High-scores are adaptive creatures. They diminished in importance for a while, back when arcades were dwindling but home consoles/computers were isolated, offline devices, but with the rise and rise of broadband reinstating gaming’s social heritage, folks’ odd obsession with proving themselves more skilled than friends and strangers has come back with a vengeance.
So it’s no surprise that Blizzard, who are either the Apple or Microsoft of gaming depending on how you look at it, would get in on gamerscore mania.
There were already rumours that WoW: Wrath of the Lich King would include an Achievement system, but it turns out it’s wider than that. Achievements will be tracked across WoTLK, Starcraft II and Diablo III, and pooled into an overall Blizzard account.
Why? For the same reason as MS Gamerpoints or Steam Achievements (unlockables aside) – willy-waving. Blizzard seem to think they can make something a bit more out of it, however – “Rather than call it a ‘score’, we just wanted it to be like you’re levelling up on Blizzard games”, WoW lead Jeff Kaplan told MTV.
Which begs the question of if and when all these different splinter cells of gamer scores will become too numerous. Can a player maintain his level of interest in the intangible number attached to his name if he’s also working on three or four others at the same time?