I've written about the problems of Free-to-Play games frequently. For achievement-hunters, one of the biggest problems is that of course free-to-play games shut their servers down, eventually, and when they do, the achievements become discontinued--unavailable to any gamer who hadn't earned them prior to the shutdown.
While Free-to-Play games are the largest culprit, they are hardly the only ones. In one high-profile example, we had a long standing fight with EA about their continual shutdown of annual installment sports series. As the games became more "online" focused they had more and more online requirements for the achievements, and those servers don't pay for themselves, so eventually EA will shut them down as well. Perpetual online servers are unsustainable, no matter what Blizzard manages to do.
Discontinued achievements are also not a new topic for this blog, they are a sore spot for me and will likely continue to come up. But my recent efforts in Marvel Heroes Omega
got me thinking about the process I go through after a server-shutdown is announced and how that dictates my gaming.
For Marvel Heroes, it worked out, kind of. I earned every achievement that I possibly could. The only achievement left for me in the game is the one they broke with a title update and never had a chance to fix. But now comes the difficult question. Was this a victory? Or a defeat? Surely, a victory. I did everything I could. And I even had a decently fun time doing it. But the truth is that it feels like a defeat because the game remains non-completed. Beyonder is my first genuinely discontinued Xbox One achievement. I have a few that are Unobtainable, but so far in the Xbox One chase, I'd caught them all--or they came back, as Killer Instinct's achievements did. It also feels like a defeat because, though I had some fun doing it, I was driven to achieve. It was a compulsion, not an actual desire from something within me. I did make a choice, but it was heavily influenced by forces outside of me.
I think these have gotten more frequent as well, though the server shutdowns are not. It may just be that I'm playing more games that have these problems, or I'm noticing it more now that I'm a more active achievement-hunter.
Some games where I have chased servers, and the end result.
We had a bit of a scare with this one and I got it right away. Then it did go down for good it seems. 100% online done, still need to finish the SP.Madden NFL 13
This one is a bit of a stretch in that I did finish it prior to the shutdown announcement, but I was motivated to get it done by the fact that an announcement was going to happen, so when a good opportunity arose, I took it. And the race finished about a month before the announcement dropped. 100% online done, still need to finish the SP.FIFA 12
This one already had at least some discontinued achievements by the time I got to the server shutdown chase. As a result I wasn't committed to going for 100%, even 100% of the remaining. So it was a chill chase. Even still I earned all but 3 of the achievements I could, and those 3 were just too much of a grind to be worth it. Not even close to 100%.Xbox Fitness
This was probably THE big grind of 2016-2017. They gave us a year's notice, and I needed basically every minute of that as I attempted to "climb" 100,000 meters. 100% through and through.
2016Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes - 2.0 Edition
Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition
Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition (Win 10)
All of the Disney Infinity servers went down in March, but most of my chase was in 2016 when the announcements came. Some were already done, such as the original Disney Infinity, but there was definitely some scramble here from me to get it done, particularly in 3.0 for the One, where the Arcade Ace was a pain, and I had to get it multiple times. All of the online is done for the series, but I have a bunch of MP to cleanup.Project Spark (Win 8)
Most of the Project Spark Chase was actually in 2015 for the GTASC, but I finalized it in the downtime after that contest in January 2016, well in advance of the server shutdown. 100% done on both platforms.
2015World Series of Poker: Full House Pro
Possibly my best chronicled server chase. Like Marvel Heroes Omega, it ended with a single missed achievement, despite my actually doing everything that was possible.Spartacus Legends
A surprisingly less painful grind than I had any reason to expect. Still not a good game. 100% done.
2014Ascend: Hand of Kul
One of my very first server chases, it showed how oddly I was willing to behave to ensure that I earned the achievements before they disappeared. 100% done.Karaoke Achievements
This one is particularly odd because I didn't even start it until after the shutdown notice came. Why not just leave it alone? Because I could start it and finish it in the time period, and because it was free GamerScore. Somewhere, my wife still has video of me playing this game in her "blackmail" folder. 100% done.
Really, it's just a matter of finding out which games will be the server chase in 2018. Lies of Astraoth? AirMech Arena? Neverwinter (with Perfect World shutting down Gigantic and Runic, this is very possible). How about Happy Wars/Dungeons? World of Tanks--they're in some hot water after their latest cash grab efforts. So, it's not whether they'll be a chase... it's what I'm going to be chasing.