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What Do You Mean, It's Not Cosmetic?
It looks like a Cosmetic Award, it's awarded like a Cosmetic Award, it gives points like a Cosmetic Award, except it is not cosmetic, it actually does something to affect gameplay.

Usually such achievements do not influence gameplay immediately and per se, but instead unlock content for later use.

See also Bragging Rights Reward, And Your Reward Is Clothes.

Examples:

  • Bloodline Champions has achievements that give Blood Coins, the main in-game resource, that can be later used to unlock characters. Grinding the easiest ones is usually recommended for new players.
  • Kongregate's main feature is an API that allows you get achievements for pre-existing flash games. Achievements are regularly selected for challenges that, if completed, give you a card for Kongai, the site's iconic CCG.
    • After they merged with Game Stop, this was intensified— now a random achievement each day gives you points for the customer loyalty program.
  • Both of the Mass Effect games features a selection of Achievements (and later Trophies) with immediate and potent effects, such as increased XP-gain, boosted powers, access to new abilities, or any number of other benefits.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, there are challenges a player can do which are usually skill or weapon-based(kill enemies X times with a particular weapon, use a certain item x times, etc.). When these challenges are completed, you'll actually get minor perks.
    • And most of the PS3 / 360 / Steam achievements are tied to either the above challenges or major quests, so when you hear that bleep, you're probably getting a big pile of Experience Points, too.
  • World of Warcraft's achievement-gained mounts can qualify as this, as it means you don't have to buy a fast mount if you haven't already, and the +310% speed ones mean you don't have to buy the last flying rank. The guild achievements also provide numerous perks, such as +EXP items to give to alts, or groupwide buff items. None of them are necessary to maximize your abilities in combat, but they can save time on many types of grinding.
  • When Team Fortress 2 first released alternative weapons, the only way to get them was to complete various achievements for the class in question to unlock them (you can still do so, but since the items now Randomly Drop and you can now trade, craft, or just buy them it's somewhat redundant).
    • Some of the hats Team Fortress 2 is known for used to be part of sets with other items, which when completed gave you stat boosts. The trope was subverted when these boosts were removed and the hats were nerfed to be truly cosmetic-only.
  • In Freespace completing secondary objectives and such not only awards you with points and medals, but also sometimes gives bonus ships.
    • Completing secondary and bonus objectives sometimes give some sort of advantage in the following mission (for example, the ship you are ordered to escort might start with less damage).
  • A very subtle example is found in the World in Conflict multiplayer mode. As you ramp up your scores, you will soon receive a Rank Up or ten. While your fancy online rank insignia are pretty much useless in hard gameplay terms, they give you an unexpected but significant "soft" bonus in the extremely teamwork-oriented online mode of the game: on public servers, random players are much more inclined to follow a Colonel or General's orders, giving your side a higher degree of coordination and team play which translates into a significant advantage over a largely disorganized opponent.
    • League of Legends has alternate champion models that can be unlocked for real cash. While having no impact on gameplay (except for a certain Annie skin that makes the "stun ready" particle hard to see), when you are on a team with zero skinned characters and the enemy team has three or four, you pretty much assume you will lose.
      • There's also the -1 damage to Leona's Sunlight spell that all skins with sunglasses provide.
  • Gotcha Force features palette swaps of various borgs. Being toys and all, different colors give different stats.Gold and Silver borgs in particular.
  • Konami Man, Twin Bee and Vic Viper in Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin are gotten as rewards from beating the game on Hard difficulty with a level cap of 1, 25 and 50, respectively: their description only reads "5000 points", but each of them also gives a permanent 50 point bonus to STR, INT and LCK, respectively.
  • Collecting Marks Of The Gods in Outland mainly unlocks some concept art for the game, but they also give you the ability to cling to walls longer, mark all treasure urns on your map and double the strenght of your melee attacks if you collect enough of them.
  • LittleBigPlanet has collectible stickers, which need to be pasted on cardboard object in the levels to activate events. Although mostly it's for MORE cosmetics, as player made levels often don't use stickers to activate shortcuts often, and many of the good ones don't include stickers at all, but developer made levels are the only ones that have new cosmetics.
  • In I Miss the Sunrise, merits will grant slight bonuses to the Personal and Battle Trust (which affect damage and accuracy) of all allies, including ones not recruited yet.
  • Many MMORPGs nowadays attach small stat bonuses to their Titles. Developers occasionally get carried away.
    • A special mention goes out to Vindictus, whose titles grant stat boosts whether they have been equipped or not. It might be worth going around and kicking 100 gnolls to death, if it will give you +1 STR.
  • Each ship in FTL: Faster Than Light has a set of 3 achievements unique to it. Completing 2 of these 3 achievements unlocks a new layout of that ship, which usually feature new initial weapon loadouts, crew rosters, and floor plans.
  • Some of the badges Pirate101 serve as flags that signal for a reward ranging from a companion to become available in the crown shop, a housing item, or a pet.
  • Some achievements in Star Wars: The Old Republic award small amounts of Cartel Coins (currency otherwise bought only with real money). Maxing companion affection or reaching lvl 50 with a human character awards small stat bonuses to all characters.
  • The achievement system in Cookie Clicker initially comes off as being a mere Bragging Rights Reward. However, unlocking achievementsnote  also increases one's "Milk" percentage, and the Kitten upgrades (helpers, workers, and engineers) increase one's CpS based on the amount of Milk the player has.
  • Star Ocean series:
  • Video Game/Borderlands2 has a laundry list of minor challenges of the "kill 10/100/1000 enemies with a pistol" variety that look like purely cosmetic achievements, but unlock "badass points" that can be cashed in for small bonuses that apply to all your characters.

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