if it isn’t the core of your game.

Multiplayer achievement

Play before a certain day, or got version X of the game:
I really really dislike this type of achievement. It might sound fun to give an achievement to your Kickstarter backers, or to those that played your game in the first week of release but think about how many people you exclude from ever getting all the achievements. My personal reaction when a game has an achievement like this and that I missed out on will be to just leave the game alone, since in this case, I’m even certain that 100% completion isn’t possible and that there are enough other games where I would be able to achieve that or at least have a shot on 100% completion.

horrible achievement

Adding new achievements to your game later on:
I can understand that it might be fun to add achievements later on as a developer, and with a new DLC releasing that it might even help with the sales, but it can give players who previously completed your game give the feeling of resentment. It is like with work, they finally completed a task, and then the manager dumped a pile of new tasks on them. It might sound wrong to compare a game with work, but for me unlocking an achievement feels as good as finishing a task at work, it gives a small shot of dopamine which makes me happy.

dlc achievements

Don’t understand me wrong, this isn’t a recommendation page, just one that can make you look at achievements from the perspective of an achievement hunter. This list may sound like achievement hunting isn’t fun but for me and many others it still is, but there are a lot of things a developer can do to make if even more enjoyable.