Yes, I’ve got an issue with achievements-systems. Linden Lab’s Amanda Van Nuys says it something that the Lab is looking at for Second Life.
What’s the big deal with achievements? They are, as Kent Quirk observes, a powerful motivator.
And that’s true. Offer a game-player a virtual-badge, and you manipulate their behaviour in a small way.
Offer them a bunch and you can channel their game-play. Right up to the moment that they unlock the last achievement available – or the last achievement they are interested in, and then they walk away. Many achievement-focused gamers don’t return to a game whose achievements they’ve completed to their satisfaction.
And then we have public achievements.
In my experience, once you make achievements publically visible, and it is like throwing a handful of gold doubloons into a mud pit. A lot of folks dive in after it, and there’s a lot of bad behaviour, whether or not anyone comes up with a coin.
It’s ugly and icky, and I rather think I’d watch TV than participate, thanks all the same.
This is why I never really got involved in Metaplace. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I wonder how many people might have thought likewise.
Second Life used to have assorted scores and leaderboards and they were removed for a number of reasons, some of which we can probably only speculate about.
For my money, having achievements or scores of some sort basically says “Hey, we don’t want people who will treat Second Life as a platform or as a world. We want people who will treat it like a game.”