Leveling up your characters in Guild Wars 2 is only one form of advancement. There’s also your score, which tracks all manner of things you’ve done with all your characters, broken down into categories of achievements: crafting, combat, PvP, fashion, exploration, and so forth. The score doesn’t mean anything, but it’s a helpful way to compare how much you’ve played compared to your friends. For instance, Jason McMaster has 1078 points. I have 1226, thanks in part to the careful application of a flamethrower. I rest my case.
One of the cool things about events like the ongoing Dragon Bash is that the points system — known in some circles as achievement whoring, but there’s no need to be nasty about it — is used to encourage us to do stuff related to the event. For instance, I’ve been gathering all this taffy that gives me a brief boost if I eat it. Big whoop. Frankly, I can’t be bothered. So I’m sitting on about a hundred pieces of taffy that I might as well throw away.
Oh, look, there’s an achievement for eating the taffy. I might as well start pounding it down. After about ten pieces of the dragon-themed candy, the above screenshot ensues. Pretty sneaky, ArenaNet. Also realistic.
My favorite instance of overindulgence gimmicks in an MMO was in Lord of the Rings Online. Turbine tried mightily to make player housing and guild housing relevant. Among their attempts was furniture and trophies you could use in the instanced housing. Such as the keg someone put in our guild’s house. It had a warning label on it that basically said the ale in the keg was too powerful and you therefore shouldn’t drink it. “Seriously,” it suggested, “just don’t!” So, naturally, you drank it. At which point you were teleported to a random location and told that you didn’t remember anything that had happened. This triggered a cute Hangover style quest in which you talked to various people to piece together what you’d done during your blackout.
But my favorite part of the gimmick was that when you were teleported to the random location, you appeared without your pants on. But not to worry! You hadn’t lost your Reinforced Mithril Britches of Budgeford! They were safe in your inventory.
UPDATE: After finishing off all my taffy and vomiting a few more times, my score is now up to 1228. Jason McMaster’s score is still only 1078.