Now that next gen is upon us developers and publishers begin focus on much larger and more social experiences that means we’ll start seeing multiplayer games with a tacked on single player (I’m looking at you Call of Duty and Battlefield). Games like Titanfall decide to go in a different direction with multiplayer where they simply weave a narrative through multiplayer without hitting you over the head with a story, much like we’ve seen in the last few installments of Assassin’s Creed games. In Assassin’s Creed we’ve seen you play as an Abstergo employee climbing through the ranks of Abstergo Industries, not to be confused with Abstergo Entertainment crafting your single player experiences in the AC games. What’s the one thing we see tying these games together? They all have multiplayer achievements.
As the saying goes, old games are old and for games with multiplayer modes that issue only compounds. Ever gone back to a game in the lulls of summer hoping to clean out the rest of the achievements only to be disappointed by the lack of players? Don’t you just love the “play a game in every mode” or “win a match on every map” achievements after the players have moved on to a different game? Even when games launch it’s still difficult to get into certain game modes because the majority of the players are in the standard TDM or CTF style game modes. Some companies like Epic try to help by supporting bots in their games so you can still level up and possibly earn those achievements but as people drop off that also means the ability to earn does too.
Now, I live in Seattle and am fortunate enough to have pretty good internet speeds with my current provider, Comcast, so I’m able to play online as well as download and stream my favorite movies and music. What if you don’t live in an area where high-speed internet is available, but you’re an achievement hunter or a trophy whore? Well that’s just too bad. On most of the games mentioned earlier, you’ll never be able to achieve that Platinum Trophy or 100% status on Xbox Live which is a total bummer. Why should the player be penalized for not having an internet connection? What about the fact that some people just don’t like to play multiplayer or the people that want to enjoy the games for the crafted story experience but still want to get 100% completion. Those days seem to have passed us by and we are now being forced to be social because developers are telling us to be social.
The other problem with these multiplayer based achievements is in some ways they detract from the enjoyment of the game itself. Sometimes they feel so much like a chore that you lose any enjoyment, but that’s just my opinion. I asked some of the super keen and dialed in folks over on the Podcast Unlocked Facebook group their opinions on multiplayer based achievements. As you’d expect the feelings where mixed, but all of them made great points. Some folks feel multiplayer based cheevos are totally fine within the proper context. Games like CoD and Battlefield are multiplayer centric and you’re probably playing them for the multiplayer so those make perfect sense. Others felt like some multiplayer modes felt tacked on such as Assassin’s Creed. I’ve enjoyed the AC multiplayer sessions I’ve had and to be honest they have been some of the most heart-pounding and tense moments of multiplayer ever for me due to it’s slower nature. One of the bigger gripes most folks had were the achievements that focus on grinding away to reach the level caps. Call of Duty, Halo 4 and Assassin’s Creed all come to mind again for those specific achievements. AC’s achievements are that much more annoying because the “level-up” style achievement has fluctuated between each game. AC: Brotherhood wanted you to reach the max level, AC3 only needed you to level up to 20 and AC4 takes the step back and forces you to reach level 55 again. Finally, some people in the group completely hate having to play multiplayer to get that elusive Platinum.
So where do we go from here? What’s the solution? I have an idea that could be a different approach to achievements and trophies.
Split multiplayer and single player achievements into two different sets. This would mean you could technically reach 100% on two different achievement sets. This would also mean that developers could have a little more fun with the achievements they make for both multiplayer and single player being that they aren’t trying to shoe horn both categories into 1000G. Maybe boost it up to 2000G?
Now I turn this over to you. How do you feel about multiplayer achievements? If you think it’s a problem, how would you go about solving it?