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I feel horrible.  I was sick to my stomach earlier tonight, and now I have nagging feelings of guilt.  I wish I could say I’m exaggerating, but it’s true, and it’s all because I was abusing the system for achievements.  Actually, it’s more because I was caught and hit by Bungie’s banhammer.

I despise multiplayer achievements.  I think they often do far more harm than good to a game’s multiplayer or are frustratingly unobtainable.  With this in mind, perhaps you can forgive me for getting together with one of my friends and playing a few social matches of Halo 3 with five unmanned controllers and a random (but entirely willing) partner in crime.  I figured playing some Mythic maps for achievements was a victimless crime, but all transgressions are equal in the eyes of the Bungie banhammer.  That’s not to say I think I’m in the right and Bungie is in the wrong.  Remember how I mentioned those feelings of guilt earlier?  I understand that I was unfairly working on achievements, but I do have my reasons.

Multiplayer achievements are usually a pain for one of two reasons.  In games that actually have a popular multiplayer component, achievements can royally screw with how the game is played.  Remember when Gears of War came out and had all those “Get 100 kills with X weapon,” achievements?  Remember how many times you’d go for a weapon you’re actually good with and Joe Noob got to it first and wouldn’t give it up because he was farming that achievement?  I have played very few games where the multiplayer achievements were thought out well enough that they didn’t disrupt the experience.  Halo 3 is mostly innocent of this; however, those newer achievements with “Get a spree with X weapon on Y map,” were my Piece of Eden #4, if you know what I’m saying.  There shouldn’t be multiplayer achievements that cause you to drastically change the way you play or disrupt the experience of others to get them.

The other major issue with multiplayer achievements is that probably the vast majority of them are never going to be achieved because they belong to games with vacant servers.  I’m damn sure I will never get the rest of the multiplayer achievements from Prey or Quake 4, because their multiplayer scene is dead at this point.  Not to mention the fact that Quake 4 has the worst multiplayer achievements ever.  To quote LeVar Burton, “Don’t take my word for it.”  What about Chromehounds?  Their servers were supposed to shut down this past week, and looking at its achievements, it looks like some are now literally impossible to get.  There are only so many Halos, Call of Dutys, and Gears of Wars, and they are the only games with any business having multiplayer achievements.

Speaking of those big franchises, the most popular of the three doesn’t even have multiplayer achievements.  None of the Infinity Ward Call of Duty games have multiplayer achievements.  Halo 3 and Gears of War 2 have online only achievements, but they’re much more reasonable than getting 500 revives in Far Cry 2.  When handled well, multiplayer achievements could encourage players to work together, try new weapons or tactics, or branch out from just team deathmatch.  I suppose I can concede that point, but I will still prefer Infinity Ward’s approach of just not including them at all.


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