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Goals whose fulfillment is stored outside the scope of individual game sessions.


Achievements schemes are often developed by platform developers rather than individual game developers, and supporting them may or may not be required to be allowed to release games on them. Both PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 console platforms provide Achievement support through PSN trophies and Gamerscore system respectively (the latter also working with Games for Windows titles), and require the developers use them. Valve Software uses Steam Achievements to provide similar functionality but does not require games to make use of it.

As of late 2010, Left 4 Dead 2 in the Left 4 Dead Series supports 65 Achievements but based on earlier history this is likely to increase with further expansions. While several of these are rewarded for completing campaigns (e.g. Midnight Rider and Weatherman), others can be gained by completing ephemeral goals many times (e.g. Cache Grab and Shock Jock). Some goal related Achievements require specific weapons to be used (e.g. Chain of Command and Tank Burger) while others require especially good successes (e.g. Long Distance Carrier and Wing and a Prayer) or doing actions in specific circumstances (e.g. A Spittle Help from my Friends and Kill Bill). Others still make gameplay more difficult by adding additional goals (e.g. Gong Show and Guardin' Gnome) or requiring a self-imposed handicap (e.g. Confederacy of Crunches and Bridge over Trebled Waters). To motivate players to explore some of the alternative ways of playing th game, there are also several achievements for this (e.g. Mutant Overlord and Port of Scavenge).[1]

The class-based Team Fortress 2 has many different types of Achievements. Some are possible to acquire regardless of which class one plays (e.g. Batter Up, and Firefighter) while other require you to play specific classes (e.g. Team Doctor and Hot on Your Heels). Others encourage players to dedicatedly play a class and collect Achievements for that class (e.g. Sniper Milestone 1, Sniper Milestone 2, and Sniper Milestone 3) while other yet pull players towards testing all ways of playing the game (e.g. Head of the Class). Other still motivate players to enact actions that help teamplay (e.g Land Grab ) or cause more unusual events (A Cut Above and OMGWTFBBQ).[2]

Fallout: New Vegas provides both Achievements for completing quests (e.g. Ain't That a Kick in the Head and Arizona Killer) and for performing certain actions enough times (e.g. Lead Dealer and Master of the Mojave). To encourage players to test the gambling mini-games within the main game one Achievement for each exists (Double Down, and One Armed Bandit). The Achievement Ol' Buddy Ol' Pal, which is awarded for recruiting a companion, could be seen as a reward for reaching a goal but since the goal is easily achieved when a player is made aware of the possibility, it is arguably more a reward for being willing to test having a companion. Those electing to complete the game with additional demands on handling sleep deprivation and a need to consume food and water are rewarded with the Hardcore Achievement.[3]

Torchlight rewards completion of quests through achievements such as Purple People Defeater and Beast Slayer I, and additionally rewards players that have complete the game on hard or very hard levels with Beast Slayer II and Beast Slayer III. Similarly, those who have played in the hardcore mode can get specific achievements (e.g. Hardcore Victor and Hardcore Hero) and those that have completed the game quickly can get others still (Swift Execution and Speed King). Besides these goal related Achievements, the game also provides Achievements for testing some of the optional gameplay (e.g. Fetch a Fair Price and Mod Squad) or performing simple tasks many times (e.g. 'Walkabout, Gambling Addict, and Angler).[4]

Assassin's Creed 2

The expansion Wrath of the Lich King introduced Achievements to World of Warcraft. Of the over 700 introduced, many include completing dungeons and raids (e.g. Blackfathom Deeps, Uldaman, and Zul'Gurub) while others are rewarded for participating in special events or testing features of the game (I Found One! for collecting an egg during the Noblegarden event and Represent, Shave and a Haircut, and Dual Talent Specialization for testing various features). A large part of the achievements are awarded for either repeatedly succeeding with smaller goals (e.g. Got My Mind On My Money, Honorable Kills, and Stable Keeper) or for collecting sets of Achievements (e.g. Explore Eastern Kingdoms and Classic Dungeonmaster).[5]



Using the pattern

Linked to point systems

Several sub-categories of Achievements exist. Goal Achievements are those that are awarded by successfully completing Optional or Enforced Goals. Testing Achievements are those that are given simply for players trying some action in the game, and can be a way for game designers to encourage players both to learn how to play and to engage in Experimenting. Handicap Achievements are those given to players for completing goal with self-imposed penalties, e.g. having the Difficulty Settings as difficult as possible or using a limited range of disadvantageous weapons. The Left 4 Dead Series have both these types of Handicap Achievements in the second installment: Still Something To Prove for completing all Campaigns on the expert Difficulty Setting and Tank Burger for killing the Boss Monster known as a Tank using only melee weapons.

Most Achievements (where Goal Achievements most typically are the exception) can be modified by simply requiring that an action or goal needs to be done several times for the achievement to be rewarded. In contrast, Grind Achievements are those that players eventually will get through Grinding rather than some level of Game Mastery.

Achievements may provide in-game rewards or may not.

The ribbons used in Farmville as rewards always do things, while

Ephemeral Goals

High Score Lists (← links) Unwinnable Games (← links) Challenging Gameplay (← links) Open Destiny (← links)

Freedom of Choice Handicap Achievements Single-Player Games Ephemeral Goals

Unwinnable Games

Diegetic Aspects

Achievements can work against Engrossment in a game's Narration Structures since it draws attention to an optional Meta Game. This is typically compounded by a culture of having cross-referential jokes or word plays (e.g. The Incredible Hulk in World of Warcraft; Armory of One, Price Chopper, and Kill Bill in L4D2; Ain't That a Kick in the Head and Veni, Vidi, Vici in Fallout: New Vegas; and Marxman and Rasputin in Team Fortress 2).

Interface Aspects

Secondary Interfaces

Narrative Aspects


The presence of Achievements can provide clear goals to Unwinnable Games.

Optional Goals

Achievements provide a Value of Effort through giving Rewards than can give Game-Induced Player Social Status.

Public Player Statistics


Meta Game.


Can Instantiate

Can Modulate

Can Be Instantiated By

Goal Achievements, Grind Achievements, Testing Achievements, Handicap Achievements

Can Be Modulated By

Possible Closure Effects

Potentially Conflicting With


New pattern created in this wiki.


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