Friday, 13 November 2009

Them Achievements

Are you a fan of achievements? Hate them with a passion?

Interestingly enough, we have both sides in the guild. The two sides formed shortly after the introduction of achievements – and to be fair, I can understand my opposite number (*waves* Hey Tigs, that’s you!).

The argument for achievements (here, in this context, this is not a summary or somesuch) goes something like this: Some of the achievements show that the player has done something truly outstanding. Better than everyone else on the server (Realmfirsts come to mind, or the Gladiator ones). Some of them show a certain perseverance and dedication to a certain style of play (100.000 Honourable Kills – Say what? I got 1200 or so).

Some of them send people to actually have a look at old content that was quite nice: Outland Raider, Old World Raider. Those are the ones that actually keep the old content alive. Be fair – how many groups have you seen forming for Blackwing Lair before the introduction of the achievement system (Yes, I know, one every two weeks. Shush! We’re ignoring those for the sake of the argument)? That’s right! A big fat zero! (I said ignore, now shush!) And how many have formed since? That’s right, several every weekend – and it’s not completely unheard of to have a Thursday night “Black Temple” party going on either.

I’m all for something that grants me a short-to-mid-term goal and keeps me interested in the game. There isn’t even a large amount of reward required – of course there is the occasional tabard or drake, but that’s not why we follow them.

The opposite view is quite simple to grasp as well. Suddenly you have hundreds of guildmembers leaping off cliffs like lemmings aiming for an achievement. The achievement spam in the first weeks was truly horrendous. When the 25-man groups get another Realm First! the spam is everywhere. No content whatsoever was added (that is a blatant lie as well, as there was other content in the same patch, like this trifling Wrath of the Lich King thing, but it’s true – the achievements don’t specifically do anything).

The guild armoury page reflects the different views as well. A select few players have not logged in since the patch (should I name it? I think it was 3.0, but might be wrong there) – they manage to hang on to an achievement point rating of 0. That’ll obviously change as soon as they log in with the points for every 10 levels and the quests completed and such. A very very large majority has achievement points somewhere in the “few-thousands” range. It can’t be helped, once you are level 80, to get some of those. Especially because some of the achievements are handed out for basically “not doing it right” (tm).

Example needed? A Void Dance and Snakes! The first one assumes your party has not grasped the concept of the debuff and managed to change target, the second does pretty much the same, except there is no debuff. Sure … more and more people get those achievements now that they overgear heroic instances – but if you got one of those in the early days, you were doing the fight wrong.

A minority of players have gone past the 5000 achievement points mark. I’m there at the moment (with a comfortable lead, I might add) and working on breaking the 7k next. And I seriously enjoy the whole thing. Some even come with shiny titles!

But why the whole work? Well … the post of my wife made me remember why, basically. It’s all about the rare glorious moments when a goal is reached. Of course some goals are shared by a large majority of the guild – reach level 80, raid successfully and kill the end boss of an instance, buy a flying mount. However, even though those are indeed rewarded by an achievement, those goals are not something I value very highly. There are other achievements. Those that provided a challenge for the participants (in whatever way) that result in the cheering and real sense of accomplishment that is completely different.

Examples of good achievements? Glory of the Hero for one. People who complain about the game being too easy really need to try that one. There are a few in there that are actually rather on the hardish side – especially those where no amount of gear will make the game easy.

I wanted to post examples here. In fact, I had written several paragraphs about the fights that I remembered for being especially impressive and memorable and great and inspiring. I took it all out. I’m quite sure that I will post some of them at another time because they were actually quite great on their own – but it didn’t feel right in lumping them all together. And the one my girl wrote about was much better on its own anyway.

*reads back*

Euhh… Didn’t manage to say anything again, did I?

Ah well… that’s another achievement then.

[Mad Rambler] Has done x posts in a blog without talking about achievement content.

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