The Escapist Magazine
Issue 196
Carrot on a Stick
How achievements are changing the way we think about and design games.
Editor's Note Letters to the Editor

Plenty of games include achievements, but few contain the sheer number and variety that World of Warcraft does. John Funk explains why WoW's achievement system grabbed him in a way that no other platform has.

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It's easy to tell when the achievements were simply the last item on the developer's checklist before the game shipped. But when they receive a bit of extra attention and a little creativity, achievements can greatly enhance your experience with a game. Anthony Burch examines how different developers have approached achievements, with varying degrees of success.

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Achievements aren't just an in-game diversion - they can educate players about key gameplay concepts and turn novices into skilled veterans. Rob Zacny analyzes how the best achievements can teach you how to play - and how the worst ones can potentially break a game.

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The Titles and Deeds systems in Lord of the Rings Online aren't just another way for players to grind: They let players express themselves and communicate with one another. Will Hindmarch looks at what makes LOTRO's achievement system different from other platforms.

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The common wisdom is that achievements give players more value for their gaming dollar. But there may be a hidden cost to this constant competition. Christian Ward describes how achievements aren't as revolutionary as they may first appear, and how they could in fact be holding the medium back.

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