Multiplayer madness: 25 obnoxious online achievements that ask way too much of players

By Luke Albigés,
We recently covered some of the more infamous types of achievements — horrible grinds and luck-based lunacy — and now, it's time to turn our attention to another achievement archetype that can get in the bin. Online achievements have always been a pain, not least because they can give games a finite shelf life, often rendering a completion impossible once the team decides it's time to flip the switch and shut down the servers. But even before that point, there's the fact that a lot of online achievements simply aren't fun. Whether it's grinding out kills or wins to hit an arbitrary milestone, relying on other players to not let the side down, or slowly working your way up leaderboards for minimal gain, many of us roll our eyes when we see that a game has online achievements, and it's rare that developers manage to get these things right. For your reading (dis)pleasure, here are a selection of the worst offenders in terms of online achievements — if you've unlocked any of these, we salute you and your commitment to the cause.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter ~ HeroArt

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced WarfighterSolo champion (Multiplayer)The Solo champion (Multiplayer) achievement in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter worth 894 pointsClimb to the top of the solo leaderboard

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced WarfighterTeam champion (Multiplayer)The Team champion (Multiplayer) achievement in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter worth 939 pointsClimb to the top of the team leaderboard

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced WarfighterWorld Champion (Multiplayer)The World Champion (Multiplayer) achievement in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter worth 1143 pointsClimb to the top of the universal leaderboard

It'd be wrong to lead with anything other than this terrible trio from Ubisoft's early Xbox 360 Clancy effort, so here they are. Achievements were still a pretty new concept at the time and developers were still finding their feet in terms of the kind of things that would (and would not) work well with Gamerscore rewards attached to them. Amazingly, Ubisoft managed to find pretty much the worst such thing, and then did it three damn times. Even just one achievement tied to making it to the very top of the global leaderboards would be gross — as previously seen with Number One in 360 launch title, Quake 4 — so you can only admire Ubisoft's flagrant disregard for completionists' time and sanity in tripling down on this hot nonsense. As is so often the case, these only got harder to earn as time went on, with blocker accounts making them almost impossible to earn legitimately. Just looking at the solutions here on TA is a wild ride, with complex calculations and multi-box boosting chatter aplenty. While online achievements are generally pretty nasty, they don't come much worse than these... right?


Fight Night Round 4

Fight Night Round 4

Fight Night Round 4LThe L achievement in Fight Night Round 4 worth 267 pointsWin the Lightweight Championship Belt in Online World Championship Mode.

Fight Night Round 4XLThe XL achievement in Fight Night Round 4 worth 521 pointsWin the Middleweight Championship Belt in Online World Championship Mode.

Fight Night Round 4XXLThe XXL achievement in Fight Night Round 4 worth 800 pointsWin the Heavyweight Championship Belt in Online World Championship Mode.

Oh. Oh no. Another gruesome threesome here courtesy of EA, with three online title belts for Fight Night Round 4 that could only be held by a single player at any given time. Wait, could? Past tense? Yes, sadly so — Fight Night Round 4's servers closed down in 2020, retiring these belts and achievements (as well as four others) in the process. New players will never know the hardships of trying to claim one of these elusive title belts, and while some lucky folks managed to pick these up by having a generous champion give them a title shot then take a dive, a lot of hapless heavyweights had to do this the hard way and boost for weeks. As with the Ghost Recon trio, just reading about the lengths some people had to go to in order to claim these belts gives us the fear, and while it's disappointing to see this completion become just another for the Sports Game Graveyard, it's almost worth it to know that these horrible achievements are dead and can't hurt anyone any more.

Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2Secret AchievementThe Secret Achievement achievement in Lost Planet 2 worth 1195 pointsContinue playing to unlock this secret achievement

Capcom's over-the-top shooter must have a season ticket for articles like these — it's not the first time it's come up, and it sure as hell won't be the last. This horrendous grind involves getting hold of not only every weapon and ability in the game, but also every single title... and there are hundreds of the damn things. Noms de Guerre (to give the titles their proper name) are locked behind all kinds of content and challenges, including a bunch tied to the game's online component. These tasks range from the standard (100 kills) to the bizarre (a full hour spent in voice chat) to the plain rude (30 consecutive wins), but the worst of the lot have to be the 'TOP 10' and 'NUMBER 1' titles. As the names suggest, these can only be earned by reaching the top of the time trial leaderboards... yeah, good luck with that. Oh, and there are a bunch of actual online achievements as well (play 500 matches, get 1,000 kills, etc.), making this a completion that only the brave and/or stupid should even consider going for.

The Elder Scrolls Online

Summerset

The Elder Scrolls OnlineEmperor!The Emperor! achievement in The Elder Scrolls Online worth 1729 pointsDominate the Alliance War battlefield and become Emperor of Tamriel. Long may you reign!

Over to Tom for this one, because the mad lad only went and actually did it: "Becoming an Emperor is no easy feat, and that goes for this achievement in The Elder Scrolls Online, too. To pull off this challenge, you’ll need to be at the top of your Alliance’s leaderboard when you have taken all six keeps that surround the Imperial City, in the center of the map. The problem is, everyone on the leaderboard is another player hungry for the throne, so competition is fierce. It took me around two months to unlock this achievement, which required me to play five hours a day, every day, just to keep up with the top scorers. It’s quite the slog, but with the limited amount of PvP campaigns now in the game, you do stand a chance to meet to some great people along the way... and to make a few enemies." All hail Emperor Tom!

Gears 5

Gears 5 Operation 6 Drop 2 new characters, map and no new achievements.

Gears 5Re-Up MasteryThe Re-Up Mastery achievement in Gears 5 worth 830 pointsReach Re-Up 60

When the concept of being able to 'prestige' in online games to reset your progress first came into being, it was the kind of thing where even doing so just once or twice would be enough to cement yourself as one of the hardcore elite. Trust a Gears achievement list, then, to ask players to do it 60 times. Recent Gears games are no strangers to grim online achievements, so you could comfortably sub this one out for whichever you feel to be more egregious. Naturally, the amount of XP needed to recover your forsaken progress increases each time you Re-Up — it'll take more than 14 million XP to get to 50 Re-Ups, but then a further 8 million XP just to grind out those final ten for this achievement. This one was added with Operation 8, and judging by its 1.5/5 TA rating, you lot have apparently had your fill of Gears' utterly absurd achievement requirements.

Paladins: Champions of the Realm

Paladins

Paladins: Champions of the RealmPinnacleThe Pinnacle achievement in Paladins: Champions of the Realm worth 681 pointsReach Master in Ranked

Team-based competitive games are always hard work if you don't have a regular crew of capable players backing you up, as coordination and synergy are essential, and jumping into ranked games with randoms will always be an absolute crapshoot. Much like Overwatch — which has its own stacked list of situational online achievements, some of which are painful — you're going to want some solid support if you plan on rising through the ranks in Paladins and making it all the way through the Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond divisions (each with five sub-divisions, naturally) to reach Master. It's going to take a lot of patience and skill to climb to the top, not least since your favourite Champions might be banned or snapped up by other players, leading to games where you're lumbered with a character or role you're not so comfortable with. Making it to Master without turning toxic is the real achievement here.

Fortnite

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FortnitePlays Well with OthersThe Plays Well with Others achievement in Fortnite worth 1212 pointsComplete 1,000 Play With Others missions

This 'do the thing an unnecessary amount of times' achievement is just one of many on Fortnite's daunting list, all of which are tied to the cooperative Save the World mode — Battle Royale doesn't have any achievements. This one would have you join other players' activities and work alongside them to win a whopping 1,000 times, but you'd probably end up jumping into way more sessions than that anyway as you grind out the 1,500 full zone explorations, 10,000 rescues, 20,000 Mist Monster kills, and half a million builds you need for some of the other achievements. These crazy cumulatives are by far the rarest unlocks in all of Fortnite, with only a few hundred tracked players here on TA with each, from a player base of over 125,000. The grind is so, so real.

Fight Night Champion

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Fight Night ChampionSquat ThrustingThe Squat Thrusting achievement in Fight Night Champion worth 5087 pointsObtain boxer level 60 in OWC

If you thought that EA might have learned a lesson about online achievements after the horrors of Fight Night Round 4, you'd be dead wrong. We'd also question whether you had even played an EA Sports game recently, as they tend to be loaded with the pesky things. While perhaps not quite as mean as making the entire online player base fight over three unique title belts, Champion has four of its own awkward online achievements. These are awarded for reaching levels 15, 30, 45, and finally 60 in the Online World Championship mode, but the ranking system is remarkably swingy and it only takes a short losing streak to see yourself tumble back down the ladder. A mere 33 TA users managed to make it all the way to level 60, but even the lower tier ones are exceptionally rare — less than 500 tracked players (out of almost 75,000) even made it as far as level 15, let alone any further.

Splitgate

Splitgate

Splitgate1047The 1047 achievement in Splitgate worth 4682 pointsWin 1,047 matches

Another repeat offender now, as this exact achievement also turned up on our rundown of horribly grindy achievements, but how could it not? While it's clearly supposed to be a playful reference to the developer's name, there's nothing fun or clever about simply demanding that players grind out over 1,000 wins in an online shooter. Since this achievement's last appearance, some of you have clearly been extremely busy splitting gates — a grand total of seven TA users now have this achievement unlocked. The first unlock came some three weeks after release, which would have meant True Veteran had to knock out an average of almost 60 wins per day, every day, to get the first completion. That's... a lot of Splitgate.

Grand Theft Auto V

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Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox One)MastermindsThe Masterminds achievement in Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox One) worth 1412 pointsGTA Online: Complete all 3 Criminal Mastermind challenges in The Doomsday Heist.

Achievements that require clean runs of difficult content will usually be tricky, but it gets even worse when you have to rely on others to be at the top of their game as well. This little bugger asks GTA Online players to buddy up and finish three deathless runs of The Doomsday Heist on Hard mode, with a two-, three-, and four-person crew. You need to work through these one at a time else you can lose progress (which can apparently happen anyway, if and when the game just decides you should lose your progress), and while you can take your time with it, you do need to stick with the same crew for the duration, and make sure nobody goes down during key parts of the heist. While it's not exactly forgiving, that three-person variant is a bit of a kick in the teeth — you can easily split a quartet down the middle or merge two pairs for the others, but this one means that someone is always going to be left out and you'll actually need to do the three-player version twice if you want your whole crew to pop this achievement. There are a bunch of optional challenges to complete along the way as well (which will earn you Elitist), but since doing these on Hard is just making life more difficult for yourself, you might want to smash that out on Normal first as a dummy run for this achievement.

Elite: Dangerous

Elite: Dangeous

Elite: DangerousSecret AchievementThe Secret Achievement achievement in Elite: Dangerous worth 702 pointsContinue playing to unlock this secret achievement

CQC is Elite: Dangerous' version of traditional multiplayer, with Deathmatch, TDM, and Capture the Flag modes available. Unfortunately, some of these aren't especially popular, so you may find that in going for this achievement — or any of the other CQC ones, including one for 250 wins — you'd spend longer looking for matches than actually playing them, unless you can get a boosting session going. We have to wonder whether developers intentionally chuck in online achievements like these just to try and keep the online player base at least slightly active, but either way, it's not a great look to have a ton of achievements locked behind modes that nobody wants to play...

NBA 2K16

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NBA 2K16PerfectionThe Perfection achievement in NBA 2K16 worth 1483 pointsWin all 10 games of 'Greatest of All-Time' in Play Now Online.

Ranking systems come in all shapes and sizes, but this one was just plain mean. There's that past tense again, and for the same reason as before — the servers shut down several years ago, discontinuing this achievement along with close to half of the game's list. NBA 2K16's Play Now Online mode consisted of ten divisions, each hosting ten qualifying matches. To earn promotion to the next tier, you had to win at least eight of those games, but losing three would see you demoted to the lower division. If you wanted this achievement, you needed to somehow avoid getting stomped by god-tier ballers long enough to reach the top flight of the G.O.A.T. division, where all leniency went out the window and ten wins were needed to scoop this prize. Only 111 TA players ever managed this. There was one slight saving grace, however, in that using a weaker team against a better one could allow wins to count double or even triple, giving skilled players who didn't mind repping the underdogs a little more leeway, as you could potentially reach that ten wins promotion threshold in as few as four or five victories. Still, no thanks.

Destiny

Destiny Age of Triumph Crota's End 10

DestinyFlawless RaiderThe Flawless Raider achievement in Destiny worth 248 pointsComplete a Raid without anyone in your fireteam dying.

If you thought that GTA Online one was nasty, you haven't seen anything yet, little light. Bungie saw fit to include an achievement for not just completing one of Destiny's challenging Raids, but doing so without a single player going down. This was extremely demanding around launch — you couldn't really outgear the Vault of Glass at the time — but did admittedly get a little easier as more Raid options came along, in particular the second Raid, Crota's End, which could comfortably be beaten with less than the 'required' Fireteam of six thanks to a few sneaky tricks. The main stumbling block here is just how many opportunities for failure there are in any given Raid. Blowing yourself up with a rocket sent straight into the back of a passing ally; taking a tumble during a devious jumping puzzle section; getting a surprise hug from an exploding enemy; falling foul of 'The Architects' for getting a little too friendly with the scenery... the list goes on. Just don't do any of those things (and make sure your friends don't either) and you'll unlock this. Dead easy, right?

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 (Win 10) Achievements

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 (Windows)Secret AchievementThe Secret Achievement achievement in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2 (Windows) worth 15 pointsContinue playing to unlock this secret achievement

Leaderboard achievements are always fun, so let's have another one. Well, another twelve, technically, since this nightmare of an achievement requires you to reach the top 1% of 12 different leaderboards — one for each of the game's factions. The single guide for this achievement describes at length the hardships you will face in chasing down this achievement, including a small player base, glitchy stat tracking, unreliable data, and more. Worse yet, the author notes that the achievement didn't even unlock despite having met the ridiculous conditions, so between that and the complete lack of tracked unlocks, it seems like it might be buggy, if not straight-up busted. Yikes. All that for 15G... hardly seems worth it, does it? Eidos: "Hold my beer."

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men

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Kane & Lynch: Dead MenTrue EliteThe True Elite achievement in Kane & Lynch: Dead Men worth 0 pointsPlay as Kane in Fragile Alliance.

Kane & Lynch: Dead MenCelebrityThe Celebrity achievement in Kane & Lynch: Dead Men worth 0 pointsPlay as Lynch in Fragile Alliance.

What an absolute doozy this pair is. IOI saw fit to gate the dubious privilege of being able to play as the cover stars of this maligned shooter in multiplayer behind having the top two positions on the game's online leaderboards, even going as far as including two 0G achievements for earning and exercising this right. Unsurprisingly, leaderboard blockers quickly sprung up and made these achievements all but impossible to unlock — this thread (which is a fascinating read in its own right) has been keeping tabs on the state of the leaderboards for the last five years, with a recent post suggesting that boosting this today would likely require as many as 200 Gamertags. We're not sure what's more surprising: the fact that the leaderboards are still live for this heinous mess, that people are still actively blocking the top spots almost 15 years later, or the lengths that some people seem willing to go to for a pair of 0G achievements.

Trove

Trove

TroveGlorious GladiatorThe Glorious Gladiator achievement in Trove worth 1181 pointsYou have walked the fields of battle, and proven your worth

There's no shortage of stuff to do in this popular sandbox MMO, but it's not something a lot of people play for its PvP offerings. This one has a pair of unlock conditions to make it a little easier, but it's still a grind whether you aim to reach level 50 or go for the 500 kills in the more recently added Bomber Royale mode. Reports suggest the latter is probably the quicker of the two options, although making canny use of timed XP boosts for the former would probably make it a pretty close race. Either way, you're looking at 25+ hours of poor PvP just for this one achievement, and less than 150 people here on TA (out of over 80,000) have bothered. Trove does have some pretty spicy ratios up for grabs, mind, but like this one, some of them are going to be a whole lot of no fun, so good luck with that...

The Crew

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The CrewSecret AchievementThe Secret Achievement achievement in The Crew worth 50 pointsContinue playing to unlock this secret achievement

In theory, simply encountering a bunch of other racers in a big ol' online game like The Crew shouldn't be a problem. Well, not when the game is still active, at least — a combination of a superior sequel and the fact that the game was just sort of terrible anyway has seen the player base dwindle to the point that this would be a nightmare to try and unlock fresh today. Compounding this is the fact that multiple reports here on TA suggest that the actual target is closer to 5,000 than the listed 2,000, with one user saying it took over 8,500 other tags to get this to register. Three players did manage to unlock this seemingly misleading achievement just last month, so it seems like it is still possible, although you would likely need to have already met a bunch of players while the game was still relatively active to prevent this from being a total chore.

Aliens: Fireteam Elite

aliens fireteam elite review

Aliens: Fireteam EliteReticulum Theater MedalThe Reticulum Theater Medal achievement in Aliens: Fireteam Elite worth 694 pointsFinish all Campaigns on Insane Difficulty.

An interesting example now, as this one isn't technically an online achievement, but it might as well be. While the game lays on a pair of AI buddies if you don't have any co-op partners, they're utter garbage and can barely hold their own in lower difficulty content. No, you'll need a full squad of three human marines to even attempt this, and you'll likely want all of the top-tier gear you can carry. Only eight players on TA have unlocked My Kind of Crazy for beating a single mission on Insane difficulty, but nobody has managed to do the full set of campaigns and grab this one yet — seems like it's only a matter of time, although this isn't one for the faint of heart.

Verdun

Screenshot Saturday 4/3/17

VerdunWar is better with friends IVThe War is better with friends IV achievement in Verdun worth 519 pointsGain 250k co-op XP with a player

Online shooter Verdun has more than its fair share of nasty achievements, with the vast majority of the list unlocked by less than 10% of tracked players. As well as landing 5,000 headshots with that famously accurate WWI weaponry (which only 21 tracked players have done), you'll need to buddy up with another player for a cheeky 150 hours or so and earn a quarter of a million XP together. Not only do you need to stick with the same partner for the entire grind, but you also need to be extremely careful to avoid potentially losing significant progress towards this ridiculous goal... which would suck, obviously. We salute the 22 TA war heroes who stuck this one out.

Neverwinter

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NeverwinterCapture VanguardThe Capture Vanguard achievement in Neverwinter worth 181 pointsCapture 500 capture points in PvP

Why does every MMO feel the need to shoehorn in a PvP component? It doesn't even make sense here — it's rare that heroic D&D adventurers ever come to blows with one another, after all — and as with so many similar competitive modes, a lot of players are likely only jumping in for a daily or weekly bonus, and probably don't even know that you typically need completely different builds and gear to be effective in PvP compared to regular PvE content. You need to be active in taking the 500 required capture points for this tedious achievement, and worse still, only progress in select maps/modes actually counts towards the goal. This was supposed to be a retroactive unlock when it was added in the Swords of Chult update, but we've seen multiple reports of players saying their progress was set to zero and they had to start from scratch, which is a critical fail if ever we saw one.

ENCORE: Fishing Planet

Fishing Planet

Fishing PlanetWinning StreakThe Winning Streak achievement in Fishing Planet worth 12779 pointsBe in a competition’s Top-3 winners 10 times in a row

We'll close out the list with another familiar fishy face, because it bears repeating just how stupid this achievement really is. The sheer randomness of fishing means that any kind of competitive aspect is never going to amount to much more than a roll of the dace, so asking for ten consecutive top competition finishes is simply absurd. A mere four players on TA have actually managed to complete this crazy win streak and earn the achievement, with its massive TA Ratio of 84 being among the highest of all obtainable achievements. You can set your sights on that prize all you like, but ultimately, your success or failure in earning it will lie in the laps of the fishing gods. Those sound like some pretty clammy laps, too, so you're probably better off just not bothering, to be honest.

If you're keen to find a group to help you bag any of these brutal online achievements, don't forget that you can swing by the Gaming Sessions page here on TA to find or create sessions where you can work towards these (or indeed any other) achievements with like-minded players. And as before, we'd love to hear your thoughts on both article and topic, as well as for you to continue the conversation down in the comments. We're looking forward to seeing what kind of odious online offerings y'all can come up with to add to the list, so get involved!
Luke Albigés
Written by Luke Albigés
Luke runs the TA news team, contributing where he can primarily with reviews and other long-form features — crafts he has honed across two decades of print and online gaming media experience, having worked with the likes of gamesTM, Eurogamer, Play, Retro Gamer, Edge, and many more. He loves all things Monster Hunter, enjoys a good D&D session, and has played way too much Destiny.