Notch, god of Minecraft recently gave a very interesting interview to Gamasutra, in which he talked about the possibility of bringing achievements to Minecraft. The good news, if you like achievements is that they are in the works. The bad news, if you don't like achievements is that they are in the works. The good news if you just got bad news is that achievements will not be mandatory. They will simply be there for the taking if people wish to obtain them, and there to be ignored if people do not wish to obtain them. That's kind of like all games though really isn't it? Even interminably pointless grindfests like World of Warcraft have optional achievements, I mean, playing the game to begin with is fairly optional. Now I'm probably reading too deeply into things so lets move on before I have an existential crisis and we're stuck here for weeks on end.
Positively, the achievement system sounds like it will be rather open. Instead of being a World of Warcraft/ MMO style grindfest, they may very well incorporate creative achievements. This is good because as we all know, Minecrafters are a rugged bunch with curly beards (including the women, except we tape ours on so as to fit in) and none of us like being told what to do. If we have to go about collecting ten (10) leather cow skins there will probably be hell to pay. Minecrafters will run amok in the streets.
Other fun hints in the interview included the fact that Notch is planning to implement super rare mobs, like dragons. The insinuation in the article was that by getting a bunch of achievements you'll be able to unlock better ones. There will be a narrative to the story, a flow to events. Those of you who hate events will not be placated by this, so you may as well go and get some candy and feel better later.
Another interesting implication of this new achievement system is that in order to implement it, Notch is considering running official servers. At the moment SMP is a hit and miss affair, either you play with friends, or you go onto a public server and risk getting griefed into last year. If Mojang runs their own servers then there's a very real possibility that Minecraft will have some of the finer aspects of the MMO experience.