Tobold's Blog
Monday, June 09, 2008
WoW introduces achievement system?

Lord of the Rings Online has an achievement system, in which discovering things or killing a certain number of various sorts of mobs rewards you with titles or abilities. Warhammer Online announced they would have the "Tome of Knowledge", which also records your various achievements and gives some minor rewards for them. And now WoWInsider reports about rumors that World of Warcraft will introduce an achievement system in Wrath of the Lich King. Apparently you can get achievement points for example for exploration, for revealing the complete map of one continent. Or for things like completing a certain number of quests in one zone, or for doing 2,000 quests in total.

What I am a bit worried about is how such an achievement system is going to work with existing characters. Does it count if my level 70 characters already have revealed the whole map of Azeroth and Outlands, or already did 2,000 quests? How would I get the "reach level 15 without dying" achievement with a level 70 character, or a fresh level 55 deathknight? These sort of systems only work really well if introduced right from the start, grafting them into an existing game isn't quite that easy.

It isn't clear yet what sort of reward the WoW achievement system would hand out. The screenshots suggest some sort of point system, but what you can do with the points nobody knows yet. I'm hoping for things like titles, because I don't really see how you could hand out gear rewards which would be equally balanced for new and existing characters.

I'm not touching the whole "who steals features from whom" debate with a 10-foot pole. Fact is that that over the last 10 years MMORPGs have emerged as a proper genre of video games. That genre has a pool of features which are either expected, or optional. Every game grabs a lot of features from that pool, that is why they all belong to that same genre. And then sometimes one game adds new features to the pool, and if that feature works, it becomes part of the standard features of the genre. Who introduced which feature is only interesting to historians, and it isn't always the game that had the feature first which automatically has the best implementation of it. I'm looking forward to see WoW's implementation of the achievement system, because Blizzard tends to be good at improving features. I really don't mind if that isn't innovative.
If there will be rewards at all, I'm guessing that the rewards will be something like titles, vanity items or non-combat pets. At most, a mount with unique looks and equal stats.
Yeah not much point in deciding who invented what on this minor stuff. City of Heroes had achievement badges but I doubt they were the first for it either.

I'd argue it's a natural feature, prior art doesn't matter, it was inevitable.
I wish Blizzard would "steal" some improved guild tools from ... just about any other mmo ;-)
I thought the whole "assimilate and improve" speak sounded really similar to what Microsoft does ;-)

Then again, if EQ had been doing a better job at improving their system, WoW wouldn't have came along and kicked its butt.
I agree with mr anonymous above , give wow more focus on guilds and social side of the game and it will continue to dominate the mmorpg genre for the foreseeable future.
In Lotro the achievement system is almost mandatory because the traits you earn give very real advances to your character stats.

In Guild wars however the achievements (titles) are almost entirely cosmetic and yet many people still devote hundreds of hours of game play to acquiring titles.
Will this only be cosmetic? If its just an e-peen title such as the Xbox system, what's the point in adding it?
If they give anything but cosmetic/title changes they cease to become optional.
Scott: Ask all the people who bought the Shattered Sun title.

At least one guild on my server sells spots for ZA time runs (they take gold, not money) so players can get the Bear Mount. Others have bags full of pets or clothes.

None of these things are strictly necessary, but some people like having something special besides purples.

Adding an achievement system will give players something else to do besides gear upgrades. More variety is a good thing imo.
This is also in EQ2, where discoveries of unique locations, treasures, items of lore, killing major NPC's (Elites or nameds) and completing quests all go toward "AA"

You then gain points which are spent on "Feats" or "abilities"

So, basically this has existed in other games for a while...
WoW is doing the "Borg" warp again (Lets do the Borg Warp again....hehe)
But, hey...WoW will do it better...right?
My twink bank toon is looking sharp in a Tuxedo pant and shirt set with the antique cuff links (haven't gotten the monocle yet).
No point other than fun.

I would love to see a variety of casual vanity titles introduced.
Will this only be cosmetic? If its just an e-peen title such as the Xbox system, what's the point in adding it?

In any MMO where there is PvP and which has some sort of gear progression there is automatically gear differences between the hardcore and casual players. Having achievements which are only cosmetic gives the hardcore players something to do while not becoming so immensely more powerful than the casual players.

WoW is horrible enough as it is regarding that with it's gear dependancy. Let's not make it worse with achievements that will be a must to be viable in PvP.
I don't want to touch the debate either, but it is getting fairly obvious Blizzard does not want to play nice in the MMORPG space. They are working very hard to ensure they match feature for feature with upcoming games and its going to make WoW suffer.

I have no faith in Blizzard. There is not a single feature they've added to WoW after launch that was worthwhile on the first go around. Arenas were and still are horribly implemented. Battlegrounds took months, and in some cases, years to get somewhat right. Badges of Justice took almost a year to become worthwhile. Most of TBCs minor features are wasted after the first month of play.

I love WoW, I really do, but Blizzard is so blatantly trying to do things to match other games on the market that it makes you wonder if they really are worried. What happened to Blizzard just sticking to what they know, doing it really well, and stomping the competition by doing so?
I don't know, Blizzard is the company who suspends people for visiting "off limits" areas like the airport or the dancing troll village, or does other exploration activities. I don't think they even get any style of play that isn't raiding or pvp.
Wouldnt this almost be just like quests? Doing something in order to gain a reward...? More MMORPG News And Discussion.

I agree on this...WoW is growing stale, so they figure to have all aspects of other games?

And why NO HOUSING..

I mean...hasn't it been long enough...or is this something they cannot do with the current code?

They need to let WoW start to die...kind of like EQ2 is slowly doing...
Achievement systems (that is not just titles or other fluf) or Alternate Advancement systems complicate games a lot. With the free EQ2 I am going back after having not played for two years and trying to figure things out. All the choices that can be made with AA might be great for the experienced player but I am left scratching my head and spending more time reading the web on the choices than actually playing the game.

EQ, AO, EQ2, and LotRO are all games I have played with these extra tasks to do to raise your abilities in games. An additional issue is the encounters end up getting balanced around having these extra abilities so they no longer become optional.
I think Blizzard is starting to feel the heat.
Of course AoC nor WAR will "beat" WoW, but if they loose 1,5 million players (US and EU markets) all of a sudden due to other releases heads will roll.
When talking about copying features, that's always been going on. The idea of cosmetic badges for accomplishment has been around since coin operated pinball machines started letting you put your name up for a high score. Killboards and ladders are just an extension of that. Real time strategy games evolved by copying user interfaces and game mechanics so much so that they all look and work nearly the same now.

Eve is going to start a 24 hr downtime to add an expansion in just a few hours. The new expansion includes cosmetic badges and ranks based on PvP and PvE achievements, along with a bunch of new ingame stats that are player-visible. So, Eve is jumping on the achievement bandwagon also.
Bring it on! I love the idea of more rewards (hopefully they are optional rewards only like mentioned titles, etc). I say, keep all the non-optional stuff acheiveable by everyone (whether PVP or PVE or raid or instances). Let people play the way they enjoy the most but allow them still to get all the recipes/gear/items they need to play that style and put just a bunch of 'extra' stuff under grinds and other reward systems (pets, titles, sparkle effects, dyes, mounts, special non-combative recipes such as fireworks, new dances/emotes, etc.). Give people that have tons of time the ability to keep engaged without chasing gear and give others (like me) direct access to all needed items (don't stick a needed alchemy recipe behind an exalted grind that requires instance running when I have no time/desire to run them). FWIW...
Achievement Unlocked! "Wyrmslayer" You have successfully soloed Onyxia. "Wyrmslayer" title now available.

Yes? No? Some interesting hidden achievements maybe hidden about the game. I just hope they don't cope out to the gods of Balance and make every achievement achievable by every class and/or player. I want this game to feel rewarding again.
Whaddya wanna bet the next expansion after WOTLK has Public Quests in it?

I'm glad to see the achievements, as it's something I enjoyed in LOTRO. I do wonder, as others have asked above, why they won't do guild housing. Heck, just take the large bar from SW, add some hooks for dungeon boss heads/a plaque wall for titles/ maybe a room for pets/etc, let us name the staff... that would be a lot of fun for very little work on Blizzard's part.
Blizz should have done this years ago. Yet another example of how little effort Blizz has put into improving the game.

Only when worthy competitors show up does Blizzard start to act like they might care about WoW again.
On the other hand, don't fix what isn't broken? Why make major changes when everyone seems to love WoW so much.
Mythos is supposed to have a similar system. However it gives you buffs for completing the achievements. You can then pick which ones to have a active, with the number increasing with level.

e.g. Kill Boss X, 5% damage increase vs undead

Kill Boss X 15 times, 10% damage increase vs undead

There is a tangible benefit from completing these. Plus they add another layer of character flexibility.
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