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…Achievement Farming Servers are lame?

TF2 Pyro

Call me an online gaming Newbie, but the concept of an Achievement Farming Server was news to me.

For those of you in the same boat, let me explain: In certain games like Team Fortress 2, items and weapons are unlocked only after a player achieves a certain number of achievements (milestones that mark goals or difficult tasks within the game). For those that can’t just wait to play through the game and earn the achievements like a normal player, Achievement Servers get set up with the express purpose of unlocking certain achievements for everyone playing.

Thus, though there might be two different teams playing, everyone is basically on the same team, and working together to earn achievements.

Need to kill 10 guys in 30 seconds?

Though this might be a tough task on a regular server, it’s easy on an Achievement Server when you have 10 volunteers join one team and then just stand still in a single spot while players on the opposing team take turns slaughtering the 10 opponents in one fell swoop like some sort of communal firing squad. Then, once everyone from one team unlocks that particular achievement, the roles are reversed, and it’s the next team’s turn.

Seem a little…unfair?

I thought so too, but apparently these types of servers are pretty common for games like TF2, as players are anxious to ‘earn’ their new toys and try them out.

Click the link to follow one man as he journeys through an Achievement Server for the first time, and witnesses the power, and the shame, of Achievement Servers firsthand.

[Rock, Paper, Shotgun – Pyro Maniacs: Achieving Nothing In TF2]

…Games are mysterious?

Super Mario Warp Whistle

For some video games, semi-secret items are a way of rewarding players that are advanced enough to find them. For others, their secret items are so hidden that only by chance can you stumble upon them, and even then, you’re often left with an item that has little value beyond ‘Hey, look what I found!”

Why then do designers spend the time to code in these secret mysteries?

According to Gamasutra, it’s a way of lending the game a certain quality, called “verisimilitude, where it “seems like there is a world outside the borders of the screen, happening regardless of what the player does. It implies the existence of a fully-fleshed world” and “it allows a game to better enable the player to forget that it is, really, just a game”.

To prove their point, they have put together a fantastic list of 20 Mysterious Games, including the reason for the secret inclusion, the design of the game itself, and the design lesson that the game can teach future designers.

It’s definitely a trip down memory lane for anyone that has been gaming for some time, and it does give you a new appreciation for the dark arts of video game design, so definitely check it out.

[Gamasutra – Game Design Essentials: 20 Mysterious Games]

[Via: Kotaku]