GamerSushi Asks: Achievements Hurting The Experience?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m an achievement whore. I get the biggest kick out of earning new rewards, trophies, unlockables, points, you name it. I’m not really sure what bone in my brown body makes me this way, but some primal and awful thing is triggered in my core when I see that “achievement unlocked” bumper accompanied with that sweet melodious noise. While I’m not as into trophies on the PS3, the principle is the same and I love accomplishing these goals.

However, lately I’ve been noticing the way developers are handling the doling out of these rewards, and it’s been a curious study. While early games of this generation were heavy on rewarding players with achievements based on a certain kind of behavior (be it in a solo or multiplayer setting), I’m noticing a new trend. Take Mass Effect 2, for example. The first game rewarded players for reaching certain good/evil (paragon and renegade, to be more precise) levels, while the sequel does not. Honestly, I’m finding that this makes for a better experience the second time around, as I’m not feeling like I have to always lean in one direction to be sure I don’t miss out on the achievement.

Likewise, multiplayer games are dropping the focus on weapon-based achievements (with the occasional ludicrous exception), and are leaning more towards gameplay and gametype exploits. I think one of the worst offenders of this early on was Gears of War, which offered achievements based on what weapons you killed with. This lead to irritating matches with people doing nothing but using one kind of weapon like the torque bow or the pistol, and lead to lots of grumbling when players couldn’t find the weapon they wanted. This is different than say, Left 4 Dead 2’s achievements which rewards playing as a team (spitting on somebody that is being smoked, etc).

So what about you guys? Do you find that this kind of design lends itself to better gameplay styles? Do you even care? Or am I just that much of an achievement nut?