Online Achievements Ruin Games

When it comes to achievements, the quickest way to completely ruin a game is through the use of online achievements. I’m sure a lot of you Halo 3 players out there remember the first month of the game when people would completely ruin matches because they wanted to stand in a line and help each other get the ‘Mongoose Mowdown Achievement’.

I can name numerous games that have actually been completely ruined by online achievements. One particular game that comes to mind is Shadowrun. I was hooked on Shadowrun for about a week, but I ultimately gave the game up out of complete frustration with the other gamers playing. It seemed like in nearly every match, half of your team was playing to get specific achievements and could care less whether the team actually won or not. This same type of thing happens in numerous games with online achievements.

Unfortunately, it looks like online achievements are here to stay, and there’s little motivation for developers to change how they are currently operating. According to the Electronic Entertainment Design and Research, games that incorporate online achievements into their games generate nearly 50 percent more revenue than games that didn’t.

There is still hope for online achievements, but gamers need to voice their opinions a little more to the developers. If I had my say, online achievements would vanish forever. If they have to stay, there are certainly some changes needed to make gaming more enjoyable. One fix would be to eliminate item, weapon or vehicle specific achievements. To create a gaming environment that encourages teamwork, more achievements need to be based on actually winning matches. The way things are now, immature gamers will continue to squabble over who gets what weapon, who picks up what items and who gets in what vehicles as they are more concerned with achievements than being part of a team.

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43 Comments on Online Achievements Ruin Games


On March 5, 2008 at 10:44 am

This is where I think Valve did really well in the achievements that they’ve added into some of their recent games. For example, pretty much all of the achievements in Team Fortress 2 are based around helping your team. There is one for healing your teammates, another for getting headshots, and a couple for winning the match as quickly as possible, or working together with your team to defend the capture points. The achievements are based around teamwork, and it’s extremely hard to get them on your own, if not impossible, and if you want to get them, you have to work together with your team.

Ron Whitaker

On March 5, 2008 at 10:46 am

As long as the online achievements are well implemented, as William mentioned, they’re fine. It’s the “Teamkill 3 times in one round” achievements that make me cringe. I’ve been playing online shooters since they first became available, and the last thing those titles need is an excuse for people to act retarded. They do just fine on their own natural ability.


On March 5, 2008 at 10:51 am

I dont have an xbox 360 so I dont know what the achievements or the system is like but I steam, the achievements in tf2 are brilliant mainly because it focus’s on team work rather than lone ranger work in this respect the achievements enchance the game not kill it, it really depends upon the achievements the game developers put in though and upon the game itself.


On March 5, 2008 at 11:03 am

‘Mongoose Mowdown’ :wink:

I completely agree with this. These achievements nullify the true point of playing their respective games, that being to have fun (or winning matches, instead of deriving from the game-play, as you said). I’m the person who thinks achievements should be removed completely, but starting with the garish on-line ones would be a start. The stupid system is so integrated now that even I are looking to the achievement lists before a game is released. It’s a true form of manipulation: appealing to a person’s primal instinct in order to sell a product.

Half of the achievements you have to break your back to get, anyway (and you’ll be worrying and longing in the process). Then some achievements are simply ridiculous unless you’re an avid fan (what was it? host like 1000 matches on GRAW?). One of my friends goes out of his way to purchase cheap, poor quality games in order to boost ‘gamerscore’. Honestly, it’s no claim to fame, and who knows if it will even be carried on to the next generation of Xbox gaming?

I yearn for reality and consolation as I type this. But then I must bear in mind: the war machine that is MS won’t hesitate to incorporate anything that will boost their profit margins.


On March 5, 2008 at 11:12 am

I would personally like it better if more achievments could be obtained offline. To me online play should be a just bonus aspect of a game, not it’s entire reason for being.


On March 5, 2008 at 11:44 am

The achievement I hated most in Shadowrun was “Shadowrun fever” which you got for corpse-humping. They actually rewarded you for exhibiting poor virtual sportsmanship. How about an achievement for saying “good game” at the end of 100 matches regardless of the outcome? I would welcome that.

I’m with Infinity Ward and CoD4 on this one, no MP achievements. By their very design MP achievements force players who want to get the achievements into playing the MP in an unnatural way that flows against the actual mechanics of the game.

But then maybe I am biased, because I’ve always thought the idea of achievements was retarded. In my book whether you replay a singleplayer game just to unlock new achievements or pull lame crap in the multiplayer towards that same goal, you are an idiot with too much time on your hands. Nobody cares how big your e- is, and as anybody who has played against a guy with a massive gamerscore knows, bigger gamerscore != better player (but it often == racist with bad sportsmanship).

Ron Whitaker

On March 5, 2008 at 11:52 am

The whole point of online achievements is to entice people to play online, thereby extending the life cycle of the game. I understand that. I just widh that developers would consider what individual-based achievements that contribute nothing to the team means in terms of teamplay.


On March 5, 2008 at 11:57 am

i agree 100% online achievements can ruin most games, although i have to say EA did a pretty good job with the achievements on Battlefield 2142


On March 5, 2008 at 12:44 pm

i wholeheartedly agree. actually, i never thought about it before, but yeah, most of the problems stem from item/weapon/vehicle specific achievements. why can’t it at least be for something good, like “You Saved X Number of Teammates From Being Killed.” ok, that one might be hard to measure, but it’d still be nice.


On March 5, 2008 at 12:55 pm

I don’t think achievements like “team kill 3 times in one round” are bad, if they remove gamerscore points and make other achievements unattainable.

havoc of smeg

On March 5, 2008 at 1:08 pm

i know the ideal solution to this problem.
just give players the option of adding bots to multiplayer games, like with perfect dark zero.
that way GS whores can get the achievements without geting on the nerves of everyone else.

they also allow people who dont have xbox live to be able to get them.


On March 5, 2008 at 1:57 pm

I take it a lot of people dont have team fortress 2 then,the achievements are perfect in that game as well as in the orange box games


On March 5, 2008 at 2:43 pm

Would it really be that difficult for developers to allow achievements to be toggled on and off when someone sets up an online match? That seems like the best option.


On March 5, 2008 at 5:31 pm

The only online awards should be for victory.


On March 5, 2008 at 5:42 pm

If it weren’t for achievement’s nobody would be playing Shadowrun anymore…


On March 5, 2008 at 7:13 pm

People are still playing Shadowrun ? :wink:


On March 7, 2008 at 6:11 pm

Dude, you sound like a little … i love your examples of “numerous games”… halo 3 for the first month and shadowrun, a suck game that nobody plays…

you can only get the acheivement once, it’s not like these people go online every day to get acheivements over and over again… quit being a .


On March 7, 2008 at 6:14 pm

2142 has alot of great points… some individual and some teamwork!
TeamFortress 2 is one of the best Multi-players out there.
I’ve been playing 2142 since the day it was released and jam about 4-5 days a week on it!
–Yea– the wife loves that game ;] :twisted:


On March 7, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Simple solution: make achievements only unlockable if the team wins the match. That way people will focus on getting the achievement, but also realize they must win in order to finalize it.


On March 7, 2008 at 6:27 pm

I don’t see what the fuss is. I’ve never played a game of Halo 3 where people spent the whole time trying to get achievements, nor with CoD4 or any other game. To the person above who ed about achievements, suggesting the “Say ‘Good Game’ 100 times” achievement, isn’t the outcome of a match where people helped each other get those achievements going to have the same result? “Thanks for helping me get that last achievement.” “No prob, that was fun watching 5 dudes get hit with a mongoose.”

It’s funny that you say “Nobody cares how big your e- is,” but I’ll bet you get a big fat e-boner when you win that round of slayer in Halo 3. Maybe instead of ing about this phenomenon that happens for the first week or two a game is out, you could try indulging in getting a few achievements yourself. It’s just ridiculous that the point of this article is in essence saying, “Why are people trying to have fun with the game, can’t they see it’s all about winning?”

Then again, maybe this whole article PROMOTING a more antisocial approach to online gaming is meant purely as satire, and I fell for it just like everyone else who’s already commented.


On March 7, 2008 at 6:28 pm

As an achievement whore my self. I also think online achievements ruin games. Because what if I want to get an achievement for a game that’s two years old and theres no one online to play against. That achievement is forever gone for me.


On March 7, 2008 at 6:35 pm

In Team Fortress 2, there are very few forced achievements. Meaning that just by playing the game normally, as a team you will eventually get most of the achievements without specifically trying.

The only achievements that are forced are ones that require you to spend an entire round as one class. I don’t see any harm in that either, because it would give a player a chance to become more familiar with a class they wouldn’t normally play.


On March 7, 2008 at 6:42 pm

As true as this article may be, it’s lost all integrity due to the fact that obviously no research was done. “Mongoose Meltdown” … seriously?? Jesus Christ.


On March 7, 2008 at 7:24 pm

Achievements enhance my game playing experience. I do not agree with online achievements since they are frequently ridiculously hard to get, or tedious, or just plain stupid, but I do enjoy campaign achievements.


On March 7, 2008 at 7:26 pm

Achievements have not ruined XBox Live; the same idiots who are achievement whores would be doing something else idiotic online (PK, anyone?) if they weren’t going for Gamerpoints. We all know this. The secret to online gaming is the same as it’s always been: Find people you know you like playing with and stick with them, or be prepared to play with jackoffs.


On March 7, 2008 at 8:18 pm

There are plenty of gaming communities out there with hosted servers that dont tolerate this, its not hard to find them and become a regular.

Cut La Rock

On March 7, 2008 at 8:48 pm

Gears of War did things perfectly, IMO. You can two different systems, ranked and unranked. Games in ranked counted towards achievements, and games in unranked didn’t. Its a perfect way to allow a user to play online without caring about achievements.

I personally enjoy trying to obtain multi-player achievements. I think that NOT having achievements is what keeps a game like COD4 from being a 10.


On March 7, 2008 at 9:19 pm

I’ve been gaming since the 70′s and while I used to love trying to beat other people’s high score in the arcades I really don’t understand these modern achievements. If they don’t give me anything, what do I care? Do they unlock content or extras? Most of the 360′s achievements are utter trash only good for those OCD people that really can’t stand not to get a pat on the head every time they manage to do something without uttering screwing the pooch.
I can’t help but imagine that when they aren’t playing something online and screaming profanity and racial slurs into their headphone, they must be sitting in a corner popping bubble wrap and fidgeting like there is a weasel up their bum. Sure, collect little points and pats on the head all you want… some of us aren’t quite that Pavlovian and look fondly back on the days of unlockable/secret content and tangible rewards.


On March 7, 2008 at 10:21 pm

If I could disable achievements entirely, I would. The purpose of the game should be the game.


On March 7, 2008 at 11:05 pm

“I’ve been gaming since the 70′s and while I used to love trying to beat other people’s high score in the arcades I really don’t understand these modern achievements. If they don’t give me anything, what do I care? ”

What did getting high scores in the arcades get you?

steven hipkiss

On March 8, 2008 at 8:40 am

boo hoo hoo, mummy! wah wah wah! people online don’t play the game the way *I* think it should be played. boo, hoo hoo…


On March 8, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Achievements rule.
Yeah it sucks once in a while when you are trying to defend a Headquarters in COD4 and it comes down to your last guy and your whole team can see that he is just across the map, prone, trying to get sniper kills.
But it doesn’t happen all the time.
Game Achievements keep people playing games longer.


On March 8, 2008 at 2:50 pm

Why dont they just put all the online acheivements SECRET ????


On March 8, 2008 at 3:46 pm


Jimmy L

On March 8, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Some people get satisfaction from getting achievements. If you’re a long-time player, that’s what keeps you coming back and showing off (in some sense). If you’re a casual player, screw you…

Drudge fans:

Canadian Free Stuff Guru

On March 10, 2008 at 12:57 am

I don’t own an xbox so I don’t know about their specific achievements system, but I have to say some of the systems for PC games, like say Team Fortress 2, are extremely fun and do not ruin the game in anyway. In fact, they add to the fun of the game and encourage people to cooperate with their team.

Xbox may have a different system though.


On March 10, 2008 at 12:27 pm

I think this can all be settled with a choice.

choice A: Create MP games that are NON-achievement based(just play the damn game)

choice B: Create MP games that are achievement based(let all the achievement whores here).

There. Case solved.

Robert Aitchison

On March 10, 2008 at 1:58 pm

Well designed achievements encourage people to play in a different manner than they normally would in order to get the achievements.

For example the person who normally spends 99% of their time sniping would get a completely different experience from a game if he’s trying to rack up x number of melee kills (or whatever).

I agree that the griefer achievements (such as team kill) are a bad thing though.

Free Xbox 360 Elite

On March 22, 2008 at 2:21 am

Well, the best thing to do really, I guess would be to find a group of people who play to play and don’t play just to get achievements. I don’t think achievements are necessarily a bad thing. I just think you have to find the right people to play with.


On September 17, 2008 at 12:56 pm

SOME OF US DON’T WANNA PLAY WITH RACIST S WITH TWO MUCH TIME ON THERE HANDS. There i said it, most of the games i try and buy, have like 100 points that you can get online,PLEASE GAMERS START DOING THIS. Kane and Lynch was Fu#king , are you kidding me, i passed the game 3 times and i get 500 points, WHAT? so i have to get 700 points online. So that means,YOU a working adult, or nice social person, has to spend the next month with racist/insulting/booting/team killing/HIGH/ s who spend all day on xbox cuz there can’t really be social in real life. The last i checked i come online to have fun, not fight with pieces of that is the xbox community, i completely agree with the article, the best thing do is STOP BUYING the games that cater to a massive amount of online achievments. Lets face it, your not gonna have fun anyway. And the people that say quit whining, please, im fuc#king buying, last i checked if i buy a game i want to enjoy it, yes the whole game. I seriously think 90 percent of the KKK play Gears of War.


On November 26, 2008 at 5:58 pm

I agree well sometimes my friends cant stop talking about there gamerscore im better at games then him but he says hes better cuz of his gamerscore “phhfu”
only proves your ubsest with video games I do try to get a higher gamerscore and get achievements but i wont go out of my way and purchase with alot of achievments just to get them i try to get them with luck but sometimes when push comes to shove the really hard achievments yes i will do that stuipid stuff like line up for that mongoose thing on halo 3 i try not to think of it all the time achievements do help me in ways tho Gets me satisfied and lets my mind wonder off when im playing a boring game that actually turns fun when u figured out uuv spent all that time to get that achievment you failed but hey atleast your owning now :) PS: Online achievements are horrible idea especially to thos offline gamers who like to get achievments too…..Unless the players only try to get the achivements by luck its a bad idea based on how players react to comments like these :wink:


On June 28, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Perfect Dark Zero, and Far Cry Instinct Predator al like completely all online achievements. I go to play them online, and no one i even playing them online. That ruins the game in a different way. I want the achievements, but the game is like all online achievements when no one is even playing online


On November 26, 2012 at 6:47 am

The fact of the matter is the INITIAL purpose of Achievements was to give a competitive aspect to offline gaming, a way to show off feats performed in the normal offline campaign. Let the devs come up with their own online scoring system for their games and leave gamerscore open to all gamers regardless of membership status.