Achievements are a hot topic in the gaming industry. Player feelings toward them range from obsession to indifference and designers seem equally torn over their use. Controversial or not, achievements appear to be here to stay, so designers need to learn to utilize them to their fullest potential. Achievements, if they are intended to have a positive effect on players, must be a forethought, and not an afterthought, during the game design process.
In many cases they are carelessly tacked on to a game after it is already close to completion. Unfortunately, the benefits of a carefully-crafted game mechanic can be undermined by attaching a poorly-designed achievement to it.