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Old 02-10-2010, 09:16 AM   #1
Bridget
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Let's talk about Achievements.

It is not final whether or not the Orangebox conversion will come with achievements, but I figured I would make this thread regardless. Now, don't go berserk when you hear the word 'achievements' simply because Team Fortress 2 uses them. Achievements in one form or another have been in video games for quite some time. I can think about having to unlock all the secrets in Donkey Kong Country for a 101% ending scene as an example. Even when achievements weren't available; we created our own. That is the whole point behind speed-runs.

Team Fortress 2 did screw up the way achievements worked by making advantageous unlocks dependent upon the achievements' completion. That's not the only problem with the way achievements were implemented. I want to outline what I feel makes achievements terrible and how I think we can combat it and produce achievements that add to the experience instead of taking away. Achievements have great potential.

1. Achievements must not be monotonous and repetitive. These achievements are a testament to patience instead of skill. Achievements should, when the person is capable and within a certain 'skill level' or 'skill set', be completed quickly. If you can't complete an achievement, it should be an indicator of your inability as opposed to lack of determination, which leads me to my next point:

2. Achievements should not be made difficult artificially. For example, in Team Fortress 2, achievements are often difficult to achieve. It has nothing to do with your ability or skill-level, it has to do with the achievements being so bizarrely constructed that even someone greatly skilled would need to dedicate time to it. If you can't complete an achievement, it should be an indicator that you are not ready (in terms of skill) to do so. This should encourage you to progress to that achievement. Inability to complete an achievement should never be based on the fact that the achievement is poorly constructed.

3. As stated above, people should have to progress to be able to achieve some achievements. They should have to do lower achievements to ramp up to the achievement they find difficult instead of 'rolling the dice' and attempting to get the achievement by blind luck or reptition. Achievements should build off previous knowledge and supply you with something that can be built off even further. TF2 tries to do this by teaching you how to use weapons and rewards you by giving you a new weapon, and that weapon's achievements lead up to another weapon, and so on. This is nice, but TF2 achievements often fall short on the other parts of what I think make achievements great.

4. Achievements should be informative and educational, teaching the player how to get the best out of his class and the game in general. Showcase what makes Fortress Forever great. If an achievement introduces something new to the player that he or she can benefit from, then it has achieved most of what it should have been created for. For example, an achievement that encourages the player to -- instead of sitting at the flag trying to blue pipe incoming offense -- set up a pipe trap on the flag and detonate it as enemies try to steal the flag is a good example. It teaches you something.

5. To follow up from point 4 and elaborate on point 1, achievements should always serve a purpose. Achievements like "Kill * x with y" are examples of bad achievements, because by the time you progress to the skill level where you can complete these achievements, they become useless. I have the skill needed to complete these achievements, I learn nothing by doing them (I don't build off my knowledge which is ideal in an achievements system) and waste my time doing them. Why do purposeless achievements? No thanks. Bad examples in TF2 are everywhere, but here's one: "While rocket jumping kill an enemy with the Equalizer before you land." This teaches you nothing. It's merely a bragging right. It's fun to brag about pulling off something amazing, but it's effect (unlike educating someone on how to play the game effectively) disappears eventually.

6. Achievements must be passive, encouraging good gameplay choices while the gameplay actually happens instead of departing from it. A example of a bad achievement that breaks this rule is the one in Team Fortress 2 where the Medic is expected to Ubercharge a Scout, who in turn kills three enemies with his Force-A-Nature. This is a bad achievement because 1. Scouts are not good ubercharge partners, so this encourages a bad gaming decision and 2. because Scouts are bad ubercharge partners, you depart from the intended gameplay (have a Medic jeopardize his class role and position) to get some pointless achievement that will never come in handy again. Medics would much rather Uber Soldiers or Demomen. Poor achievement design, imo.

7. This is a simple one. Achievements should be optional, though recommended. Of course someone who does his achievements might learn something new and useful and become better than the person who neglects the achievement system, but the idea is that the person who just wants to play the game doesn't lose out entirely. Team Fortress 2's achievement system becomes almost mandatory. The development team there strived to make the unlock items mere alternatives or 'sidegrades' but given the latest updates (Equalizer, Direct Hit, etc) that attention to detail has been thrown out the window. No unlocks, no broken benefits, just knowledge.

That's all I can think of. Discuss? Bonus? Try to create at-least one achievement for each class that follows the bold guidelines above. You can do more if you want. =D
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:24 PM   #2
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I disagree with achievements entirely. They promote improper gameplay, and motivated players to play the game irregularly to achieve superficial goals. I've played multiple games with achievements that have caused me to fundamentally play the game differently, and in multiplayer games most of the time these achievements act at the detriment to the rest of the team. When I played World of Warcraft, I was an achievement whore, I was Top 100 in the US for about a month, and most of the achievements require you to do things that rely on other people, and often times they don't want to do them.
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:25 PM   #3
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That's a very nice list, and I agree with pretty much everything in there.

Edit: @ Genghis...if you/we were to follow that list (or one that is similar to it), then it would not be that way.
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Old 02-10-2010, 04:52 PM   #4
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achievements would be good for drawing new ppl to the game. i hear tf2 children bitching about achievements all the time and how ff doesn't have em. another thing u could do is award achievements for completing trimp maps and conq maps. i think if it was done right it would be cool feature.
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Old 02-10-2010, 05:35 PM   #5
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Personally I don't care a flip for achievements, but I can see where properly constructed examples could help prompt newer players into good behaviours or to explore classes/capabilities that might not be obvious. Note, that if the achievements are badly constructed, then Genghis's comments fully apply.

Things like:

- Captured X flags as a scout
- X rocket kills while conced
- Killed X flag carriers with demo pipes
- X Level 3 burn kills as a pyro
- Upgraded friendly sentry gun X times
- Healed X infections
- Victorious on map X, Y, Z
- High FF points on map X, Y, Z

One downside: I assume that the achievements have to be persisted on a server somewhere - which means cost/maintenance for the dev team.
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:05 PM   #6
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Those become monotonous. Introduce the skill or benefit then reward. If it makes sense (and it does) then they will pick up on it.
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:23 PM   #7
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wow Bridget, i see you have a lot of free time huh?

I like the way you reflected about achievements and i think it might work on FF if properly done. Although I'm against of any change that might increasing the processing (both server and client side).
I've seen some server that can't handle a 10v10 game without lagging, which i believe is due the high processing needs of FF(and others HL2/Source/Orange engine games). I may be shitting out of my mouth, but i believe adding achievements can make it even worse.
please, correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 02-10-2010, 06:35 PM   #8
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I think pretty much any achievement that has a 'grind' factor to it, is basically what I described above. You'll also find that a majority of the achievements in the major games of today are.... mostly grind achievements.

Achievements can be done right if implemented correctly, however it would be very difficult to implement a system which didn't have grind achievements.

Just look at what achievements have done to TF2. They have entire maps/servers, dedicated to 'achievement idling'. If the developers are going to consider achievements, which they are free to do, I must warn them, from my own personal experience, that achievements can and do kill what makes games... well, games. With an already fragile community, pigeon-holing people into grinding achievements (at the detriment to the rest of the people they're playing with) could fracture the community even further. Pubs are already frustrating as they are, I'd to see 22 people grinding the 'Make them burn!' achievement, and getting a Level 3 burn 1,000 times.
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Old 02-10-2010, 08:17 PM   #9
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Thus the point of my list; to make achievements merely optional though with an appeal to be done: education. By the way, to another wondering, Achievements come with the Orangebox SDK. It doesn't require anything bizarre or third-party to setup. I don't think so, at-least.
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Old 02-10-2010, 09:58 PM   #10
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There's something else you must take into consideration;

Achievements, while they partially appeal to the more casual crowd, a lot of the casual crowd won't see achievements to their end. In other words, they'll do achievements if they don't break their normal cycle of gameplay. You then have the upper-skill level players who could give two shits about achievements, and finally, the third crowd. The mid-to-upper skill level players, who go out of their way to be completionists.

If achievements are going to be a 'hook' or a 'draw' for newer players, they must be catered to newer players.
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Old 02-11-2010, 12:32 AM   #11
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O_o

You guys are silly.

There's no such thing as a grindy achievement, that's absurd. They are something you achieve - a mark that you've done something. Whether that be 5 kills as a soldier, 50 double det kills as a demo, or built 100 SG's as an engineer, it's an achievement.

They're meant as an afterthought to show progress. Most TF2 achievements are balls, and that is what Ghengis is primarily protesting.

Making achievements for each class is the proper way to do it though. This way, they are marks of usage with a class and possibly proficiency.

Examples of a good achievements and a bad achievements:

Good Achievement: Uncloaking 4 spies as a scout.

Bad Achievement: Crowbarring 4 spies after uncloaking them.

Good Achievement: Kill 50 enemies carrying your flag with a Heavy.

Bad Achievement: Capture the enemy flag 50 times as a Heavy.

Good Achievement: Get 5 headshots in a row as a sniper.

Bad Achievement: Get 5 headshots in a row as a sniper.

As you can see, there is a proper way to do it and a not so proper way to do it. The idea that all achievements are bad is lame. There is no such thing as a bad mark of progress.

An achievement can be akin to comparing your painting skills then with your painting skills now. It might be an achievement to finally be able to wet blend on a miniature. It might be an achievement to achieve the skin tone you've always wanted.

All achievements do is track stuff. They are not bad in nature. Achievements become bad when a game relies on them for fun. They are not bad when the games fun is enhanced by them.
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Old 02-11-2010, 02:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Born_In_Xixax View Post
One downside: I assume that the achievements have to be persisted on a server somewhere - which means cost/maintenance for the dev team.

Costs a lot less than you are thinking. A LOT less.
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Old 02-11-2010, 03:34 AM   #13
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Achievements are only grindy if you choose to grind them. I can guarantee you that casual players won't bother. I won't. I could see how achievements could annoy some more-than-casuals as another perhaps less legitimate way to measure, for lack of a better word, achievement in FF.
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Old 02-11-2010, 04:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Achievements are only grindy if you choose to grind them. I can guarantee you that casual players won't bother. I won't. I could see how achievements could annoy some more-than-casuals as another perhaps less legitimate way to measure, for lack of a better word, achievement in FF.
I think it's important to separate who actually defines what is an achievement in FF. You can't cater to a hardcore FF player's idea of an FF achievement, it may require traveling mach 2 while carrying a flag while infected, on fire, and being raped by a smurf.

There needs to be realistic and defined goals that new players should want to work for, something that benefits a new player from doing something that contributes. Lets face it, fortress points are useless. 2000 Fortress Points mean nothing to a new player. 2000 Fortress Point reward for achieving "X number of cured infections" may give a little depth and reward for a new player.

Unfortunately, the hardcore FF player holds this game by the short and curlies. Can't do a whole lot without alienating that player base. *Shrug*
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Old 02-11-2010, 05:39 AM   #15
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Learn bhop - go half of max bhop speed

Master bhop - go max bhop speed

Learn to drop conc - make a conc jump while conc is on the ground

hand held - conc jump while holding it

nade jump, rocket jump, double jump, super jump, etc


how about some harder ones

projectile air shot

2x or 3x rally gun rebound kill

emp a demomans pipes and kill an enemy

kill a player with a Sabotaged dispenser

get a 3x kill with a pipe trap

crowbar an hw as scout

get healed from an infection.. LOL

kill someone with a tranq

while playing any other class but sniper, kill another sniper at long range

kill a spy thats fully cloaked

annnd capture the flag 50 times as hw, you guys can think up the names for these.
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:35 AM   #16
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Quote:
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There's no such thing as a grindy achievement, that's absurd. They are something you achieve - a mark that you've done something. Whether that be 5 kills as a soldier, 50 double det kills as a demo, or built 100 SG's as an engineer, it's an achievement.

They're meant as an afterthought to show progress. Most TF2 achievements are balls, and that is what Ghengis is primarily protesting.
I kinda agree with you on that. Sure, some (most?) people won't care about getting achievements. They'll do the easy ones, get a few just by playing the game, the usual.

TF2 messed this up. Some achievements are just plain ridiculous - get 2004 kills as a scout? 1k kill assists as a heavy? That stuff takes hundreds of play hours to do normally. Wouldn't be an issue, except that you need to do the achievements to get new weapons.

That's why achievement servers and maps were (and still are, I think) played so much. It's necessary to devote ludicrous amounts of time to TF2 to be able to experience it fully, even if you as a player are very skilled.
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:45 AM   #17
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Quote:
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Bad Achievement: Capture the enemy flag 50 times as a Heavy.
Quote:
Originally Posted by R00Ki3 View Post
annnd capture the flag 50 times as hw, you guys can think up the names for these.
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Old 02-11-2010, 06:47 AM   #18
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The reason achievement servers exist isn't so people could get the achievements. It's so they could get the items linked to them.

Without a link to the achievements they instantly become non-grindy. It's to show that you've achieved something. In TF2 they exist because of the weapons.

ETA: 10,000 kills as an Engineer isn't grindy because there's nothing at the end. A grind implies a reward. With no reward there is no grind. Unless you think that somebody gives a shit about your achievements then that might be a reward... but nobody gives a shit about your achievements but you.
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:35 AM   #19
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Achievements can be grouped by difficulty. We can give some of the more 'bragging rights' achievements to the more difficult group so that even 'veteran' players can test themselves, but I still think majority wise, achievements should be having new players out to learn the game. Starter Achievements, Beginner, General, Difficult, and "Bragging Rights"

To work off one of Rookie's suggestions, here's how progression should work toward more difficult achievements. There is a bit of a jump between them, but oh well. Note, achievements should have good explanations even in game, so a player knows how his 'work' benefits him.

Starter Achievement
:
Learn how to pop players in the air. Explanation? It denies them horizontal movement and means that avoiding the next shots becomes difficult for the person airborne.

Beginner Achievement
:
Pop an enemy into the air and then deal damage to him, while he is airborne, with the super shotgun. Explanation? You are not limited to fighting when the enemy is grounded. In fact, airborne targets are sometimes easier to hit.

General Achievement:
Pop an enemy into the air and then deal damage to him, while airborne with the super shotgun. Before he lands, shoot the ground underneath him to deal damage he can't avoid. This could also chain into another 'pop' which shows them how juggling works. (OR) Pop an enemy into the air and deal damage to him using splash by shooting a rocket at the wall next to him or the ceiling above him.

Difficult:
Pop an enemy into the air and then kill him with a direct hit using the rocket launcher. Considering how difficult this is, players will be spending more time with the lower achievements and eventually come to realize shotgunning enemies in the air is the better option given the guarantee of hitting your target. This is ramping toward bragging rights.

Bragging Rights
:
I'm not sure what we could put here. Airshot x enemies in a row? Insta-gib a Scout moving past x movement speed after conc jumping? This is not what I care for, so someone else can come up with it. o:
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Old 02-11-2010, 08:54 AM   #20
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@Credge - yep, exactly what I meant. +1 and cookies!

The tiered system of achievements would be really nice, Bridget.
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