I want to bring up a good talk from Chris Hecker about achievements; Achievements Considered Harmful?.
Why? Apart from it being bloody interesting, it reminded me when it popped up from another blog – I had a discussion, ever so briefly, with a few guys at a GameCityNights event at the start of the month. All the common arguments came up from them – “can ignore them” and “new playstyles” (and of course “I enjoy them” – these were both men; seems research points to this kind of reward being less important to women). I am glad Chris went over these and I now know a reasonable way of explaining why they are invasive especially on design; he himself says he will try and do something as a test with the Xbox limitations.
You might realise I’m not a fan. To me they’re invasive, annoying, and change the gameplay in games to allow such actions to exist (for no other good reason). For instance I abhor all the Valve TF2 achievements – once I have the weapons I then ignore them, they’re intended to be a fun addition but instead turn into a complete barrier to progress. This is anecdotal, and I don’t care 😉 These kinds of rewards are rubbish to me in any case and don’t encourage anything from me. No gnomes are going into space for me.
I however agree; more research needed (with less bias, hehe), and his Q&A is well worth listening to where he clarifies a lot of the things involved in his talk. I mainly also don’t want to ever play a game where you’re paid to play, urg…it’d be more like the gaming (gambling) industry then anything else.