Goal Achievements

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Achievements given to completing a goal in the game.

Achievements are persistent ways of recognizing what players have done in games, and one of the more apparent things that can be worthwhile to keep track of is if one has reached certain goals in the game. These Goal Achievements let players keep track of their successes outside specific game instances and can be used compare oneself with others.


For longer single-player games, and especially those with multiple endings, Goal Achievements are typically tied to completing quests. Examples of such achievements can be found in the later installments of the Fallout series, e.g. Ain't That a Kick in the Head, Arizona Killer, and No Gods, No Masters[1] in Fallout: New Vegas, as well as in Torchlight through achievements such as Purple People Defeater and Beast Slayer I[2].

In contrast, multiplayer games that structure gameplay around shorter game sessions. For the Left 4 Dead series this includes completing campaigns such as Midnight Rider, Weatherman, and Torch Bearer[3] in L4D2, while for World of Warcraft Goal Achievements are structured around completing dungeons and raids, e.g. Blackfathom Deeps, Uldaman, and Zul'Gurub by defeating the final boss monsters Aku'mai, Archaedas, and Hakkar respectively[4]. Many of the achievements in Team Fortress 2 are also related to achieving goals that require some level of skill, e.g. Flamethrower (for setting five enemies on fire within 30 seconds), Enemy at the Gate (as a sniper kill an opponent within the first second of the round), and Death from Above (as a soldier rocket jump and kill 2 enemies before you land).

Some Goal Achievements can be awarded for completing a part of the game is a better fashion than necessary. For example, the Wing and a Prayer achievement in L4D2 is given for making it through a specific part of the game without taking any damage. The achievement Perfect Victory in Torchlight is similar, being given for completing the game without having died once.

Using the pattern

Many of the choices related to Achievements are relevant to Goal Achievements as well. However, the basis for Goal Achievements is the choice of which goal to use, which can be either an Enforced Goal or an Optional one. For Optional Goals, having these as Goal Achievements may in fact be the main way of becoming aware that the goals exist; for games with Multiple Endings like Fallout: New Vegas in the Fallout series if may be difficult to know how many endings exist without the use of Goal Achievements.

The difference between Achievements based on Goals and Grind Achievements or Testing Achievements is fluid. Goals that are too easy to succeed with will probably not be seen as such, but simply Rewards for trying something within the game, i.e. be Testing Achievements (or possibly Progress Indicators). Grind Achievements typically build upon succeeding with a simple goal many times but what is meant to be a Goal Achievement can become as Grind Achievement if Luck can replace Gameplay Mastery - an example of this is the Dead Stop Achievement in L4D since a hunter (one of the types of enemies in the game) may be hit when pouncing from a random attack just as well as from a well-timed one. Since players typically get better at gameplay while playing, Grind Achievements can be constructed from Goal Achievements and a Collections goal by simply requiring that the goals are reached many times as long as one assumed that players will reach a certain level of Gameplay Mastery that makes the individual tasks become routine. For these reasons, Goal Achievements that should not be confused with other types of Achievements may need to be coupled to Challenging Gameplay that requires that players prove their Gameplay Mastery. This is typically reaching a hard-to-reach goal or performing a difficult series of actions, i.e. a Combo even if the only extra effect for completing the Combo is to be given the Goal Achievement. Repeat Combos are worth mentioning here. Those that are easy to achieve are not good starting points for Goal Achievements since simply doing the activity can be used instead, but those that are hard can work well as Goal Achievements (e.g. the spy achievement You Only Shiv Twice in Team Fortress 2). Handicap Achievements are typically Goal Achievements in that they require that a goal is reached but with the additional requirement of taking on some handicap which makes it more difficult to achieve (it should be noted that Handicap Achievements can also easily be created by using Difficulty Levels and provide each setting with its own Goal Achievement).

For games with Teams, being able to achieve a Team Combo can be seen as a goal in its own right, and can make the basis for a Goal Achievement for this reason.


Many of the consequences of Achievements in general naturally apply to more specific types of Achievements, e.g. being a type of Reward and a basis for Meta Games. Since Goal Achievements typically rely on overcoming some type of Challenging Gameplay, these types of Achievements are however arguably more likely to provide Value of Effort Rewards in that collecting them can give Game-Based Social Statuses through documenting Gameplay Mastery, especially when accessible to others through Public Player Statistics.

Goal Achievements are Progress Indicators since they show that a goal has been reached but is this in a stronger sense if many Goal Achievements are stringed together so players get a series of them evenly spread out over the different challenges or Levels of a game.


Can Instantiate

Achievements, Game-Based Social Statuses, Grind Achievements, Meta Games, Progress Indicators, Rewards, Value of Effort

with Difficulty Levels

Handicap Achievements

Can Modulate

Challenging Gameplay, Gameplay Mastery, Multiple Endings

Can Be Instantiated By

Enforced Goals, Handicap Achievements, Optional Goals, Repeat Combos, Team Combos

Can Be Modulated By

Public Player Statistics

Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.


  1. List of Fallout: New Vegas achievements in the Steam Achievements system and percentages of gamers receiving them.
  2. List of Torchlight achievements in the Steam Achievements system and percentages of gamers receiving them.
  3. Valve Software's list of L4D2 achievements and percentages of gamers receiving them.
  4. WoWWiki's list of Dungeon and Raid achievements.