Tobold's Blog
Thursday, July 31, 2008
WotLK achievement system

One thing I tested during the WotLK beta was the new achievement system. It isn't fully implemented yet, you can earn achievements and achievement points, but you can't spend the points on anything yet. Anyway, my level 70 warrior I copied into the beta has 88 out of possible 532 achievements, for a total of 820 achievement points. Still a lot to do if I wanted to collect them all. Which I won't do, because for already existing characters it will be next to impossible, as they would have to repeat a lot of old stuff.

The problem lies in the fact that up to now World of Warcraft kept track of some things, but not of everything. So the achievement system knew that I had done 1472 quests with my warrior, giving me the 1,000 quests done achievement. It didn't know that I had done more than 5 daily quests, as those aren't kept track of. It did know that I completely explored Outland, but it didn't know that I've been to many dungeons in Azeroth and Outland already. So the "Kill Archmage Arugal in Shadowfang Keep" achievement is still greyed out, together with every other "kill boss X in dungeon Y" achievement. Who is going to organize a raid to kill Ragnaros again, just for 5 achievement points?

I think the achievement system is a nice addition. But adding it to a 4 year old game has obvious problems. And some achievements, like gaining exalted status with various factions, aren't really worth doing just for some points and checking one more achievement off your list.
I think that's what my biggest problem with the achievement system is: if they were going to do it, they should have done it when the game launched. There's the achievement for collecting vanity pets and tabards. Well now that they have added pet storage, are they going to allow us access to vanity pets that we got from quests? I would not have thrown some of them out if I knew there was a storage option for them.

I didn't think the game needed it, but when a game gets old, I guess Blizzard has to explore options to getting people hooked.
On some achievements, Blizzard is using a detour. For example, there is no achievement for getting reputation with Bloodsail. But there is an achievement for acquiring the Bloodsail Admiral's Hat, which requires a certain reputation level to acquire. Likewise, if you have a bind-on-pickup item from Ragnaros gathering dust in the bank, it's not a stretch to claim that you have killed him.

Of course, not everyone has kept their mementos from past bosses and questlines. We do know that Blizzard logs everything that you do in the game, so I have a hunch that Blizzard will automatically go through that log before WotLK release and pre-set all of the legacy achievements. The only question is how extensive that log is. Going through 4 years of precise transaction logs would require a whole lot of backup tape swapping and log parsing, even for a company the size of Blizzard.
Meh, I've been really enjoying the achievement system. As to the question "Will people form a group to go kill Ragnaros just for 5 points?" Yes. Yes they will. Even during Burning Crusade, I'd have some buddies that would be going through old content such as maxing out old useless reps like Timbermaw. Why do they do it? Because they're crazy thats why, but I guarentee there will be plenty of people running old things for the achievements.

Plus, this is an excuse to see old content for those players that joined after Burning Crusade was launched. Now they can go see BWL or AQ40.
I've always wondered if WoW's talent system would have been better suited as an AA system. That would free up many of the hassles concerning raid build verses pvp/pve build, and it would give achievers more exp to earn, so they could continue to "level up" their characters.
I see this WotLK achievement system as Blizz's urgent answer to WAR's ToK.
An Achievement System sounds pretty cool and some achievements really make sense. I'd love to be rewarded for all the things I'm forced to do like running an heroic with a tank and 4 holy priests. But I think they're taking it a bit too far. Is it really an achievement to "Obtain a vanity pet"? Obtaining about 50 of them IS an achievement, but one?
I think they should have focused on really noticable achievements and rewarded those properly with titles, mounts, tabards and the like.
Who is going to organize a raid to kill Ragnaros again, just for 5 achievement points?

Lots of people.

Once there is an achievement for it, people will go back and do it, especially since once they are at the new level cap with all their new gear, the old content should be easier than it was before. Its the kind of thing you can do on an "off night" in your raid guild.
Yes - achievements, even if they aren't useful to your character, will be attractive to many people as something else to do after hitting the level cap.

In some ways, it might be a good thing that obvious things like boss kills aren't awarded initially. Trust me, there will be a *lot* of people wanting to kill all the old world bosses. Blizzard will recycle a lot of their old content this way.

"Will people form a group to go kill Ragnaros just for 5 points?"

Lots of people will. I will. Anyone with the achiever gene will do it because it is a measurable task.

But will it be fun or fair re-doing old level 60 raids with a 5-man of level 80s? This underscores the need to give old world dungeons either a heroic setting or tune all instances to the average level of the group doing it. No more people crying for high-levels to run them through content! And no more cake-walks for higher levels. While they are at it, they should re-tune the drops to compensate for difficulty settings.
Though others have pointed out that yes people will go back and kill ragnaros, I can send you some screen shots I took just this past Saturday where 40 70's went and just destroyed all of AQ40. I have no idea why I went, but as a resto druid with no one really getting hit that hard (<3 T6 tanks!) I got a few fun screen shots. The achievement system isn't in place on the live servers and people are already doing these things.
These "achievements" sound very similar to LOTRO's Deeds. Are they?
I'll go back!
Kept all that Fire,Frost, and Nature Rez gear for a reason!

where's my trophy room?
I hate to admit it, but I love checking things off of lists. I probably won't be able to resist going back to old world raid content and getting achievement points.

Then again most MMO players who actually posts on forums and blogs are probably more "hardcore" then normal players. I don't think everyone will be revisiting the old world trying to get every achievement.
But will it be fun or fair re-doing old level 60 raids with a 5-man of level 80s?

You'd be suprised, there are a lot of old-world 40-mans that you just can't 5-man - not due to lack of tanking/DPS/healing, but just because you physically need more than one tank (sometimes 4 or 5) to complete the encounter. That's what happened to us when we tried to five-man MC, got stopped at a boss because one tank just couldn't keep aggro on all the adds...
Does the Achievement system remember all of the heroic dungeons you completed in the Burning Crusade?

I was thinking of finishing off the last ones now, but if I'll have to redo them all at 80 anyway, there really wouldn't be any point.
Does the Achievement system remember all of the heroic dungeons you completed in the Burning Crusade?
You can check for some of those with quests, like the Champion of the Naaru questline or the dailies. That isn't 100% coverage, though.
Tobold had mentioned that Blizzard doesn't remember the number of dailies he's completed. Do you think it remembers heroic dailies separately? Or maybe they're actually tracking kill progress now as opposed to in WOW Classic?

I think this question could be easily answered by someone in the beta. Unfortunately, that isn't me. :P
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