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The Mechanic's Workshop: Daily Achievements and Why they Matter

February 8, 2013 - 12:10pm -- innuendo

We’ve had about two weeks of the new daily achievement system and I think it’s time to stop and reflect on how they are going, and if ArenaNet achieved (pun) what they could have with the changes. To do that I’ll dive into my own experience with the current system, as well as look ahead to the changes they’ve already confirmed for February patch.

The Past

It’s important to not forget where you came from. With that in mind, we should start this discussion was a reflection on the previous system. The old system (in case any of you are blocking the memories) was the same each day. Kill 15 different enemies, Kill 100 enemies, Gather 25 items, Complete 5 events. Very generic and after about a two days of doing them I was bored of them. I appreciate the fact that they have to be generic so that certain players aren’t excluded, but they grew thin quickly.

I think what most players ended up doing was parking alts at hotspots around Tyria. Especially for events and kill variety goals. Since the achievements are account wide, parking an alt near the Gendarren Fields Arena was a quick way to get kill variety (and events). And there are a few event hotspots on the map you could park characters at for easy credit. I think the community was in unison (for once) that the old system was rather flat.

Daily Screen

The Present

As of the last monthly patch, we all have gotten to (mostly) enjoy the new system. I’ve spent some previous workshops beating up ArenaNet, but quite frankly the new system is well done, if a bit unfinished. And unlike some of their other unfinished updates, this one isn’t detrimental to the game in its current state, and still provides a huge improvement over the previous system. In programming terms the current daily system seems to be the MVP (minimally viable product), and nothing near fully featured.

The new system includes a rotating list of achievement categories, of which a player must complete all of them in order to get credit for the total daily achievement. The list isn’t very long (and has already been trimmed because one of the categories wasn’t working).

  • Kills (total)
  • Gatherer
  • Kills (variety)
  • Kills (veteran)
  • Kills (aquatic)
  • Crafter
  • Dodges
  • Events
  • Heals
  • Kills (combo finisher) - Already cut from game

I think of the list, it’s clear a few are easier than others. Certain ones like “Daily Healer” require players to purposefully suck at events just so the NPC’s will die (Daily Healer also happens to be the worst named achievement ever. At first I thought I had to, I dunno, heal other players. That would have been really cool. But no, I have to res stupid NPC’s after I watch them die. Silly). As cool as it is to teach players they can res other players and npc’s the practical nature of completing this achievement ruins any potential good it could have done for the community.

Some of the current ones really get me excited though. Aquatic kills gives players a reason to dive into the depths of Tyria. Dodges are dragging players kicking and screaming into the way Guild Wars 2 does combat. Even Daily Crafter is nice because it rewards what is normally a pretty easy to forget about part of the game.

It’s also clear from the two weeks this system has been in place that it’s not near big enough to keep me interested for more than a few more weeks. I have friends who are already parking characters underwater for the days it matters. I think we may see a few more before the next patch, but it’s probably safe to assume they won’t be groundbreaking. ArenaNet already confirmed that until players can chose the achievements they want we won’t see anything that they feel certain players won't like.

The Future

That brings me to why I’m so excited for the February patch. The ability for ArenaNet to give us a list of 6 categories and allow players to complete any 4 means they can start being incredibly creative. Some things they’ve hinted at include jumping puzzle achievements. They already did this with the monthly achievement and I think it caused a stir. ArenaNet knows the jumping puzzles are some of the more unique content in the game, and getting to highlight it is something they have wanted to do for a long time.

What the future of dailies should look like is ArenaNet getting to highlight areas of the game that are being under appreciated. They can make achievements for killing a dragon. Imagine the rush on Sparkfly fen, Frostgorge, and Blazeridge. What about a daily achievement for killing Centaurs. Imagine the rush on Kryta. ArenaNet is already using living story to get players into the same zones, the daily system will ensure they can do this every day for the life of the game.

The biggest thing I’ve missed since launch is that feeling that other players are always around me in PvE. After leveling a few alts through some of the sparser populated zones and just not enjoying myself as much as I did when other players were around to spontaneously help with events. Even with the limited daily system current in place i’ve seen an increase in player mobility in the world. There is quite simply more reasons to be more places. Part of this ties into the rescaled loot tables and living story, but I think the dailies play a part in that as well.

I think it’s clear that ArenaNet is actively trying to find ways to bring players in PvE together. The future of the daily system will be crucial to ensuring that players are brought together naturally around content in the world. It will also create a platform that ArenaNet can use to shepherd players towards areas of the game that are being neglected. Creating a smart and dynamic daily system is one huge step in the right direction, and one I can’t wait to see more of.

What are some future daily achievements you would like to see ArenaNet try out?

Rifa Black
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Killing  a dragon is definitely an exciting feature they can add to dailies, but i think for the ease of low level players since the lowest level dragon is 55, they could make the achievement of "killing daily World Boss" like Shadow Behemot, Hydro Queen, etc. 

100% Glass Canon - Shoot first, ask questions later.

chaosgyro
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The sky is really the limit for what the new daily categories can be, but I do hope that they don't become a focus of play.  It's cool to think of ways the achievements can cajole players to go to different zones, but I'd rather ANet work on better scaling, loot, waypoint, and story mechanics rather than give flat incentives.

I also look forward to opting out of "healer" and "dodger".  Finding enough dead npcs/players can be a headache if I want the achievement on a character that hasn't unlocked Thaumanova yet, and I usually dodge for position and kiting rather than to avoid specific attacks - I'm just not that good at timing it so I simply dodge out of range (or around the side) for a bit until it's safe again.  

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