Grind Achievements

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Achievements given by repeatedly performing some action in a game.

Many activities in games are either trivial after being done for the first time or become routine as one's expertise as a player grows. They may still be necessary to complete the game, but to recognize the effort players' can put into that specific type of activity game designers can reward players with Grind Achievements. These achievements differ from most other achievements in that players will sooner or later get them it they persevere. For games while allow several different ways of playing, Grind Achievements can be a way to official confirm the way a player has chosen to play a game.

Examples

High-Score lists can sometimes function as keepers of Grind Achievements. This is the case when the scores they keep track of start to depend on endurance rather than meeting challenges that steadily become more and more difficult. Early console games such as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong qualify to this, since reaching the highest recorded levels require uninterrupted gameplay for several hours (the first perfect score for Pac-Man took about 6 hours, which by 2010 been shaved to less than 4 hours[1]).

More modern games, especially those built as online games or distributed through online platforms such as Steam or XBox Live, have specific grind achievements. The cooperative first-person shooter series Left 4 Dead also has many Grind Achievements. Looking at the second installment in the series, L4D2 rewards using certain types of weapons and ammunition (hitting 50 common infected with incendiary ammo gives Burning Sensation, killing 100 with a chainsaw gives Chain of Command, and decapitating 200 infected with a melee weapon gives Head Honcho). Performing other easily done activities are also rewarded (Cl0wnd for honking the noses of 10 infected clowns, Cache Grab for opening 5 foot lockers, and Grave Robber for picking up 10 items dropped by fallen survivors), as is achieving more important gameplay closures (e.g. Shock Jock for reviving at total of 10 dead survivors through using defirillators and Gas Guzzler for collecting 100 gas cans in the game mode scavenge).[2] Similarly, the class-based first-person shooter Team Fortress 2 has Grind Achievements for both general activities (e.g. Race for the Pennant for running 25 kilometers, Batter Up for having done 1000 double jumps, Firefighter and Hardcore for reaching 500 and 1000 kills respectively, Supreme Soviet for getting ÜberCharged 50 times) and those specifically for the individual classes (Team Doctor for accumulate 25000 heal points as a Medic and Hot on Your Heels for killing 50 enemies from behind with a flamethrower).[3].

The action-adventure game Torchlight gives Grind Achievements for most types of activities and events possible in the game: walking (Walkabout for taking 25000 steps), gambling (Gambling Addict and Gambling Fiend for doing this 50 and 100 times), fishing (Angler, Fisherman, and Fisher King for catching 50, 100, and 100 fish), smashing items (doing this 1500 times gives Master Smasher), selling items (10000 transactions gives Cash for Trash), getting gold (having collected 250000 gold gives Rich), killing enemies (Wabam! for 5000 monsters and Supreme Slayer for 50000 monsters), achieving critical hits (Gibbed for blowing 25 enemies to pieces), drinking potions (Potion Whiz for 5000) and dying (having done this 500 times gives the consolidation price Tormented). Enchantment Overload, given for successfully enchanting one item 10 time, many not seem like a Grind Achievement from its description but is also one since each enchantment has a slight risk of ruining the items and the accumulated risk statistically means that many items will have to be enchanted to get the achievement (in fact, the game design mitigates the risk by having another achievement build on these failures since The Need for Greed is given for suffering 20 disenchants.[4]

Fallout: New Vegas in the Fallout series has Grind Achievements for crafting and repairing a certain number of items (Crafty for crafting 20 items and Jury Rigger for repairing 30 items) and others for simply discovering places in the game world (Walker of the Mojave for 50 locations and Master of the Mojave for 125 locations). It also has Grind Achievements that reveals what type of weapons one uses (the achievements Lead Dealer, Love the Bomb, Old-Tyme Brawler, New Vegas Samurai, and Blast Mastery are given for causing 10,000 points of damage with guns, explosives, unarmed strikes, melee weapons and energy weapons respectively) and what type of healing one uses (healing 10,000 points with food gives Desert Survivalist while doing so with Stimpaks gives Stiim-ply Amazing).[5]

World of Warcraft have main different types of Grind Achievements with different requirements of players' levels of skill or knowledge. The achievement Got My Mind On My Money exists in many levels for acquiring gold (given when players pass 5000, 10000, 25000, 50000, and 100000 pieces) as do ones based upon completing quests (50, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 1500, 2000, and 3000) or daily quests (5, 50, 200, 500 ,1000). Those participating in player vs. player combat can grind toward achievements of Honorable Kills (awarded for 1, 100, 500, 1000, 5000, 10000, 25000, 50000, and 10000 such kills). While these has the same main name, once based upon obtaining mounts and vanity pets have individualized names (Stable Keeper, Filling Up The Barn, Leading the Cavalry, Mountain o' Mounts and Can I Keep Him?, Plenty of Pets, Plethora of Pets, Shop Smart, Shop Pet...Smart, Lil' Game Hunter respectively). Many exploration achievements exist in the game as well, and these are the basis for Grind Achievements for exploring whole regions (Explore Eastern Kingdoms, Explore Kalimdor, Explore Northrend, Explore Outlands) and the whole world (World Explorer). There are also many Grind Achievements based upon collecting sets of achievements given for completing dungeons and raids. Examples include Classic Dungeonmaster, Glory of the Hero, Northrend Dungeonmaster, Northrend Dungeon Hero, Outland Dungeonmaster, and Outland Dungeon Hero.[6]

Using the pattern

Grind Achievements can easily be constructed from requiring the success of small goals, that is requiring a Collection of Optional or Enforced to be completed. Given this, they can also can be constructed from the goals that make up Testing Achievements but combining them only makes sense when providing a Testing Achievement for the first success and then the Grind Achievement after the specified number of successes have been achieved. Examples of Grind Achievements built on what could have been Testing Achievements include Club Dead in L4D2 (awarded for having used every type of melee weapon to kill a common infected) and The Whole Gang's Here in Fallout: New Vegas (awarded for recruiting all companions).

Goal Achievements can also be used as a basis for Grind Achievements but since these goals most likely require Gameplay Mastery, this solution is more likely to work for games striving for Challenging Gameplay. Although Handicap Achievements can be difficult to use as a basis for Grind Achievements, most of the options and consequences of Achievements in general are available to Grinding ones as well. The Hat Trick achievement in Torchlight, awarded for beating the game with all three classes, can be seen as either a Grind Achievement built on Goal Achievements of completing the game or Testing Achievements of testing all classes.

A main design choice regarding the individual tasks involved in the Achievement is if the exact same task can be done several times or if different tasks have to be done. The former typically requires that Spawning of monsters or quests are used and may consist of more Grinding since it is exactly the same task that is repeated. If different tasks are used this may maintain Thematic Consistency for Predetermined Story Structures and can promote Game World Exploration. The latter also adds the choice of having a set of tasks which all need to completed or just requiring that a subset is necessary through a Selectable Set of Goals (which gives players a Freedom of Choice as long as they are aware of all parts of the set). The first levels of the Milestone Achievements in Team Fortress 2 do this, e.g. requiring 5 sniping Achievements out of all those available for the sniper class to give the Grind Achievement Sniper Milestone 1.

Another design choice of course consists of how many times the individual tasks in total need to be performed. This typically depends on the type of activity but cannot be to low since that would instead create a Testing Achievement. A common strategy, as shown by Fallout: New Vegas, Torchlight, and World of Warcraft examples above, is to provide several different Grind Achievements which are identical except for the number of tasks that need to be performed. By thus creating Goal Hierarchies, this allows new Grind Achievements to take over as goals as soon as one has been reached. The Milestone Achievements in Team Fortress 2 has this structure as well, having several levels for each class for example Sniper Milestone 1, Sniper Milestone 2, and Sniper Milestone 3 for gaining 5, 11, and 17 more specific Achievements.

Diegetic Aspects

Grind Achievements that depend on Spawning to provide the required tasks most often have a problem with Thematic Consistency.

Interface Aspects

To show how many times a goal has been achieved and how many remain before the Grind Achievement is rewarded, Progress Indicators are typically used in combination with Grind Achievements. Further, since games using Grind Achievements often have many of them, the information about them are typically available through Secondary Interfaces.

Narration Aspects

As for diegetic aspects, Grind Achievements can be problematic for Predetermined Story Structures. This since they may break the Thematic Consistency by having events and encounters occur many times or by slowing down the unveiling of the Predetermined Story Structures with menial tasks.

Consequences

Grind Achievements share many of the consequences of Achievements in general, e.g. being a type of Reward and a basis for Meta Games. Since they consist of reaching some form of goal multiple times they promote Collecting as a gameplay activity. Achieving them are also quite naturally require Grinding and when the individual tasks have clear properties as goals the Grind Achievements create Goal Hierarchies.

Although maybe not as efficient as Goal Achievements, Grind Achievements can provide Value of Effort Rewards by offering to show how dedicated players have been to the game, a gaming group, or game community. This since dedicated membership can in itself provide Game-Based Social Statuses.

Relations

Can Instantiate

Achievements, Collecting, Game World Exploration, Game-Based Social Statuses, Goal Hierarchies, Grinding, Meta Games, Rewards, Value of Effort

Can Modulate

-

Can Be Instantiated By

Collection with Enforced or Optional Goals, Collection with Goal Achievements or Testing Achievements

Can Be Modulated By

Progress Indicators, Secondary Interfaces, Selectable Set of Goals, Spawning

Possible Closure Effects

-

Potentially Conflicting With

Predetermined Story Structures, Testing Achievements

with Spawning

Thematic Consistency

History

New pattern created in this wiki.

References

  1. Wikipedia's entry on Pac-Man.
  2. Valve Software's list of L4D2 achievements and percentages of gamers receiving them.
  3. Valve Software's list of Team Fortress 2 achievements and percentages of gamers receiving them.
  4. List of Torchlight achievements in the Steam Achievements system and percentages of gamers receiving them.
  5. List of Fallout:New Vegas achievements in the Steam Achievements system and percentages of gamers receiving them.
  6. WoWWiki's main page regarding achievements in World of Warcraft.