Editorials

Boon or Bust: The Daily and Monthly Achievement Changes

Over the past two years, the achievement systems of Guild Wars 2 have received a number of updates that improve both player participation and the rewards earned through achievement completion. The changes made with the Wintersday patch focused solely on daily and monthly achievements, which fundamentally overhauled how they will work for the foreseeable future.

Daily Achievements

The New Daily Meta Achievement

Boons:

  • Only three individual daily achievements are required to complete the entire daily meta achievement. This is down from the previous five.
  • Completing the daily meta now rewards the player with ten achievement points upon completion. Prior to the patch, players were awarded achievement points individually after an achievement was completed. Players could collect all twelve by doing every achievement, but many just stopped at five to get the daily meta reward chest.
  • The monthly and daily achievement point cap pools are now merged. This allows players to earn up to 15,000 achievement points through daily achievement completion.
  • With achievement points connected to the daily meta instead of the individual achievements, each achievement now awards the player with extra loot chests.
  • The contents of the loot chests are thematically connected to what the player did to complete the achievement. (Example: If you complete a daily miner achievement, your loot chest will contain various metal crafting materials in addition to some experience and karma)
  • Players can complete any combination of three PvE, PvP, or WvW daily achievements to complete the meta achievement.
  • Many of the new dailies direct players to specific regions or zones in an attempt to draw players to the lesser visited places in Tyria.

Busts:

  • Daily achievements are more specific than before, often requiring players to switch characters, zones, or be within certain level ranges to complete them, making the daily meta impossible to complete through natural gameplay.
  • Zone-specific achievements often flood zones with players, sometimes making it difficult to hunt down events before they’re completed.
  • Each play-style category has four achievements. Players who tend to focus on one aspect like PvE or PvP are limited in their options, especially if they don’t have certain zones, Fractal levels, or crafting levels unlocked (with exception of “Luck Crafting”, which can be found under “Refinement” in the Artificer crafting profession).

Monthly Achievements Login Rewards

So. Many. Shinies.

Boons:

  • Monthly achievements have been replaced by login rewards.
  • Login rewards only require the player to log into the game each day and claim the reward.
  • If the player misses a day, the reward calendar picks up again the next time the player logs in. This “reward calendar” resets after twenty-eight daily logins. This way, it centers on every players’ own schedule.
  • The combined rewards are significantly greater than the original monthly achievement’s rewards.
  • Did I mention that all you have to do is login to get them?
  • ????
  • Profit

Busts:

  • Login rewards only require the player to log into the game each day and claim the reward.
    • While this is also listed under boons, it could be argued that monthly achievements have been reduced to handouts, rather than something that is earned.

Verdict

ArenaNet appears content to throw even more treasure at us for logging in and playing their game, which I’m sure no one (at least those of us who like shiny things) is complaining about. In addition to the boosted rewards, the developers are designing these systems to center around a player’s schedule and their access to free time. Login rewards are completed on the player’s watch while the Daily Achievement Meta takes fewer individual achievements and overall less time to complete. These are the big wins of the update, and nearly distract us from where the feature falls a little short.

There are only four achievements for each play style section and those achievements are sometimes gated behind zone, region, or skill leveling requirements (Fractals and crafting), which only serves to restrict the player and punishes newer players. This is the major drawback for the new daily achievements, which, in their current state, feel more like “daily challenges.”
The new Login Rewards system has the benefit of being so user-friendly and rewarding that there isn’t much to criticize. Sure, replacing the monthly achievement system may have, in principle, trivialized the work people have done in the past for monthly achievements, and I can understand that. However, players are not going to turn down something that ultimately saves them time and rewards them more than the previous system. I think ArenaNet was betting on that outcome and rightfully so.

What do these changes mean, though? Obviously, they were ultimately designed for the player’s ease-of-use and fiscal benefit, but, like most feature updates, there are probably multiple motivations. I’d be lying if I said part of me didn’t feel like this wasn’t a ploy to try and pull in the players who’re burnt out, or those who login in for Living Story updates, play the story content, and then leave (in addition to players who simply don’t have the time). It’s an enticing and rewarding remedy for people who, previously, weren’t interested in grinding out daily and monthly achievements between LS chapter releases. One could argue that it’s just temporary distraction, one of many (albeit a pretty beneficial one), for the growing elephant in the room:

What is the future of Guild Wars 2?

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