My name is Andrew, and I love achievements. Ever since the Xbox 360 launched, unlocking achievements has been an obsession of mine. I’m currently sitting at 360,000 Gamerscore, and I don’t have any intention of stopping soon. Since the introduction of the popular system, there have been a few tweaks here and there. In 2016, Microsoft introduced rare achievements (awarded when less than 10% of players unlock the achievement) alongside a new sound. While cool, there have been issues with the new system, which in turn, has me wishing that Microsoft made another tweak.
With the inclusion of rare achievements, I’ve noticed that many games have a glitch on the progression screen. There are some instances when achievements show a 60% unlock rate when it’s impossible for that to be true. How can 60% of players unlock an achievement to complete all levels, when only 15% have unlocked an achievement to finish chapter 3? This isn’t specific to any one game. I see this often happen with indies, and it’s frustrating. Even playing a game when it launches at midnight, I’ve come across this issue.
We know that there will be an update to achievements coming in the future that focuses on a player’s accomplishments in-game, according to Xbox’s Mike Ybarra.
[W]e can do a lot more to reflect and let people show their gaming history and their status. Whether it’s somebody who only plays multiplayer in Halo 5 at a professional level, maybe they only have 2,000 Gamerscore, you want to be able to celebrate that person. You want people to be in the know. This person doesn’t play a lot of games, but they’re world top ten at Halo 5. All the way to people [with over a million gamerscore]. It’s that range that we really need to look at and celebrate … we’re going to go big in the area of letting people show off and represent their gaming history and the type of gamer that they are, far more than we do with Gamerscore.
While this sounds cool, there are a lot of achievement hunters that would like to flaunt their accomplishments more. Sony invented trophies after Microsoft introduced the world to achievements. While I love achievements, a growing number doesn’t yield the same joy as unlocking that sweet Platinum trophy on PlayStation 4. I think Microsoft should rework achievements to something akin to a PlayStation trophy. I love seeing that Platinum symbol next to the games on my library. Whereas unlocking all of the achievements in an Xbox game nets you 1000/1000 and 100% next to a game. It’s not as satisfying, and as someone who strives for perfection, I wish the reward for achieving that accomplishment was more fulfilling.
Microsoft often listens to fans, and I hope that the achievement hunting community (and there are a lot of us out there) unite to bring up this issue to the company. I’m at the point where I just finish games and move on. Numbers seem to be meaningless, and the “rare” achievements feel more like a joke to me. A new sound doesn’t change the fact that it’s another achievement. I love the trophy system because my account shows how many bronze, silver, gold, and Platinum trophies I have in each game. On Xbox, there isn’t really anything to compare to with others outside of the number of achievements you’ve unlocked and how high the Gamerscore is.
Xbox is my favorite brand of console. I’ve been on board since the original console, and I don’t plan on abandoning the place where I’ve called home for the past 12 years. I just think that there is always room for improvement, and making small tweaks to the achievement system would add to the quality-of-life changes that Microsoft has been expertly doing over the past few years. Achievements upgrades might seem like a minuscule addition, but since the Xbox 360, they’ve played an interesting, and in my case, an important part of the Xbox experience. Every game on Xbox One utilizes achievements, so it only makes sense to have the feature more intuitive to the userbase.
I sincerely hope that over time, Microsoft works to revitalize the achievement system. The dashboard and UI have been improved over the past few years, everything runs faster, games have received upgrades through the power of Xbox One X, and Xbox has become a more reliable place to play games. While not everybody may care about achievements, there are enough people out there that would truly appreciate a new way to experience a feature that they’ve come to love. After 12 years of unlocking achievements, I won’t stop, but the current status of the function has me wondering: “What can Microsoft do next?”
Andrew Gonzalez is the Co-Editor-In-Chief of Xbox Enthusiast. When not writing about Xbox, he’s usually reading comics, talking about Taylor Swift, and dreaming of the perfect Jet Force Gemini Reboot. You can follow him on Twitter. @AJGVulture89