Yesterday, Guild Wars 2 introduced the first patch that really got me excited. I mean, I was definitely a fan of the Halloween/Christmas events, but this patch finally feels like it’s tailored to the way I play. What got me so excited? The upgrade to the achievement system.
Ever since I started experiencing achievements in MMOs, I’ve felt strongly that there should be a reward structure attached to them so that they were more than just a high score. WoW’s achievement system always felt like a missed opportunity to me, with very few of the achievements giving you anything other than a virtual pat on the back. Other games, like RIFT and LOTRO, do tie in fixed rewards to some of the achievements. But I can’t recall a game letting me stock up on “achievement currency” to buy the rewards I liked, and that’s something I’ve really wanted for some time now.
That’s why I’m excited about this patch, because it’s the first step to turning the achievement system in GW2 into something that rewards me for my regular activities. It looks like the changes to the system will be rolled out in a couple phases, so for this first phase, we’re seeing laurel currency that can be earned by completing daily and monthly achievements. The currency can then be turned in to vendors for a variety of goods, including some of the much-coveted high-level swag.
What’s interesting to me is that the devs have changed things up so that the daily/monthly achievements change on the new day/month. It introduces variety into the game so that we don’t get used to running the exact same patterns day in and day out. That’s awesome. It was a bit of a mental shift to look down the list of five achievements last night and go, “Oh, I have to dodge? And rez?” but it was cool too. One of the goals of achievements is to encourage you to try out new activities and get out of a routine, not stay in one. To know that there will be different achievements every day will go a long way to accomplishing this.
I remarked to my guild that I could see this as being not just a beneficial system for the average player, but beneficial to the game as a whole. Having selectable rewards behind rotating daily achievements will probably suck in a lot more players into participating — and if the achievements encourage interaction (such as running events and rezzing others), then it builds community.
The future possibilities of this system as mentioned by the GW2 devs have me even more excited. Things coming up include:
- Selectable daily achievements from a list
- Rewards for all achievements, not just dailies/monthlies
- More offerings in the achievement store
Considering that my average play session in Guild Wars 2 is 30 min to an hour of landscape exploration, pursuing daily achievements is as good of a goal as any other. Once I’m done with world exploration on this character, my first alt will focus more on events and (now) whatever daily achievements come along. This patch really reinforces the notion that the world is to be experienced, not just plowed through on the way to the endgame. I wasn’t *not* excited to log in as of late, but now I feel even more interest in getting in a good GW2 session before bedtime.