Xbox Achievements: A Beginner’s Guide

Ben Stegner 05-02-2018

One of the biggest gaming changes of the past decade are Xbox achievements. These seemingly meaningless tasks carry serious weight among many gamers, allowing you to show off your skills to the world.


What are Xbox achievements, how do you earn them, and what are they for? We’ll answer all your questions and more as we explore them.

Xbox Achievement Basics

Xbox achievements are various goals included in almost every Xbox One and Xbox 360 game Best Games to Play on Your New Xbox One Got a new Xbox One and need some games? You're in luck. Here are the games to get you started, no matter what genres you like. Read More . They lay out specific tasks that you must complete to unlock them. Once earned, an achievement awards you with Gamerscore points, typically around 10. Your Gamerscore appears next to your Gamertag across Xbox Live and gives other players an idea of how many achievements you’ve earned.

Achievements are totally optional. You don’t have to worry about them to complete your game, and unlocking all of them doesn’t earn you anything special. Earning achievements is really only for your own enjoyment and bragging rights.

As you might know, achievements aren’t exclusive to Xbox. PlayStation has a near-identical feature known as Trophies The 7 Easiest PlayStation Platinum Trophies You Can Earn Want to earn some Platinum trophies without putting in the effort that some of the harder games? Here are seven games that will net you the easiest Platinums you can earn on the PSN! Read More , and Steam has its own achievement system.

Achievement Examples

It’s up to a game’s developer how many achievements it includes in a game. 50 is a common number, but some games include more or fewer.


In addition, the type of achievements can vary per game. Some games feature achievements for completing the main story and nothing else. Others have achievements that require you to explore or even beat the game several times.

Have a look at a few sample achievements from recent games:

  • Gasoline Cowboy (Call of Duty: WWII): Rescue your allies with the Sherman while keeping your armor above 80% in Collateral Damage.
  • Pacifist (Cuphead): Complete all levels without killing an enemy.
  • Sonic Blaster (Sonic Forces): Collected 10 Wispons.

It’s evident that going for achievements requires you to play in all sorts of different ways. Sometimes achievements are tied to finding secrets in-game, and other times they’re unrelated. Some games award an achievement for completing every stage, while others limit achievements to more difficult tasks.

If you love a particular game, it’s fun trying to earn all its achievements. But if you just want to increase your Gamerscore quickly, you’re better off playing Xbox games with easy achievements 6 Xbox One Games with Easy Achievements You Can Get Now Looking to earn some easy Gamerscore? These Xbox One games will send you shooting up the leaderboards. Read More .


Achievement Guides

When you decide you want to earn all the achievements in a game, you should start by checking out an achievement guide. The site Xbox Achievements is a fantastic resource for this. Search for a game, and you’ll likely find an Achievement Guide on its information page.

beginner's guide to xbox achievements

This is where other achievement hunters 13 Big Gaming Forums to Talk About Video Games Here are the biggest gaming forums where you can talk about video games to your heart's content. Read More outline what you’ll need to do in order to earn all the achievements for a game. The Overview section provides some essential info at a glance:

  • Estimated difficulty rates how tough it is to earn all achievements on a scale from 1-10.
  • Online achievements require you to play a multiplayer mode, so if the game’s servers are offline you won’t be able to earn those.
  • Check the estimated amount of time and minimum playthroughs to see how much of an investment earning all those achievements is.
  • Finally, missable achievements warn you of anything you can permanently miss. You’ll also see whether you must play on a certain difficulty to earn some achievements, and if any trophies are glitched.

Here, we can see an example overview for Assassin’s Creed Origins:


beginner's guide to xbox achievements

Below the overview is a roadmap and guide to earning all achievements. The roadmap serves as a basic set of steps you’ll need to complete everything. For instance, the guide might recommend beating the game on Hard to get the difficulty-related achievements, then replaying on Easy to pick up the collectibles.

Finally, you’ll see information on every achievement. Depending on the game, this could include information like the best time to earn it, pitfalls to watch for, and more.

Viewing Your Achievements

Your Xbox will pop up with quick message when you earn an achievement in-game. If you hold the Xbox button down when this shows, you can jump right to the information page for that achievement.


Any other time, you can easily view the achievements you’ve earned so far on your Xbox. This also lets you see how many other players have earned specific achievements, giving you an idea of how difficult they are.

beginner's guide to xbox achievements

To view your unlocked achievements, press the Xbox button to open the Guide and scroll to the tab with a trophy icon. Select See all my achievements and you’ll then see a list of your games and your achievement progress for each. Choose a game to view a list of achievements you’ve earned so far, as well as information on how you stack up to your friends for that game.

Each achievement shows when you unlocked it, how much Gamerscore it’s worth, and what percentage of players have earned that achievement. If you see a diamond icon next to an achievement, that means it’s rare because only a small percentage of players have earned it. And for achievements you haven’t unlocked yet, some games include a progress bar. This helps track your progress for achievements such as Kill 100 enemies with a shotgun.

If you’d rather, you can view your achievements on the web. Just sign into your Xbox account and visit the My Games page, then click the game you’d like to browse and select Achievements to see them.

Xbox Achievement Tracker

If you want to get serious 10 Useful Xbox One Settings You Should Know About Here are the most useful Xbox One settings you should know about to unlock new features and get more from your gaming console. Read More about your tracking, you should use the Xbox achievement tracker feature. This lets you follow along with your achievement progress as you play. To use it, first start up a game. Then, press the Xbox button to open the Guide and scroll over to the trophy tab.

Select Turn achievement tracker on. Next, you’ll need to choose a location on the screen. You can track between one and five achievements at a time, and adjust the transparency so it doesn’t interfere with your game. Hit Done and you’ll now have a handy tracker on-screen.

beginner's guide to xbox achievements

By default, the tracker will show the achievements that you’re closest to earning. If you’d rather show different ones, you can set them as your favorites. To do so, scroll back over to the trophy tab in the Guide.

You’ll see the name of the game you’re playing along with basic achievement progress. Select the game and you can browse a list of achievements you haven’t earned yet on the Locked tab. Highlight an achievement and tap X to add it to your favorites and move it to the top of the list.

Achievements and Xbox Rewards

The last important bit of information about achievements is that you can use them to earn rewards. Microsoft’s Xbox Live Rewards program (separate from Microsoft Rewards, formerly Bing Rewards What's Bing Rewards, How It Works, And What's New? The premise of Bing Rewards is that you can earn credits for searching with Bing. Read More ) lets you earn points for buying digital content, completing surveys, and other various tasks.

As you earn more Gamerscore through achievements, you’ll increase your tier and earn extra MyVIP Gems. You can use these Gems to earn prizes. Make sure you sign up for Xbox Live Rewards so you get recognized for your efforts.

Obviously you won’t make a living wage 6 Ways to Make Money Playing Video Games You can make money playing video games, but it isn't easy. If you are dedicated, this article covers how a hobby can make money. Read More earning achievements, but at least you get a little something for your time.

Ready to Earn Some Achievements?

There you have it, you’re not an achievement novice anymore! You know about earning achievements, following guides, and even tracking them for extra efficiency. Now you begin the climb to increase your Gamerscore.

It’s important to remember, though, that achievements aren’t everything 6 Ways Modern Gaming Has Ruined the Fun (And How to Fix Them) Modern gaming has plenty of upsides, but some of the current trends worry us. Here are six ways that today's gaming has lost the magic of yesteryear, and how to cope with them. Read More . You shouldn’t stress about earning them in every game. If you don’t want to worry about a particular achievement, just skip it. After all, they only amount to fake internet points. Your enjoyment of a game is a lot more important than completing a list of tasks just for the sake of it.

Do you enjoy earning achievements or do you ignore them? Have you earned all the achievements for any games?

Image Credit: eskaylim/Depositphotos

Related topics: Gaming Culture, Xbox Live, Xbox One.

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