My post on my favorite achievements was one of the most read on the site, thanks to some gracious external linking. It is a topic I am somewhat passionate about because I feel achievements provide a real carrot-stick structure that a lot of hardcore players care about. And when they are motivated to keep playing your game for the reason that they are having fun, well that’s the point, isn’t it?
Now well I find Lionhead games to be… less than I would expect, I was pleased to see this developer blog from the guy behind the achievements on Fable 2, Mike West. The guy clearly gets what makes achievements useful to designers – they extend gameplay to reward players for playing the game in both expected and unexpected ways. He justifiably scorns Mass Effect‘s achievements as pointless grinding, which they were. I would add that they offer no supplement to either external story or intrinsic gameplay.
I’ll reserve my judgment on Fable 2 (I remain greatly skeptical that one can tell a good story when it is framed by trite decisions that neatly fall into categories of either melodramatic good or reasonless evil) for when it hits, but I’m glad to see that their heart is in the right place for achievements. Most teams when presented with the achievements hammer, toss it aside and drive the nails that are the players’ interest curves in with their bare hands.