If you’re an XBox LIVE junkie then you’re probably used to that phrase, but to someone like myself (read: doesn’t have an XBox) the achievement system is a whole new world.

Starcraft was a great game back in 1999. I was in high school and the single player campaign was great; multi player however, was brutal. My first game online put me up against a couple douches who broke alliances and “schooled me”. The only other thing left to do with Starcraft/Brood War was to play with friends on a LAN, where a similar skill level and A.I. opponents made the experience enjoyable.

Starcraft 2 not only has better online play with good matchmaking methods and relatively fair ranking, but it includes an achievement system. Achievements are like a good book that you can’t put down; you just have to keep going.
I’m not completely aware of how avatars work on other achievement heavy platforms, but in Starcraft 2 they have created a system where you have to earn your avatar. Avatars or Portraits in Starcraft 2 are awarded after a related series of achievements are unlocked.

Tonight I unlocked an achievement that was the last in a set of challenge missions where the reward is a portrait of a Spectre. I had to attempt the 15 minute long mission almost a dozen times since last Friday. After earning this achievement I realized just how hooked I was. I had poured a huge amount of time into this one challenge and ended up being a quicker if not better player for it (the goal was a time limit).

I did not do it alone however. There are several techniques in Starcraft 2 that are not immediately apparent. PsyStarcraft over on YouTube has a playlist showing you how to tackle the challenge missions and it were a great help when trying to complete the last handful of challenge mission achievements. Thanks Psy! I feel like I need to mention that these videos are not a series of “Stand here and do this and you won’t die. Then shoot them for 10 minutes and voila! You get gold!” type videos. They are deep, analytical looks at how to improve you game. Check them out!