After playing around with this plugin since one of the earliest versions, i believe i can now write a balanced review. Let me start by saying that my 3 star rating is meant for what i consider the average wordpress user. Add one star if you have a firm grasp of wordpress/css. Add another if you are a veteran php coder.
WordPress achievements offers a lot (and i do mean a lot!) of functions to offer your users rewards for nearly anything they do on your site. Is this a good thing? In general...yes. The downside is that the plugin often feels like it's struggling to decide on it's target audience. Is it meant for e-learning? Is it a loyalty reward system? Well, it's a little bit of both and master of neither.
The plugin was originaly designed around use with buddypress. After the 3.0 update/rebuild it will now also function without. One thing missing from the new versions is the ability to reward users based on activity in specific groups. From a loyalty reward perspective this is not a big deal, but it cripples it's purpose for e-learning environments. It is also about the only thing missing, so if you don't need it and use buddypress you will be happy with the plugin.
Without Buddypress a few functions will likely feel missing, foremost the lack of ability to view the achievements of other users (or even your own without the wordpress admin bar, although this is easily fixed with a minor code change). Users like to show of their earned rewards...and they can't.
Support is fast and good (if sometimes touchy) and the plugin is unlikely to be deserted. A lot of support issues actualy deal with customization (which is sometimes neccecary to implement funtions that should be present in the plugin to start with), and Paul is always willing to point users in the right direction. That direction often requires a hefty amount of coding knowledge on the side of the user.
Out of the box the plugin looks ok (not great). It will require some styling to fit your site. This styling will need to be done in css, the plugin does not provide dashboard styling options.
Is it for you?
Well, that's a tough one to asnwer. If you need something that works out of the box and is easy to style/customize...no, it's not for you. If you need a robust framework that can do nearly anything(and you are willing to learn coding / hire someone else to do it)...yes, this plugin is for you (don't look any further, you will find none better).
If you are coming from a customer/user reward perspective...maybe, it will suffice (but there are other specialist plugins to consider). If you are coming from an online learning perspective...another maybe (you will find a lot of needed functionality missing without complex customization, but there are no real alternatives for use with wordpress).
Final thoughts; personal experience
My personal experience with the plugin has been bitter-sweet and outright frustrating. It places my very ideal of a wordpress based learning environment at my fingertips...but due to the believe of the plugin's author places in the technical emancipation of it's users the realisation of my vision continues to linger just outside my reach.
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