There was an article in Game Informer this month about how Sony and Nintendo need to add an Achievement like system to their consoles, because it’s an extremely addictive tool to keep people coming back to the console, to brag to your friends, etc. They have a point about the power of being able to show of your accomplishments to the world, but a raw scale of achievement points may not be the best way to show this off. 

In Tagon’s Toughs on TDZK, we have a Ribbon/Medal system. When someone does particularly well, or reaches some high goal they get a ribbon on their player tag. It gives visible bragging rights that they can show off to the other players in the game, and gives a sense of accomplishment to start filling up your tag with medals. 

Resistance: Fall of Man has a very similar system. When you do certain things inside of a multiplayer game, you get a ribbon for it. You get a headshot? Ribbon. 3 kills without dying? Ribbon. All of these show up on your player screen with a count, and you can scroll through them and see what each ribbon is for. This is the start of a really good way to promote more playing, and get people working towards goals. Just open it up to more games, setup some prioritizing, and make it so you can look at your friends ribbons, random people you meet, look at the top scoreboards for a game and bring up their profile, etc. It has precedent too. Military organizations use similar things to encourage their troops. That is, after all, where Tagon’s Toughs and RFOM got it from.

Condensing achievements down to a single point scale makes it too easy to game around the system and use cheap means to gain lots of points. You can grab some cheesy arcade game and soar up in points because of it. It’s better to have it so people compete for these medals without going for them solely for competing on a single scoreboard across all games. I think a visible ribbon system where you can see a string of ribbons on someone’s avatar would be a more visually interesting way of setting these up and would give a leg-up on the competition.