Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Rant: How Achievement Points should be awarded

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I love earning Achievement Points! It makes doing well in a game feel worthwhile again. Just like having the highest score in an arcade game back in the day earned a player bragging rights, Achievement Points show the world (or at least your friends) that you are a great gamer (at least by yourself).

I have no clue why these stupid points mean so much to me because I'll never be atop any leaderboard (the top gamers are in the 40K's). I play too many games and don't have the time to get all the points in all of them. I guess I'm motivated by 2 things - having more points than my brother and reaching certain point total goals.

Here's the problem, games currently have screwy ways of dishing out points. Since all games are different, there can be no standard format for giving them out. Developers are able to give out points at their own disgression, as long as 1000 points are available. Some games have points that are gimme's (like King Kong) others are bang-your-head-against-the-wall hard (like MotoGP) or are just plain time consuming (like Oblivion).

And things are getting worse. Developers are now wising up and instead of giving out large chunks of points at a time, are spreading them out. 10 points here, 5 points there - just plain nickel and diming a gamer to death. I know what you're thinking "Shouldn't that be how it is? Shouldn't a gamer have to earn points and not just have them given to them?" The answer is no and yes.

I don't want all 1000 points for simply completing the game. That's too easy. But on the other hand, most 360 game are $60. That's a good chunk of change. If I pay that much money, I should have a few hundred points practically handed to me. I don't expect to hear that little ping sound and the "Achievement Unlocked" sign to pop up when I load the disc (actually, that would be great) but I want some points - fast.

So what's the solution? Simple! Give out points in a staggered format so that casual, average and die-hard gamers earn the points they deserve. Here's a breakdown that can be used by every game developer. Keep in mind that I'm taking into consideration that online achievement points are given out respectively in each point level as well.

0 - 400 Points - Points the casual or rental gamer can earn by playing the game to its end. Gamers can earn these points by completing tasks in the game necessary to get to the games natural conclusion on a normal game setting. Distributed in increments from 50-200 points.

400 - 700 Points - Points for the average to above average gamer. Will require a second or third playing of a game to reach specific milestones or goals. A gamer will have to stretch themselves to get these points, likely having to make 2-3 attempts. Distributed in increments of 25-50 points.

700 - 1000 Points - These are for die-hard gamers only. Just the description of how to get these point will make the casual or average gamer shake their head and mutter to themselves, "Its time to trade this game in." These points require a ridiculous amount of time to complete or beating the game on a setting so hard and frustrating, it'd make most gamers want to throw their controllers on the ground and stomp it into dust. Distributed in increments of 10-25 points.

There you have it. While this may raise overall achievement scores a bit, gamers who earn 1000 points in a game will show themselves to be true masters of a game. It also helps show what kind of gamer someone is with a particular game. If you're comparing yourself to someone else in MLB 2K Baseball and notice you have 650 points while your friend has only 200 points, you know you're probably a little better at that game than he is. Conversely if you have a friend who wants to play you in online Madden and you notice he has 950 points while you only have 150, you might to try and get him to play as a weaker team.

Its not a perfect system, but its better than how points are given out now.

1 comment:

JohnX said...

As far at general points go, I don't put much stock in it. If you have 40 thousand points, it doesn't mean you are good at games. It means you live in your mom's basement. As for individual games, I do put more stock, though still not much, into individual game rankings/points and so forth. For example, in Burnout Revenge, my rank is somewhere around 400. I'm Ub3rn00ber on XBOX Live. However, when I played alot more, my high rank was 32. If I go a week or more without playing, my rank drops significantly. Again, people like me who enjoy games but don't have an opportunity to play them non stop all day every day tend to not really care about rankings or points too much whether they be individual game points or acheivement points. Some people get downright nasty when it comes to playing games simply because they might lose some ranks in a game. I feel that anyone who puts that much attention into games really needs to get laid unless they are getting paid to play games like you ;)

BTW: I expect to see your review of Flatout 2 when it comes out in August ;)