Why Achievements are important and how I think they should be done. (VERY LONG)

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Brainbot
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Why Achievements are important and how I think they should be done. (VERY LONG)

They have been called achievements, badges, challenges, medals and so forth. Their primary purpose is to extend the life of a game by providing goals beyond completion of the game. They are a reward for completing a non-standard task such as finding a secret, collecting in game items, defeating a foe within specific parameters, defeating a predetermined amount of foes, completing a task within a specific time frame, multiple play throughs, playing with specific difficulty settings or simply reaching certain way points.

A bit of history on the subject.
While these varied achievements now are now an expected part of games they were originally nothing more complex than a high score in an arcade machine. But as video game culture expanded so too did the achievements.

In the early 80's Activision began offering iron on patches through mail order for the games you played at home. It was largely a gimmick. The idea was that you mailed in a photo of a TV showing your high score with a small fee and they would send you the 'Badge' so you can prove to everyone you were a master at the game. In reality and not surprisingly, they sent the badges to most anyone who sent in for them.

This was not a huge success for Activision but it did cause other game companies to offer their own versions of rewards for gaming prowess. Atari even had an entire unfinished game series based around the notion of obtaining high scores to unlock clues that you would enter into a contest. Some developers even included what is known as 'Easter Eggs' in their games such as the hidden message in 'Adventure'.

After the North American video game crash in '83-'84, these special rewards were obviously much more uncommon. Then in '85 Nintendo released the NES system in North America and with it a massive marketing campaign. This included ads, books, guides, contests and give-aways. In '88 Nintendo started publishing 'Nintendo Power'. A magazine devoted specifically to the Nintendo fan base. Almost instantly Nintendo had readers send in photos of their high scores or achievements from the NES library to be immortalized in it's pages to huge success.

These contest prizes and recognition in their magazine was the closest to what we consider achievements currently. But their games were also evolving to include unlockable rewards that were not required to complete the games. Games like the Final Fantasy series introduced unlockable characters that could only be obtained through a series of specific actions or Super Mario Brothers' warp pipes. Coincidentally, the NES library is also the source for the evolution of mini-games.

As time progressed, more and more games included their own versions of unlockable content continuing well into the next millennium. With games offering more varied challenges and a way to view them in game.
Mid 00's X-Box created the 'Gamerscore' as a way for players to track their achievements over multiple games. This proved so popular that both Steam and Playstation quickly followed suit.

Almost overnight a new gaming sub-culture was created. The internet became inundated with guides, blogs, videos and even entire websites devoted to the singular goal of these rewards. So ravenous and competitive was this sub-culture that Microsoft had to strictly govern the entire Gamerscore system. They instituted strict rules that games had to follow with their achievements and they cracked down on players who artificially inflated their scores. Both Steam and Playstation also have rule systems that guard against 'cheating' and game companies that abuse these types of rewards.

Since then these rules and heavy handed punishments for infractions have been lessened but they do still exist.

MORE POST TO FOLLOW

Brainbot
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With the history out of the

With the history out of the way it is time to discuss the 'Hunter' culture's effect on development.

Some players will happily play a game without a second thought to seeking out hidden or alternative challenges.To them it just doesn't matter. Others only complete these goals if they are rewarded with an in game item, power-up or content.

Then there are those who do not consider a game complete unless they finish every challenge in the game.Those are who we are talking about now.

Even before Gamerscores, there were players who set challenges for themselves that went beyond the games design. These included things like speedruns and limiting yourself to a single life or weapon. When developers learned of players doing this they saw how it extended the length of time people played a single game and at first were resistant to the notion. These super fan gamers were few and far between and they presumably didn't need new games to keep them entertained so developers continued to pump out simple quick games.
When they realized that extended interest drove not just these players, but the market itself forward they began to find ways to cater to that mindset. Sadly it took the video game crash to convince them of this.It was no longer enough to just simply make new games, they had to be compelling on some level.

When X-Box created the Gamerscore it was like a revalation to gamers and developers alike. Gamers wanted a way to track all the unique challenges some games had and developers saw a way to keep players loyal to their product. Since the introduction of Gamerscores, almost every game has at least some unlockable achievements.

But as I said previously, the 'Hunters' are ravenous and what was intended to extend the relevance of a game has now become a requirement in development. A large portion of players demand a game include something beyond just completion, mostly in the form of mini-games, multiplayer or achievements and usually in combination.

As the 'Hunter' culture grew so to did the type of achievements and with any growth comes growing pains.

Many developers tried all sorts of ways to cater to this type of gamer from the predictable awards for completing the game to the annoyingly time consuming collection of massive amounts of in game items. Players, being demanding and in all honesty the reason for games to exist, made it very clear which challenges they enjoyed and which they did not and developers for the most part listened.

Games now employ a multi-pronged concept to developing game play extensions that include some pretty interesting psychology.

If you are really interested in reading about it check here:
http://www.psychologyofgames.com/2016/07/why-do-achievements-trophies-and-badges-work/

Quick summary is:
Achievements set and maintain expectations, provide confirmation of our ability, act as a commitment, give a direction to follow and are a source of percieved community. This is all in addition to the sense of pride one gets for completing a task.

Even those who show little to no interest in these achievements still feel many of these effects of them being in the game.

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The achievements I think

The achievements I think should be included.

OK, this is were things get subjective and where people's opinions may differ. It's perfectly fine to disagree and I am willing to discuss others opinions but I am saying up front I am not interested in an argument about who is right.

With the disclaimer out there I am going to present what I feel will be the types of achievements a game like CoT should have and why.

First, there should be achievements for completing any major story element. I am not talking about Trials, I am speaking about stories the developers want to particularly emphasis in the game world.
The reason why I think these should be included is because they draw attention to larger events along a characters path and it does so in a non intrusive or demanding way. Things like when our character learns something new about the world they live in. If the beloved NPC group is really an enemy, your hated foe is actually a patsy of a larger threat and so on. Using the achievement system to draw attention is a subtle way to reward those interested in the system and story and easily ignored by those who don't care about one, the other or both.

I also feel there should be exploration rewards. I am not just talking about specific locations but also overall exploration.
The reason why is it encourages players to seek out those hidden areas. It gives players a sense that the game world is more than just a series of doors to fights, it's also a place where the next dark alley could hold a unique history or the warehouse mission map could have an interesting NPC. It's about setting the expectation that just looking around a bit more could result in something special.

Next, I fully expect there to be rewards for completing extended challenges. These include things like defeating a number of foes, doing a number of quests, obtaining various achievements and the like.
The reason why I would like these is because they represent a dedication to a task. They are one of the 'bragging rights' achievements.

I would also really like there to be some silly achievements. They can be either ones for doing something odd, humorously named or just something completely random.
I think these are important because they interject a bit of humility in the entire idea of achievements.

Then there are the challenge based achievements. Platforming, time limits on tasks, higher difficulty settings and so on. These are the achievements that require a greater skill to obtain.
These are important because they provide a framework for people who want to challenge themselves beyond normal game play. They let you know what is possible and give you a more tangible reason to attempt these tasks. These are the other 'bragging rights' achievements.

Finally there is all the other achievements a game includes. Anniversary, participation, involvement and so on. These can be really anything but they tend to relate directly to your commitment to the game itself.
These are important because it makes the player feel appreciated and welcome. That they are more than just another transaction record to the developers.

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We're coming up on the end.

We're coming up on the end. All that is left is to discuss how to make these achievements interesting and enjoyable for the majority of players.
Or to put it more arrogantly, How I think the achievements should be properly designed and why.

Again, I don't expect complete or even major agreement with my assessment and am willing to discuss various opinions but I don't want an argument.

That out of the way let's begin.

First and foremost, absolutely no permanent exclusive achievements. I know the ship has kinda sailed on this one with the Kickstarter badges so I am already stating with an impossible desire.
If you are unclear on what I mean by exclusive achievements, I mean those that can only be obtained for a limited time and if missed can never be earned. They include pre-order, one time 'log in during this time period' situations like anniversaries, or singular events achievements.
These are an awful design choice for the most part. It creates insurmountable barriers between players that no amount of skill or commitment can overcome. It also takes away some of the desire to collect these achievements from those who want to do it because they can never finish.
If, as in the case of the Kickstarter badge, the game is going to include these types of exclusive achievements then no hint of their inclusion should be a part of the in game tracking system for anyone unable to obtain them. It's not a true solution IMO but at least the tracking system does not have a constant greyed out reminder that you can never get all the achievements.
I do understand why some games use this 'one time only' tactic and know that it does work. It does not change my mind about it's effect on those who miss out.

Second, transparency for many achievements. Those that are not spoilers for the story or hidden unlockables should clearly list what you have to do to obtain them. This includes things like where in the game world you need be, how much you need to do and if there are any conditions you need to be aware of. Far too often you feel like you are progressing towards an achievement only to find you were not doing it right because it wasn't clear. Or worse yet you have no idea how much you have to do and grow frustrated and begin to second guess the task because it does not have a progress bar.
Furthermore, you should know what you get for unlocking this achievement. If for no other reason than letting us make informed decisions about which we want to pursue. It doesn't matter if the reward for unlocking the achievement is a costume, experience or just allowing us to proceed to the next level of the same achievement. We should know.

Third, clear avenues to pursue the achievements. There shouldn't be anything stopping a player from going after an achievement beyond their own skill. We shouldn't have to wait for specific times, we shouldn't have to compete (except for PvP achievements) with other players and we shouldn't be barred from progress due to daily allowances of an activity in our pursuit of the achievement. If we decide to go after the achievement we should be able to without these kinds of artificial roadblocks.

Forth, the achievement should represent the activity it requires for completion. If it is a PvP achievement it should be for actively engaging in PvP, not just entering PvP. If it is 'defeat foes' achievement then it shouldn't have more restrictions on it than is reasonable.
The point is, the achievements should encourage engaging in the activity and rewarding that engagement. Not luring people into an activity or turning it into a second job.

Fifth, skill requirements should represent the game. I have played many games with some form of achievements and the second worst achievement type is one where it ramps up the difficulty beyond what a normal person would learn to deal with in that game.
In case that isn't clear. A game has a general level of skill requirement that you learn through the course of playing that game. Even games with multiple difficulty levels tend to have a curve in which they follow as you get more skilled. Still many games include challenges or achievements that go far beyond the level of skill one could reasonably gain by playing the game on any difficulty setting. These challenges or achievements require extended additional practice to complete. In essence they are not tests of your skill but of your willingness to go beyond the reasonable. Some may enjoy this but I do not.

Sixth, please limit the non-achievement achievements.
Don't throw a bunch of collectables around the world and call collecting them an achevement. Collectables are the least liked achievements a game can have. Too many of them and they go from being an annoyance to reviled. Collectables are considered by most to be the single worst achievement type a game can have.
During seasonal events we don't need to spend weeks trick or treating, opening presents or saving baby new year in order to get the achievements. If we enjoy the activity we will do it regardless but we don't need the added pressure of having to do the same content exclusively for extended periods of time on each character during the same one month time.
Don't give us achievements for completing mundane tasks like 'buy our first item' or 'learn to jump'. They are meaningless and don't act as the lure you expect them to.

And finally, achievements should not be used when a reward is more suitable.
This one might be a bit confusing to some people so I am going to try and explain it better. Bear in mind I am talking specifically in regards to in games tasks.
Achievements are goals not rewards (despite my many uses of that term thus far). The point to achievements is not to get something, but to instead complete the task. It is the way a game presents the concept of 'completing a job is it's own reward' to it's players.
An in game reward, on the other hand, is a way to motivate players to complete a job. We enjoy the task but want the reward.
They are both similar ways to encourage player investment but they operate on different principles. Achievements are prizes for completing a task we choose to undertake and rewards are payment for following the games path.
So when I say that achievements should not be used as rewards I am talking about the devs getting players to do something they want them to do vs giving the players things they can choose to do.
I am not saying that there can't be a reward tied to an achievement or and achievement used as a reward.
I am saying that achievements should not be the type of reward used to encourage an activity.
If the devs want players to log in during an event then give a reward they can play with, don't make the reward a checkmark on a list of tasks.
If the devs want to encourage a player to experience all the trials in the game then give the players a special reward for doing so, not a medal graphic in some sub menu pop up.
If the devs want to encourage some behavior from it's players don't make the reward part of an optional system.

Anyway, there are my thoughts.

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Brainbot wrote:

You obviously put a lot of thought into that. Well done. There is a lot there, but I am only going to pick one point here.

Brainbot wrote:

First and foremost, absolutely no permanent exclusive achievements. I know the ship has kinda sailed on this one with the Kickstarter badges so I am already stating with an impossible desire.
If you are unclear on what I mean by exclusive achievements, I mean those that can only be obtained for a limited time and if missed can never be earned. They include pre-order, one time 'log in during this time period' situations like anniversaries, or singular events achievements.
These are an awful design choice for the most part. It creates insurmountable barriers between players that no amount of skill or commitment can overcome. It also takes away some of the desire to collect these achievements from those who want to do it because they can never finish.

My opinion on this differs. (I can't say I disagree because you have asked us all to forswear argument here.) If there are actually one-time occurrences, titles, or honors, then I think those should be awarded and people who do not qualify should not get them. To outright ban one-time opportunities and the permanent record for all to see that you were there or to outright ban an acknowledgement by the developers for someone's accomplishment in or out of the game, is just too restrictive to me. Granted, I may be blurring the lines here between reward and achievement, but I think the point still needs to be made.

Brainbot wrote:

If, as in the case of the Kickstarter badge, the game is going to include these types of exclusive achievements then no hint of their inclusion should be a part of the in game tracking system for anyone unable to obtain them. It's not a true solution IMO but at least the tracking system does not have a constant greyed out reminder that you can never get all the achievements.

I agree wholeheartedly here. There is a difference between giving someone a one-time acknowledgement and giving everyone else a hole they can't fill. I agree that one-time rewards and badges, mounts, titles or anything else that can only be achieved once should not be a greyed-out reminder in every tracker. That would just be cruel.

_________________________________

I'm going to illustrate another somewhat-related issue in this example because we are going to be given story arcs with decisions and consequences:
Let's say there was a story arc in which you had to make a choice. The game designers could give you a badge based upon your choice, forever recording what choice you made. If there were three choices to make, it would be improper, I think, to have two permanently greyed-out badges for the two choices you didn't take. Rather, have just the one 'slot' and display the badge there for the choice you did make. Then, on your account-wide achievements, you could put all three choice badges because other characters will have the opportunity to accomplish the other choices. This assumes there will be account-wide achievements and character achievements.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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Brainbot wrote:
Brainbot wrote:

Anyway, there are my thoughts.

Well after such a long and detailed overview of the topic of "achievements in games" I'll simply start off by saying I pretty much agree with your main points and conclusions here.

I considered myself a fairly serious "badger" in CoH (I had two characters who both had 1392+ badges and a several others with maybe 800-1000 badges each). Out of all your various conclusions the one that resonated the most with me is where you stated there should never be any "permanently exclusive achievements".

Unfortunately as you pointed out CoT has already managed to offer at least two badges that suffer from this problem (Kickstarter and 11th Anniversary badges). Now while I actually currently have both of those badges (which I consider that I got merely from the pure dumb-luck of being in the right place at the right time several years ago) I'd just as soon they not existed in their current form of being "one-time only" badges that no one else who ever starts to play this game will ever have a chance to get. Frankly as far as those two specific badges go I wouldn't even mind if the in-game store sold them for like a $1 each just so that they would become "non-issues" as far as exclusivity goes. Since they are essentially "pre-game" badges they effectively don't (and shouldn't) count as real badges to anyone.

As a bit of review it's fair to say that only a very tiny fraction of CoH's total available badges were of the "one-time only" variety. To CoH's credit many of its "event" badges did repeat on an annual basis and there were alternative ways to get things like Isolator (which was shortsightedly trapped behind the walls of the tutorial you could otherwise never return to). This left the Anniversary badges as just about the only ones that were truly "permanently exclusive" as you put it.

Clearly based on what's been covered here I could probably live without having Anniversary badges in CoT. Relative to CoH there were only 9 such badges (8 annual and a 9th that accounted for when CoV was launched) out of literally thousands of others. Will CoT have them? It's not 100% certain yet but the fact they already gave us the 11th Anniversary badge before CoT even launched makes it seem they're leaning towards that.

Thankfully there is a sort of workaround/compromise for this that has been suggested as far back as CoH forums. The idea is that the Devs could separate the badges in the game into two distinct groupings: character-based badges and account-based badges. The character-based ones would be all the badges you earned while playing a specific character. These would obviously be unique to individual characters. On the other hand account-based badges would appear in their own area but be available to be viewed on -any- of your characters tied to a specific account. These would include any one-time only badges such as Anniversary badges. The key distinction would be that "account badges" would be those that were earned based the generic actions of the "player" regardless of any single character's involvement. For example logging into the game during the month of May really has nothing to do with playing the game or any character you created for it but everything to do with a player doing something effectively outside of the game to accomplish some goal. This is what makes this kind of thing more appropriately an account badge, not a badge attributable to any single character.

Now does the idea of separating account and character based badges actually eliminate the very existence of "permanently exclusive" badges in the game? No, it doesn't. But if the CoT Devs are hell-bent determined to have at least a few of these types of badges in the game anyway then at the very least separating them into two groups will act as a sort of "quarantine" to keep the problem isolated and contained. It's not a perfect solution but it would be a workable compromise for this.

P.S. In keeping with what others have said on this thread the account-based badge area I described above should never include any "greyed-out" badges for what should be relatively obvious reasons at this point.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

If there are actually one-time occurrences, titles, or honors, then I think those should be awarded and people who do not qualify should not get them. To outright ban one-time opportunities and the permanent record for all to see that you were there or to outright ban an acknowledgement by the developers for someone's accomplishment in or out of the game, is just too restrictive to me. Granted, I may be blurring the lines here between reward and achievement, but I think the point still needs to be made.

I highlighted the key word "If" in your response here because that's really the key point of this issue:

CoH had almost NO one-time occurrences, titles, or honors to begin with. Period.

They were in such the minority that as I pointed out earlier there were only 9 badges out of thousands that exhibited this quality in CoH. All I would suggest is that if CoH already showed us that you could have a very good game with almost no examples of reliance on one-time rewards then I would think it would be relatively easy to once again keep that kind of thing to an absolute bare minimum in CoT as well.

Huckleberry wrote:

I'm going to illustrate another somewhat-related issue in this example because we are going to be given story arcs with decisions and consequences:
Let's say there was a story arc in which you had to make a choice. The game designers could give you a badge based upon your choice, forever recording what choice you made. If there were three choices to make, it would be improper, I think, to have two permanently greyed-out badges for the two choices you didn't take. Rather, have just the one 'slot' and display the badge there for the choice you did make. Then, on your account-wide achievements, you could put all three choice badges because other characters will have the opportunity to accomplish the other choices. This assumes there will be account-wide achievements and character achievements.

To be fair I actually don't have much problem with a "get one version of a X number of badges" type reward for the key reason that no matter which choice you make in a situation like that you'd still only get ONE new badge from that. No one else would get more or less badges than you could no matter which choice you made. Obviously as long as the game didn't maintain any of the "not picked" choices as greyed-out ghosts on ANY badge list then again sure, why not.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

If there are actually one-time occurrences, titles, or honors, then I think those should be awarded and people who do not qualify should not get them. To outright ban one-time opportunities and the permanent record for all to see that you were there or to outright ban an acknowledgement by the developers for someone's accomplishment in or out of the game, is just too restrictive to me.

I agree - at least in the case of Anniversary Badges and similar. As I said in the other thread, if you weren't around for the 1st anniversary, then you shouldn't get that 1st Anniversary badge (the subsequent anniversaries are fair game obviously). That said - I would prefer if these types of one-off badges are very rare and, like Lothic said above, they should be account-level. If they are limited to the anniversary badges and the kickstarter badge, I would be happy with that.

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Interdictor wrote:
Interdictor wrote:

I agree - at least in the case of Anniversary Badges and similar. As I said in the other thread, if you weren't around for the 1st anniversary, then you shouldn't get that 1st Anniversary badge (the subsequent anniversaries are fair game obviously). That said - I would prefer if these types of one-off badges are very rare and, like Lothic said above, they should be account-level. If they are limited to the anniversary badges and the kickstarter badge, I would be happy with that.

And let's also say that if something like anniversary badges are awarded, I think it would make sense that all you had to do was play some time during that first year to be eligible for it. Of course, since it would be an anniversary badge, it would only be awarded at the end of the first year, and so in order to actually pick up the badge you would have to log in at some point after the first year.

A compromise solution could be to award time played; so that no matter when you started, after your first year, you would get a 1 year badge and so on. This would be more of an achievement as Brainbot was good enough to clarify is not the same thing as a reward, since it would be a good candidate for an achievement tracker and every achievement hunter would be able to rack them up if they want.
But if there is a one-year anniversary party that they throw for a week and anyone who attends gets some reward, that would not be an achievement, even if it is a badge; because it shouldn't be tracked or used as a goal and it cant be made up after the party is over. This is in accordance with the difference between achioevement and reward Brainbot set forth. (I know that wasn't the best example, because MWM would probably sell the 1st Anniversary badges to people who wanted to celebrate but couldn't attend, but even then I doubt 1st Anniversary badges would be available after year 2 was over)


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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Interdictor wrote:
Interdictor wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

If there are actually one-time occurrences, titles, or honors, then I think those should be awarded and people who do not qualify should not get them. To outright ban one-time opportunities and the permanent record for all to see that you were there or to outright ban an acknowledgement by the developers for someone's accomplishment in or out of the game, is just too restrictive to me.

I agree - at least in the case of Anniversary Badges and similar. As I said in the other thread, if you weren't around for the 1st anniversary, then you shouldn't get that 1st Anniversary badge (the subsequent anniversaries are fair game obviously). That said - I would prefer if these types of one-off badges are very rare and, like Lothic said above, they should be account-level. If they are limited to the anniversary badges and the kickstarter badge, I would be happy with that.

To be clear about my position on this subject if CoT ends up offering something like one-time Anniversary badges and someone (for whatever reason) misses any of those one-time badges I would actually prefer the game NOT offer them again under any circumstances. By definition those badges were specifically designed to be one-time badges so I would be reluctant to see them be "redefined" to be obtainable again. Ultimately I believe in the "sanctity" of the requirements of badges.

But this is exactly why I say CoT should NOT have badges like that in the first place. The very draconian nature of the "one-time" requirement makes them fundamentally problematic and (at the very least) undesirable for a game like this. I don't want anyone to be in a situation where they missed a badge (again for whatever reason) and be forced to either be "SoL" about it or attempt to convince the Devs to "redefine" a badge just to get another chance to get it. The easiest way to avoid all those "problems" would be to simply not have any one-time badges to begin with.

As I mentioned before CoH literally only offered 9 of these one-time badges after 8.5 years so it seriously would not be a huge loss if CoT did not have them at all. When you think about it the whole "metagame premise" behind even having Anniversary badges is questionable at best - those badges didn't celebrate anniversaries related to the game's world or lore but marked the anniversaries of a "computer game in the real world". What on Earth was the relationship between a computer game IRL and Statesman, or the Rogue Isles or how hard it was to kill Hamidon? Badges are meant to be related to characters achieving things in the game world; why should I be getting them (as a player) for turning on my computer and logging into a game during the month of May? When you really think about it the entire concept of Anniversary badges for a game like this was (and still is) sadly laughable at best and specifically illogical at worst.

Bottomline if a game like this doesn't bother to have one-time badges in the first place then you won't have to worry about dealing with what happens if someone misses one of them because they either forgot about it or didn't start playing the game until years afterward. Avoid the root cause and ALL the problems related to that cause are eliminated.

P.S. I stick by what I said earlier about allowing people to buy the "Kickstarter" and "11th Anniversary" badges in the in-game store because I uniquely consider those to be PRE-GAME badges which means they effectively don't count as REAL badges as far as I'm concerned. Frankly I considered it a serious mistake that they were even offered in the first place. The Devs of CoT have ONE chance (and one chance only) to correct the error they made here by making those pre-game badges easily obtainable by anyone and then wiping the slate clean there. Once the game actually launches they should then follow a policy of NEVER offering any other one-time badges ever again. As I said before if the game (once it's live) lived by that policy then they would never have to face any of the problems that come with those kinds of badges. On the other hand if they still (sadly) decide to have one-time badges in the game then they simply must be prepared to do extra work to segregate all badges into strict account-based and character-based groupings to mitigate the damage caused by this.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

And let's also say that if something like anniversary badges are awarded, I think it would make sense that all you had to do was play some time during that first year to be eligible for it. Of course, since it would be an anniversary badge, it would only be awarded at the end of the first year, and so in order to actually pick up the badge you would have to log in at some point after the first year.

I suppose that would be at the very least an "alternative" version of Anniversary badges to consider but even you might admit that's really stretching the whole idea of when those badges should be available and/or earnable. To be perfectly honest if I was presented with having either this version of Anniversary badges or no Anniversary badges at all I'd likely choose the latter.

Huckleberry wrote:

A compromise solution could be to award time played; so that no matter when you started, after your first year, you would get a 1 year badge and so on. This would be more of an achievement as Brainbot was good enough to clarify is not the same thing as a reward, since it would be a good candidate for an achievement tracker and every achievement hunter would be able to rack them up if they want.

As long as you're talking about marking the anniversaries of individual characters (with character-based badges) instead of some kind of "account birthday" that only applies to how long the account has existed in the game then that would be workable. If you tried to make this some kind of account-based time tracker you'd have to consider whether it should count time only when a player is subscribed/actively playing or not. For instance it would be weird if an account was 10 years old (with 10 account-based anniversary badges) but the player behind it only actively played the game for 3 months. This would not be a viable "achievement" by any definition of that word.

Actually this basic idea was one of the other "compromise" alternatives that was talked about all the way back on the CoH forums. For the record I would support a version of a character-based "anniversary" badge because in that case it would be celebrating the anniversary of a particular character (literally a "birthday" of sorts) as opposed to some vague anniversary of a real life computer game that has no direct "connection" to specific characters in the game. Put it this way: Do your characters know they are merely constructs in a computer game? ;)

Huckleberry wrote:

But if there is a one-year anniversary party that they throw for a week and anyone who attends gets some reward, that would not be an achievement, even if it is a badge; because it shouldn't be tracked or used as a goal and it cant be made up after the party is over. This is in accordance with the difference between achioevement and reward Brainbot set forth. (I know that wasn't the best example, because MWM would probably sell the 1st Anniversary badges to people who wanted to celebrate but couldn't attend, but even then I doubt 1st Anniversary badges would be available after year 2 was over)

I'm not against having annual anniversary parties for the game that run for a week each year as long as nothing you could get from attending those parties were permanently exclusive one-time only rewards. There could be plenty of NON-PERMANENT "tchotchke" type things to get - I'm simply saying there's no -need- to make any of that permanent and/or one-time only. Such an anniversary celebration would be meant for PLAYERS to celebrate the GAME, not to give anybody's characters a permanent reward for literally doing nothing but logging into the game at the right time. And again as I said before if there were no permanent "Game Anniversary" badges there would be no need to figure out how they would (or would not be) sold in the in-game store in the first place.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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I don't see how one time

I don't see how one time badges like an anniversary badge, is a draconian affair.

It's a badge saying "You were here at this time" I like those badges! :p

What needs to be done is, don't limit them to a character that logged in, but rather, the account logging in.

Missed it, then all that says is, you weren't there at that time.

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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

I'm going to illustrate another somewhat-related issue in this example because we are going to be given story arcs with decisions and consequences:
Let's say there was a story arc in which you had to make a choice. The game designers could give you a badge based upon your choice, forever recording what choice you made. If there were three choices to make, it would be improper, I think, to have two permanently greyed-out badges for the two choices you didn't take. Rather, have just the one 'slot' and display the badge there for the choice you did make. Then, on your account-wide achievements, you could put all three choice badges because other characters will have the opportunity to accomplish the other choices. This assumes there will be account-wide achievements and character achievements.

I am concerned that the badge hunters will cry foul because they can't collect all of the badges on one character.
Look at why the badge is being rewarded and how it occurs. Can the commemoration of the event happen in some other way (special loot, NPCs taking notice and talking about your exploits for X amount of time)?

I contend that the story arc should be the reward. If there is some badge to demarcate a character's progression, at some point the badge will become the objective and not the actual completion of the arc.

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Alright. Lots of conversation

Alright. Lots of conversation since I posted yesterday (spent all day in court). Almost all of it related to achievement lockouts. Normally I prefer to give each reply it's own post but because everything is about one part of the overall topic I will consolidate them all here. Mostly because the same response applies to all the replies I would make.

Mr. Huckleberry wrote:

You obviously put a lot of thought into that. Well done.

Lothic wrote:

Well after such a long and detailed overview of the topic of "achievements in games" I'll simply start off by saying I pretty much agree with your main points and conclusions here.

Thanks. In all honesty, I got to my hotel that night and was bored out of my tree (my laptop isn't suitable for gaming).
At first this was just going to be me trying to explain the motivations and expectations of those who I called 'Hunters'. Then I remembered when I was a kid I actually submitted for two of those Activision iron on patches. I remember clearly the first one was for a game called 'Kaboom'. It's kind of silly in hindsight but I remember being very nervous that my high score was not high enough and that it would be rejected. After I got my patch (and the accompanying certificate complete with my score written in pen) a friend of mine saw that patch on my coat and submitted his high score for 'Kaboom' as well. Predictably he also got a patch with certificate and as you might of guessed his score was quite a bit lower than mine.
It was a big letdown. Seeing that he was able to have the exact same prize when he wasn't near the 'Master of Kaboom' that I was lessened my feeling of accomplishment.
So after that memory I thought the subject could use a bit more depth.

Anyway, on to achievement lockouts.

Huckleberry wrote:

My opinion on this differs. (I can't say I disagree because you have asked us all to forswear argument here.)

Just so I am clear, I have no problem with you saying you disagree with my opinion. When I say I am not interested in an argument I am talking about the 'You're wrong and here is why' type of response that have become common on these forums. Simply put, disagreeing is not arguing.

Huckleberry wrote:

If there are actually one-time occurrences, titles, or honors, then I think those should be awarded and people who do not qualify should not get them. To outright ban one-time opportunities and the permanent record for all to see that you were there or to outright ban an acknowledgement by the developers for someone's accomplishment in or out of the game, is just too restrictive to me. Granted, I may be blurring the lines here between reward and achievement, but I think the point still needs to be made.

Fair enough, we disagree. If I may offer a new angle to look at things?

Achievements are not the only way to acknowledge accomplishment or honor loyalty. As an example, I spoke about 'collectables' in my initial posts. These are not achievements but they operate in a very similar manner. You have to find them (of time by doing something outside of normal game play) and when you do you are given the collectable as a forever token of your accomplishment. Find enough of these 'collectables' and you get an achievement.
With a bit of adjustment this concept of 'collectable vs achievement' could easily apply to one time rewards without it permanently locking anything away for those who missed it. Instead of having to look for these collectables you instead are given a token that signifies your accomplishment. The next time you would gain a one time acknowledgement you are given another token and so forth. Get enough of these and you get an associated achievement.
To use the oft exampled anniversary badges, you instead get the token. Then the next opportunity for a one time achievement is when CoT releases their first update and you get another token bringing your total to 2. And so on until you get 10 and you get the achievement for 10 tokens.

Now I spoke a bit about 'collectables' before and even this type of collectable is still unsavory to me so I propose another alternative way to do these 'one time' achievements that I think would work best.

Look at the wording and display of an achievement that acknowledges the accomplishment and design it without restricting it to a single instance.
As you know, achievements have a title and some little blurb on what they were for. Like these:

So in the case of a one time event achievement, you log in during the event you may get the 'I was there when it happened' badge. But what if that same badge can still be offered to those who missed the event by simply changing the wording to 'This is where it happened'. Then you modify the descriptive blurb accordingly. Those who obtained the achievement during the event say something like 'I was there' and those who didn't get 'I'm sorry that I missed it'.

Just by wording things different and thinking inclusive you can make a lot more of the people happy.

Personally I think most of the disagreement stems from people thinking an achievement 'has' to be of specific predetermined identification. The 1st anniversary badge must be called '1st anniversary badge' and must specifically describe itself as such or some silly notion like that. This isn't true of really any achievements. If you think back, almost all of the badges, achievements, medals or whatever in any game, let alone CoH, tend to have cute ways to name or describe their badges. In fact, unless I am really mis-remembering things, only the original badges in CoH had descriptions of the badge requirements in the blurb (they still had clever names) and all that came after stated being creative in the blurb as well as the name.

As I said before, I understand why these one time achievements are created and I know that they do work. In case others do not let me explain.
They are lures. The promise of something that will never again be offered is appealing to a lot of people, especially the hungry hungry hippo attitude of 'Hunter' culture.
They are both the carrot and the stick rolled into one. It's a reward for those who take it when offered and a punishment for the insatiable 'Hunter' type players who don't.

And it works. Gamers in general never want to feel like they are missing out and 'Hunter' type players have an even harder time accepting an incomplete 'Gamerscore'.
It's why DLC comes with a whole slew of new achievements to draw those hunters back. It's why X-Box, Steam and Playstation all have rules about how developers for their system design their achievements. To maximize the draw without pushing it to the point where hunters look for greener pastures.

It's a successful predatory practice to offer 'one time only' rewards. It preys on innate human weaknesses. And I don't like it.

Huckleberry wrote:

I'm going to illustrate another somewhat-related issue in this example because we are going to be given story arcs with decisions and consequences:
Let's say there was a story arc in which you had to make a choice. The game designers could give you a badge based upon your choice, forever recording what choice you made. If there were three choices to make, it would be improper, I think, to have two permanently greyed-out badges for the two choices you didn't take. Rather, have just the one 'slot' and display the badge there for the choice you did make. Then, on your account-wide achievements, you could put all three choice badges because other characters will have the opportunity to accomplish the other choices. This assumes there will be account-wide achievements and character achievements.

Can I ask why you think this story arc with choices could not be repeated by the same character?

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As much as I like to arg...er

As much as I like to arg...er...debadate with Lothic, I have to say I pretty solidly agree with his stance on this topic here and in other threads.

I tend to be a completionist. It's not necessarily a choice either. One time events, badges, outlevelled story arcs that disappear, and whatnot create a hole that causes my brain pain.

Yes, I am willing to give up my "K" and my "11" in game.

"THE TITANS ARE COMING! THE TITANS ARE COMING!"

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Brainbot wrote:
Brainbot wrote:

Can I ask why you think this story arc with choices could not be repeated by the same character?

In most games there is no reason a player couldn't or shouldn't be able to repeat the mission to make different choices. Typically these choices are merely window dressing to different conversations or cut scenes, rather than a decision that entails any kind of consequence. In some games they do try to play it up ("If a dialogue option shows up in red the choice you make is final, so be careful!") but, in the end, once the mission is done the player is never again confronted with that decision. The only reason to have an achievement based on a decision is to double down on trying to convince the player that the choice was meaningful (no, really, it was important, honest!). It'd make more sense to have a "You completed Story Arc X!" achievement rather than a "You shaved Sara's hair!" achievement.

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Brainbot wrote:
Mr. Brainbot wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

If there are actually one-time occurrences, titles, or honors, then I think those should be awarded and people who do not qualify should not get them. To outright ban one-time opportunities and the permanent record for all to see that you were there or to outright ban an acknowledgement by the developers for someone's accomplishment in or out of the game, is just too restrictive to me. Granted, I may be blurring the lines here between reward and achievement, but I think the point still needs to be made.

Fair enough, we disagree. If I may offer a new angle to look at things?
Achievements are not the only way to acknowledge accomplishment or honor loyalty. As an example, I spoke about 'collectables' in my initial posts. These are not achievements but they operate in a very similar manner. You have to find them (of time by doing something outside of normal game play) and when you do you are given the collectable as a forever token of your accomplishment. Find enough of these 'collectables' and you get an achievement.
With a bit of adjustment this concept of 'collectable vs achievement' could easily apply to one time rewards without it permanently locking anything away for those who missed it. Instead of having to look for these collectables you instead are given a token that signifies your accomplishment. The next time you would gain a one time acknowledgement you are given another token and so forth. Get enough of these and you get an associated achievement.
To use the oft exampled anniversary badges, you instead get the token. Then the next opportunity for a one time achievement is when CoT releases their first update and you get another token bringing your total to 2. And so on until you get 10 and you get the achievement for 10 tokens.

I personally don't like collectibles of this nature being tied to achievements. Why does everything need to be an achievement? Why can't the one-time collectible stand on its own as a unique reward? I think the distinction between the meaning of reward and achievement is really the field from which most of these disagreements grow. I think having a shadowbox of all possible collectible badges (like how Steam does it) becomes, in essence, a meta-achievement that could never be fulfilled because some of those badges were one-time collectibles. In my perfect world, the only achievements that would show up in a shadowbox would be those achievements that you are actually eligible for. If you get one-time rewards, whether they be badges or whatnot, they would appear on your wall of fame, in your shadowbox, only after you got them. This way, no one is left with a hole they can't fill. CoX actually did this. The only badges that showed up in anyone's shadowbox were they badges they got. I like this. And the only achievements should be associated with content for which everyone is eligible, completely excluding unique content.

Brainbot wrote:

As I said before, I understand why these one time achievements are created and I know that they do work. In case others do not let me explain.
They are lures. The promise of something that will never again be offered is appealing to a lot of people, especially the hungry hungry hippo attitude of 'Hunter' culture.
They are both the carrot and the stick rolled into one. It's a reward for those who take it when offered and a punishment for the insatiable 'Hunter' type players who don't.
And it works. Gamers in general never want to feel like they are missing out and 'Hunter' type players have an even harder time accepting an incomplete 'Gamerscore'.
It's why DLC comes with a whole slew of new achievements to draw those hunters back. It's why X-Box, Steam and Playstation all have rules about how developers for their system design their achievements. To maximize the draw without pushing it to the point where hunters look for greener pastures.
It's a successful predatory practice to offer 'one time only' rewards. It preys on innate human weaknesses. And I don't like it.

Fully understandable. I said before that I don't think the game should cater to unhealthy levels of obsession. Originally I meant that to mean that it shouldn't cave in to demands that everyone should be eligible for every reward, even if they weren't there. But I find it also means that the game should not prey on those people's unhealthy obsession with one-time offerings solely to drive business off of their obsession. That's really no better than a drug dealer with a stable of addicts.

Providing one-time rewards, however, is not the same as leveraging one-time rewards as a marketing gimmick. In the armed forces, awards are given for bravery after the fact; they are not held up in front of people as an incentive to assault machinegun nests. But knowing the awards exist is a morale booster to let people know that they are appreciated and to give hope to others. Likewise with unique content in a game like CoT. Players would run the content because it is fun or a challenge, and if they receive a reward after the fact that would be gravy. Enough times of this and veteran players begin expecting the rewards, but at least the rewards aren't used as a gimmick to drive the hunting-obsessed masses into the grindstone.

Like I've said before, a reward for unique content should be like a concert tee. It is a statement that says "I was there" or "I did something exceptional" with the implied unstated meaning that if you participate or do something exceptional, you could get your own unique badge, too.

I suppose the difference is in how the company uses it.

Brainbot wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

I'm going to illustrate another somewhat-related issue in this example because we are going to be given story arcs with decisions and consequences:
Let's say there was a story arc in which you had to make a choice. The game designers could give you a badge based upon your choice, forever recording what choice you made. If there were three choices to make, it would be improper, I think, to have two permanently greyed-out badges for the two choices you didn't take. Rather, have just the one 'slot' and display the badge there for the choice you did make. Then, on your account-wide achievements, you could put all three choice badges because other characters will have the opportunity to accomplish the other choices. This assumes there will be account-wide achievements and character achievements.

Can I ask why you think this story arc with choices could not be repeated by the same character?

With the marvels of time travel, or trans-dimensional travel to parallel worlds, the same character can run the same mission again, I guess.

In SWTOR, characters can run the same flashpoints again and again to see how the different decisions play out and to get all the achievements unlocked. But regular missions in every MMO I've ever played can only be run once per character. (with the exception of repeatable missions like streetsweeping, obviously) I am assuming the same is true with CoT. If it is not true then that is an error of assumption on my part.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

I don't see how one time badges like an anniversary badge, is a draconian affair.

Because these types of badges were not only in the extreme minority in CoH to begin with (9 out of thousands) but because I actually had friends in CoH who had in fact "missed out" on a couple of these (simply because they didn't start playing until a few years after launch) and it caused them a huge amount of heartache and angst. I realize that might sound silly to some, but frankly as much as I loved badging in CoH I could easily live without these tiny few handful of badges if it'll keep -anybody- from being upset with the game.

Brand X wrote:

It's a badge saying "You were here at this time" I like those badges! :p

Again those types of badges were effectively so rare in CoH they were practically pointless. And no they didn't tell you "You were here at this time" they just proved you owned a computer and could log into a game once a year... Exactly how skillful or experienced in the game did you have to be to do that? Besides the game could easily offer reasonable compromises to one-time "game anniversary" badges (like the character-based "birthday badge" idea discussed earlier) that could also prove that you were playing the game at a certain real life date.

Brand X wrote:

What needs to be done is, don't limit them to a character that logged in, but rather, the account logging in.

Why should the game make it any easier to get your "game anniversary" badges? The very fact that you want it to be "easier" should be telling you the entire idea behind the "game anniversary" badge concept was a little stupid to begin with. Let's not have the Devs Band-Aid a dumb idea, let's have them remove the dumb idea completely.

Brand X wrote:

Missed it, then all that says is, you weren't there at that time.

What does "real life time" have anything to do with what my characters are doing in the game in the first place? I don't play this game as a "player with avatars" (like a FPS) - I play this game by rolling up characters and having them accomplish things with their unique abilities. Frankly the very concept of "account-based" badging in a game like this is almost like trying to pound a square peg into a round hole - it really doesn't make any sense in a character based game. Did you award your table-top D&D characters a badge every time the real life anniversary of D&D happened? Think about it...

Again there are very reasonable alternatives to anything like the "game anniversary" badges. My characters live in a world of their own and they do their own things - why should they get awarded with badges that apply to a computer game I happen to be playing in the real world? There are so many examples of event rewards in CoH that were PERIODICAL (i.e. once a year, etc.) it basically leaves the idea that anything should ever be purpose-built to be "one-time only" completely indefensible.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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You make some salient points

You make some salient points Lothic but the way in which YOU play the game is your reality. Others like to play the game as a "player with avatars" others still as just something to do with the children or any of numerous other reasons. So what doesnt work for how you SEE the game world would be something others might not even consider or notice. The truth is that no matter what the Devs decide on badges someone or a group of someones will NOT be happy. And we can all sit here and debate all the pros and cons for days that will still be the truth. For me and my game reality, gameplay and fun are the most important things. All the others are just icing on the cake and maybe even ice cream on the side. YMMV.

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

There are so many examples of event rewards in CoH that were PERIODICAL (i.e. once a year, etc.) it basically leaves the idea that anything should ever be purpose-built to be "one-time only" completely indefensible.

While I find the argument of a person with a collection compulsion pining after a marker that would literally require a time-machine for them to collect a bit sad, even ludicrous and a bit scary (Seek Help!), I do understand that such things exist. However, I don't think that's a reason to expunge one-time rewards from the game.

"Where you There?" "Yes, I was there. I saw it. I did the thing. It was Amazing!" This is an absolutely valid experience, in a game, as much as in real life. Having a memento from such an event is fitting. If you weren't there, did not participate, did not see the 'amazing thing', then you, in no way, 'deserve' such a memento.

Where I find myself Agreeing with the argument against 'one-time events', is where the Devs spend time and effort creating the scenario and then it is never used again. That would be a waste.

So, consider the unique experience of the 'First Rikti Invasion' (as an example). The Devs come out 'in the flesh', spawning monsters and leading the fight against the invaders and a big crazy party results. Everyone gets a marker for their participation. Then next week, or next month, the next Rikti Invasion cycles through and people who are there, get to experience the whole thing, either 'again', or for the first time and those who participate earn their shiny 'Rikti Invasion Badge'. It's not the same as the marker earned by the people who were there for the 'first time ever', but it's Their first time. And this content continues to cycle through, allowing everyone who is playing at that time, a chance to participate and earn a badge, if it's their first time.

Someone might complain that, because of whatever, They did not have the opportunity to participate in the 'official' first time and get the special marker, and it's not fair... All I can say about that is, "Yup," and I would not agree that they have some 'right' to the special marker, since they were not there and didn't do the event. That's the way life is. Things happen.

However, my point is that, the Content that one might have missed is available. One can experience it, even repeat it, so the development time is not wasted.

Be Well!
Fireheart

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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

Brand X wrote:
I don't see how one time badges like an anniversary badge, is a draconian affair.
Because these types of badges were not only in the extreme minority in CoH to begin with (9 out of thousands) but because I actually had friends in CoH who had in fact "missed out" on a couple of these (simply because they didn't start playing until a few years after launch) and it caused them a huge amount of heartache and angst. I realize that might sound silly to some, but frankly as much as I loved badging in CoH I could easily live without these tiny few handful of badges if it'll keep -anybody- from being upset with the game.
Brand X wrote:
It's a badge saying "You were here at this time" I like those badges! :p
Again those types of badges were effectively so rare in CoH they were practically pointless. And no they didn't tell you "You were here at this time" they just proved you owned a computer and could log into a game once a year... Exactly how skillful or experienced in the game did you have to be to do that? Besides the game could easily offer reasonable compromises to one-time "game anniversary" badges (like the character-based "birthday badge" idea discussed earlier) that could also prove that you were playing the game at a certain real life date.
Brand X wrote:
What needs to be done is, don't limit them to a character that logged in, but rather, the account logging in.
Why should the game make it any easier to get your "game anniversary" badges? The very fact that you want it to be "easier" should be telling you the entire idea behind the "game anniversary" badge concept was a little stupid to begin with. Let's not have the Devs Band-Aid a dumb idea, let's have them remove the dumb idea completely.
Brand X wrote:
Missed it, then all that says is, you weren't there at that time.
What does "real life time" have anything to do with what my characters are doing in the game in the first place? I don't play this game as a "player with avatars" (like a FPS) - I play this game by rolling up characters and having them accomplish things with their unique abilities. Frankly the very concept of "account-based" badging in a game like this is almost like trying to pound a square peg into a round hole - it really doesn't make any sense in a character based game. Did you award your table-top D&D characters a badge every time the real life anniversary of D&D happened? Think about it...
Again there are very reasonable alternatives to anything like the "game anniversary" badges. My characters live in a world of their own and they do their own things - why should they get awarded with badges that apply to a computer game I happen to be playing in the real world? There are so many examples of event rewards in CoH that were PERIODICAL (i.e. once a year, etc.) it basically leaves the idea that anything should ever be purpose-built to be "one-time only" completely indefensible.

I said I liked it. I didn't say I couldn't live without the easy "Log in once" :p I had characters who lacked the Anniversary Badge in CoH before they made them account bound and it didn't bother me.

As for how skillful or experienced one has to be to log into the game to obtain an anniversary badge, I'd have to say, how skillful or experienced did one have to be to earn "Kill 100 *pick a group*" range badges. The answer to which is, not at all. :p

As for your characters living in a world of their own. I never saw badges as something that was akin to being in game. In fact, the idea of making it as such in the comic, made the CoH comic feel like one of the most retarded superhero comics I ever read :p The badges to me where nothing more than out of character items. Kinda like how I don't imagine my characters world having a UI either :p

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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

The badges to me where nothing more than out of character items.

Good point, Badges and Titles are 'meta' and not really part of the characters themselves.

Be Well!
Fireheart

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Fireheart wrote:
Fireheart wrote:

Brand X wrote:
The badges to me where nothing more than out of character items.
Good point, Badges and Titles are 'meta' and not really part of the characters themselves.
Be Well!
Fireheart

Titles are things Superheroes have. Man of Steel, The Caped Crusader, The Spirit of Truth, The First Avenger. I for one usually tried to find a title that fit my character. No NPC or other character used it but it was nice to have and I imagine it'd be used if they were a comic.

As for badges, if you think of them more like medals then they also work as an in character thing. Actually having "badges" be "Medals" would be pretty great. Granted wouldn't work too well for exploration awards, but still gaining a medal for taking out 100 bad guys of a certain type? Works well and fits with the theme.

Ooh, maybe exploration things could collect into sets and when you get the whole set you're given "The Key to (zone)" that's pretty superhero-y. Then if you get them all (or all the titan city ones) you'd get the Key to the City.

"Let the past die. Kill it if you have to."

Huckleberry
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Project_Hero wrote:
Project_Hero wrote:

As for badges, if you think of them more like medals then they also work as an in character thing. Actually having "badges" be "Medals" would be pretty great. Granted wouldn't work too well for exploration awards, but still gaining a medal for taking out 100 bad guys of a certain type? Works well and fits with the theme.
Ooh, maybe exploration things could collect into sets and when you get the whole set you're given "The Key to (zone)" that's pretty superhero-y. Then if you get them all (or all the titan city ones) you'd get the Key to the City.

Capitalizing on this idea, it would be a pretty cool to have your very own badge display case as a base item.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
Project_Hero
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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

Project_Hero wrote:
As for badges, if you think of them more like medals then they also work as an in character thing. Actually having "badges" be "Medals" would be pretty great. Granted wouldn't work too well for exploration awards, but still gaining a medal for taking out 100 bad guys of a certain type? Works well and fits with the theme.
Ooh, maybe exploration things could collect into sets and when you get the whole set you're given "The Key to (zone)" that's pretty superhero-y. Then if you get them all (or all the titan city ones) you'd get the Key to the City.
Capitalizing on this idea, it would be a pretty cool to have your very own badge display case as a base item.

Seconded as long as there aren't any one time only ones. As then you'd be literally rubbing it in people's faces!

"Let the past die. Kill it if you have to."

Deathwatch101
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I guess we could split it

I guess we could split it into Momentous and Badges

-Account Badges (anything that would be considered account badges/global)
-Character Badges

-Momentous - Items/house items etc given as rewards from accomplishments or events etc

Brand X
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The problem with badges being

The problem with badges being medals, is why would the city or anyone give a straight up villain such a badge/medal?

I still think they're best as purely meta/ooc stuff.

Project_Hero
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Brand X wrote:
Brand X wrote:

The problem with badges being medals, is why would the city or anyone give a straight up villain such a badge/medal?
I still think they're best as purely meta/ooc stuff.

Maybe the villain stole it?

But also that's a good point.

"Let the past die. Kill it if you have to."

Brainbot
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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

I personally don't like collectibles of this nature being tied to achievements. Why does everything need to be an achievement? Why can't the one-time collectible stand on its own as a unique reward?

I personally don't like collectables at all. And they can be unique rewards. The Tomb Raider and Uncharted series both turned their collectables into unique archeological finds.
But I am confused. Why don't you like an achievement being offered for collecting a specific amount of them?

Your next paragraph says a lot that I disagree with so I need to break it up.

Huckleberry wrote:

Providing one-time rewards, however, is not the same as leveraging one-time rewards as a marketing gimmick. In the armed forces, awards are given for bravery after the fact; they are not held up in front of people as an incentive to assault machinegun nests. But knowing the awards exist is a morale booster to let people know that they are appreciated and to give hope to others.

I find the comparison of armed forces medals and achievements to be odd. They are not exclusive to each military engagement. James Adams received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Civil war and Jason Dunham received his for Iraq. In relation to our discussion this example does not seem to apply.
Also, I am not sure I am comfortable with the comparison overall. It's an entire other conversation so lets just leave it at that.

Huckleberry wrote:

Likewise with unique content in a game like CoT. Players would run the content because it is fun or a challenge, and if they receive a reward after the fact that would be gravy.

Content that is only available for a short period of time and gone forever after is a separate discussion. But this illustrates a point I made earlier about rewards vs achievements.
As I said, achievements are a way for the devs to give players alternate goals beyond the scope of the prescribed game requirements.
Rewards are an incentive to play according to the games requirements.
As an example, you get rewards for completing a quest. You get achievements for completing the quest a certain way.
This is why I said that achievements should not be used when a reward is more suitable. It's the difference between incentive and acknowledgement. In the workplace salary and paid bonuses are incentives, plaques and engraved pocket watches are acknowledgement.

Huckleberry wrote:

Enough times of this and veteran players begin expecting the rewards, but at least the rewards aren't used as a gimmick to drive the hunting-obsessed masses into the grindstone.

That's exactly what they do. Both become expected and drive players to the grindstone.
This is why I said achievements should be treated different than rewards. When the difference is blurred too much then achievements inevitably become perceived as rewards and that takes away a lot of the enjoyment a 'Hunter' derives from earning these achievements. As a result they will enjoy the act much less turning it into a grind for them.
If these achievements become perceived as rewards by the overall game population then they become an expected part of the incentives for completing a task.
In essence, by turning achievements into rewards you are greatly taking away from one groups enjoyment and only marginally increasing another groups enjoyment. 'Hunters' want the achievements, non-hunters can take or leave them.

Huckleberry wrote:

Providing one-time rewards, however, is not the same as leveraging one-time rewards as a marketing gimmick.

I left this for last because it is the part I disagree with most.
You are speaking about the intention behind the one time reward. I was perhaps a bit too accusatory in my declaration of predatory intention. It's true that there is a possibility the intention behind the one time reward wasn't to prey on weakness. But it is still the end result.
The very nature of 'one time rewards' is exclusivity. No one likes to be excluded from something they want. Offering a one time reward has the long term effect of excluding.
So as I said before, its a lure that does leverage human weakness. It's both a carrot and a stick for those who want it. It potentially excludes a far greater number than it can possibly accommodate. It does all of this regardless of intention.

Whats more, it can easily be fixed through the use of asterisks, annotations or descriptive text changes.
I mean the devs have already confirmed they will have a way to differentiate things bought in the game store with those earned in game so why can't a similar concept be applied to achievements? Have some indication that shows if the player earned the achievement during the event or after it. This was my preference in my previous post and you didn't respond to it at all.

Huckleberry wrote:

But regular missions in every MMO I've ever played can only be run once per character.

What about teaming? You may have completed that story but your friends haven't yet so you can join them and do it all over again.

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Brainbot wrote:
Brainbot wrote:

What about teaming? You may have completed that story but your friends haven't yet so you can join them and do it all over again.

Yes, but when you team with your friends it is their quest, not yours. This way, your personal decision tree, alignment effects and follow-on missions aren't affected by your friend's decisions. The only time teaming with friends gives you quest credit is if you haven't done it yet either. That's how it has always been and so shall it always be, so sayeth the word.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

Yes, but when you team with your friends it is their quest, not yours. This way, your personal decision tree, alignment effects and follow-on missions aren't affected by your friend's decisions. The only time teaming with friends gives you quest credit is if you haven't done it yet either. That's how it has always been and so shall it always be, so sayeth the word.

How does your personal decision tree, alignment effects and follow up missions relate to the notion of not being able to earn the multiple choice badges on a single character?
You originally were talking about restricting these choice based achievements to once a character so I am not sure how the rest of this stuff is relevant to the current discussion.

Anyway let me point out something from CoH. The Deadly Combatant and Dignified Combatant badges were for exactly the same type of multiple choice options in a mission arc as you are talking about. You could choose to kill or spare Sun Xiong and unlock the corresponding badge. It didn't matter if the arc was yours or not, if it was your second time playing or not or what your previous choice was. You could earn both on the same character simply by repeating the content and making a different choice. In fact the idea of your team mates choice affecting you was discussed previously and IIRC the semi-official word is you get to choose if it does or not. This might have changed or I might be remembering it wrong but it doesn't really matter.

It seems like you don't want to discuss any of the alternatives I have suggested for 'one time achievements'. So I guess we have little else to discuss.