World of Warcraft player who managed to fill out every single achievement in the game, covering every single currently measurable objective. (If not, well, there you go.) Bio Break recently took the opportunity to discuss achievements as an interesting social feature in MMOs, a way of building community, while Overly Positive took the news as incentive to expound on achievements as an alternate venue for advancement. Most of the major titles out at the moment have some form of achievement system in place, ranging from Warhammer Online's Tome of Knowledge to City of Heroes and its variety of badges.
The problems with the system are brought up in the comments of the above entries -- achievements can often wind up being used as a form of highly-prohibitive gating, where someone lacking the completion achievement isn't capable of getting a group to move through it. As a whole, though, it allows for people to enjoy an entirely different venue of the game, and offers motivation to perform content that would otherwise be gathering dust after a certain point. Wherever you play, achievement markers are becoming more and more ubiquitous, and the fact that clearing them out is newsworthy just shows the degree to which they've permeated our consciousness and the genre.