I'm doing a pass through the game right now to make sure that we have enough cool stuff around to find and it got me thinking about ways to reward the player. I'm a firm believer that players who take the time to go off the crit path and explore the area should be rewarded. But, are in-game rewards enough these days?
I'm a big fan of Xbox Live Achievements because they give the player another reason to do things in your game that they may not have done otherwise. But, the most important thing Achievements do is allow a player to compare themselves with their friends in a public venue. I can easily pull up my buddy's Achievement list and see if I completed more of a game than he did or simply got a difficult Achievement that he was unable to get. Even if I can't get online with someone to play competitively, we can use this passive system to play on our own and still compete with each other. Brilliant.
But, do Achievements diminish the value of in-game rewards that we can offer players? Does the player get as much satisfaction from running around and collecting in game items if they don't get an Achievement for getting X number all of them? Do in-game rewards have to become more helpful to the gameplay experience itself in order to feel rewarding enough?
As we Design and develop video games these days, we always have Achievements in our mind and look for ways to ingrain them into the game better. I've even built gameplay segments purely because I felt there could be a cool achievement to get from completing. So, I think Achievements have forever changed the way some players feel rewarded. I guess the main question to ask is what percentage of players feel this way? Do you?