As Jeff Atwood wrote, badges are supposed to be nice surprises. How cozy it was, when I logged in to SO and animated sliding bar went off the top of the screen saying:
Congratulations - you have earned the "Nice question" badge. See ...
Such a warm welcome, I felt like home! That was something that addicted me to the site.
Now I have received two badges and no notification bar, no warm welcome... I almost missed them! There is number of notifications, true, but the warm surprise, welcome effect Jeff Atwood speaks about is away. Bring the old notification bar back!
P.S.: in the end ... maybe it's better this way... maybe it is better to be less addicted to the site :)