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Building a better achievement system


Achievements et al are generally broken down into the following combination of the four categories listed and their subsets (this is not a definitive list and used for argument sake, everyone has their own snowflake preference).

1. Exploration

  • Discover a new zone (any type)
  • Discover a new item (any type)

2. Combat

  • PVP (Various)
  • Kill “x” mob (also “x” number of times)
  • Dungeon
  • Raids


  • Profession
  • Craft “x” (also “x” number of times)


  • Collections (Collect “x”/number of times)
  • Quests (complete “x”)

The outcome of completing an achievement is usually rewarded with “points” that serve no other purpose than to be accumulated.

Image result for WoW achievements
There are variance within this system across the many MMO's as some achievements unlock actual rewards like pets, suffix/prefix titles, or badges.  This is the exception rather than rule though and is what I would like to focus on when I say "Build better achievements".

So how do we go about building better achievements?


There are extremes in both areas like Vanguard gave you an achievement of sorts for being the first person to find any item, first person to loot that rusty short sword on your server? Now your name is in lights.  Other games like Everquest added in acheivements after the fact to play catchup and it shows via the barebones outline achievement point system it uses.  SWtoR did not use points but had rewards/unlocks when you completed certain achievement (though not all).

My “personal” ideal system would be a blended format that would reward points for your achievements, obviously more points for more difficult achievements then allow you to use those points for cosmetic rewards in addition to gaining titles (suffix/prefix) for a specific achievement.

Image result for Neverwinter achievements

For example, let us take a look at an exploration achievement from NWO and add the blended format to it.  If you were to attain all of the exploration achievements for the Protectors Enclave, you would receive the title “Explorer of the Enclave” and gain a total of 100 points.  Normally these points would be nothing more than pixel math to add together but what if you had the option to spend them on something?  Let’s say there are three different color palette swapped bear cubs that cost 100 points each, you could buy one to use as a pet.  Or, you could save those points and use them in the underdark to buy two different colored spiders (when you complete that exploration achievement).


As a hardcore player achievements give me something to grind on when I have completed the current content and those that offer rewards are more of a fashion brag to show off to other players.  A system that rewards only unusable points would obviously not cater to this mindset and I would argue actually hurts the reason to have an achievement system in the first place (there has to be some carrot/stick reward).

What achievement system with Intrepid implement? We do not yet know and I doubt the development team this early on has more than a casual thought process on a white board sketched out. 

My question to the community is pretty simple, what would you like to see in an achievement system and what was your favorite from past MMO’s.


*on a strictly side note the pre-CU SWG badge system was one of my favorites as it incorporated GM only given badges.  I received one for having an interesting back story one day on my Dancer/Rifleman and the fact that someone (a GM) would have had to stop, inspect my character, and then take the time to award me the badge left an impression.


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    I'd love to see a running journal for each player that others can see. Sort of a running story of your player's life and accomplishments. Something like:

    -7/26/19 Karthos entered the world
    -7/30/19 Level 10 achieved
    -8/15/19 Defeated Freliax Monster
    -10/5/19 Became citizen of Node X
    -12/25/19 Participated in Xmas event
    -2/4/20 Looted Legendary item [Sword of Badass]
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    ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited June 2017
    Certain achievements might also unlock augments - and, hopefully, quest starters.

    Since the nodes are tracking everything we do, a certain number of achievements could, theoretically, trigger a mob to spawn or an event. Possibly even a dungeon.
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    Have I mentioned I love the achievement system of Guild Wars 2? Haha. 

    I like that there is just so many things to do, I guess I just forgot what the rewards are. I think you earn some form of currency that allow you to buy cosmetics. It's been a while so I can't quite remember. 

    Certainly the easiest way to not to break the game is not promise anything in the way of power. That would be titles and costumes relating to the achievement. Another cool thing might be crafting recipes, e.g. skin recipes as well, relating to the achievement. Like if you kill enough undeads you gain a recipe to craft anti-undead weapons, or maybe just holy looking weapons. 

    Another achievement system that I kind of enjoy but has the potential of breaking the game is Borderlands 2. The achievement system give you medals, and you can use your medals to purchase really tiny minute bonuses that really adds up when you play for a long time. This has the potential of making some of the more hardcore players potentially OP.
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    I would love some form of cosmetic reward to go along with the achievements. If I remember correctly ESO tied it with dyes. Would like something of that nature to go with achievements. Either way, even if it is just points my anal nature tends to lead me to try and complete achievements just for the sake of completing them. 
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    I was really hoping this topic would find a wider audience as an achievement system can add extra spice to a game that may need it. In any case, I would be against any achievement reward that added character bonuses even if they are of the mundane style like; +1 to hit undead after you have killed 5000 zombies. Pure cosmetic should be the goal as it is more about bragging rights in my opinion. A cosmetic idea for Exploration Achievements could be be an "explorers outfit" that is changed every time you attain a new exploration achievement, whether that be a new color or a new medal on your coat or even a striped wearable banner that would show where you have been.
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    I'm all for achievements.  I particularly liked the Tome of Knowledge in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.

    As for spending the points, cosmetic style awards are great and can add more flavour and flair.  No to anything that gives in game advantages.

    Could even have something in the achievement tome that as you progress/explore where parts of it open up with clues which you could then interact with in the tome to progress the parts that are opening up.  Eg if a part of a picture appears in the tome based on an interaction the player has had in the world and the player could then try and find that location or there may be an option in the tome to write in the location or answer a riddle which opens up the full image and other information.

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    I like achievements a lot, but not so much those that force you to kill bosses in a certain way, or do silly things such as jumping 1000 times on a mailbox.

    Those achievements simply break immersion and put you on a predetermined path. I dont want to be told how to kill a boss, I wanna do it my own way. What I like is more dynamic achievements that really show you accomplished something epic.
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