Tobold's Blog
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Good news for underachievers

I'm an underachiever. That is to say I have considerably less achievement points collected on my characters in WoW than the average member of my guild. I collected exactly 1 title for each of my 3 characters over level 70, "the explorer" for the priest, "chef" for the warrior, and "Jenkins" for the mage. I got some achievements from simply playing. That included some achievements from holiday events, but I didn't complete a singe holiday overall achievement. So as I'm not actually chasing achievements, my achievement point score is rather low.

Now that used to worry me a bit, because I, as many other people, thought that at some point Blizzard would introduce a way to spend the achievement points, and by not having many I would miss out on some cool rewards. Turns out I don't need to worry. Blizzard has no intention of letting us buy anything with achievement points. They are pure fluff, only useful to compare progress between players. Great, now I can really ignore them.

That is not to say that the achievement system isn't a good idea. I know a lot of people who have a lot of fun chasing achievements, and that is fine. It is just that personally I score low in the achievement category in a Bartle test. I do like challenges, but not every type of challenge. I'm so not grinding thousands of grey low-level quests for hundreds of hours to get a tabard and a title, or doing similar repetitive stuff. Having to spend a lot of time on something trivially easy isn't something I consider a challenge.
I would never have even thought to put most of the achievements in the Bartle category of 'achievements'. I score fairly high in the Bartle test for achievements, but have no interest in completing holiday or fluff achievements.
I didn't expect anything to buy with achievements, but I suppose confirmation helps... Or does it? Strangely I expected no rewards, but once Blizzard says there will be none, then the timer in my head starts counting down a year or so when they add a mount or something aesthetic for having X number of points.
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Achievements are horrible. Your personal to-do list of "what to do when WoW is boring and you actually should stop playing it". Many achievements are not crazy and fun, but often outright silly.

I have explored the world completely before I got an Explorer title for it. Exploring Northrend by flying mount for the title was rather mechanistic, just for the title...

The ugly albino drake that I did not use much was my reward for grinding out rep rank for all factions and buying basically multiple times the same mount in different colors.

I am pretty sceptical of achievements. One of my friends said, "they give people who already cleared Naxx several times something to do!" (plus make them help and raid with others, who could use some help/raid members).

Seems that you still know why and for what you play, Tobold. Without becoming an achievement junkie. I actually was, but it bored and scared me away, one of many factors that made me quit.
There's certainly nothing wrong with them. Some players will always make their own fun, and don't need so much direction. I always liked collecting flight points I wasn't supposed to be able to get to at low level. I can definitely appreciate how many people love achievements though.

It's a little strange to me to criticize achievements for just being something to keep you playing the game for longer. Well, yeah. That's what every feature in a game is trying to do. It's a tautology.

That said, I think it's a little strange that people will do something they hate just to get an achievement for it. A friend of mine plays all these AWFUL xbox games, just for achievements. Barbie Horse Adventures, etc.

I don't really do anything in game, myself. For the most part WoW has become a pretty chat-room that I pay $15 a month for. I don't mind though. When I do want to do some leveling and involve myself, I stay busy for a few weeks. The achievements offer me a little something mindless to do while I'm leveling. Kind of like, "Hey, I'm here doing a quest hub, might as well explore the map while I'm at it!"

I didn't play Tabula Rasa that much, but I enjoyed the achievement goals that I found in the starting zone. One of the achievements required that I kill 2000 of something. It took me a few weeks on and off the game, but enjoyed every minute of the mindless beast-slaying. Fortunately that game had quick respawns so if someone sniped your kills you only had to wait a few seconds for another chance.
@Moxy you have a point about novelty titles not appealing to the traditional "Bartle achiever" however you must emember that ultimately everything you achieve in an mmo is pointless. The only value of anything in a game comes either from your personal sense of achievement or from the admiration of others. If titles attract the admiration of others then I bet the "achiever" stereotype will go for them. My guess is that "kill all the dragons" titles probably attract achievers whereas "valentines day" titles are probably more interesting to explorers.

Guild Wars has brought this kind of thing to a fine art. Many many players have spent huge amounts of time gaining novelty titles. One extreme example is "Legendary defender of Ascalon" got for levelling a character to the level cap without leaving the starter area - think of the famous South Park Episode where they reached the level cap by killing millions of level 1 boars. In fact its even worse that that because after a while you can no longer get experience from low level mobs so you need to level up the mobs with you by letting them defeat you over and over again.
Ok, that one's just bad. Designers have to take some responsibility for what achievements they put into the game. As has been established in the many WAR scenario threads, players will willingly do something that's not as fun, if you encourage them to, but they will hate you for it.

"Chef" is not an underachiever's title, imho. It requires quite some dedication.
> Having to spend a lot of time on something trivially easy isn't something I consider a challenge
There aren't many "challenging" things to do atm.
We're working on Sarth+3D, that's one achievement.
We're not actively pursuing Immortal/Undying - that's another.
I'm slowly working towards Glory of the Hero - that doesn't interfere with the "trivial achievements"

One thing I think is especially important.
Most of the "trivial" achievements are indeed trivial, especially as you can solo Timbermaw/Argent Dawn/Cenarion Circle to Exalted in a few hours.
But then I have to say "clear Naxx10 and Naxx25" were equally trivial to me. To be more precise, as I'm in a raiding guild it was only logical that I'd get em sooner or later, as they are free - zero cost and time investment if you are raiding anyway.
Hardly anyone does Naxx for the "kill boss x" achievements, but to see the place and get some loot.
That's even more trivial, should you succeed with your group. Same goes for "Kill boss X" in 5man dungeons.
Wait a second - a few HOURS to get those reputations to exalted? That's a serious underestimate of the time it really involves. How is this "trivial"?
I have to take my hat off and applaud Blizzard's ability to sell people the same old content they were bored off for years. I remember when the achievements started, people were more excited to go to UBRS than Sunwell in our raid guild.

I also am unmoved by them. I'd rather buy WAR or DF or even Vanguard and work through some fresh quests chains and character classes than farm Tirisfal Glades for Undercity Rep or furbolgs or Booty Bay bouncers.

Glad we won't be able to spend the points but that plan may change if enough people complain.
I haven't seen achievements in WoW, but in Guild Wars I generally don't mind them except for the eye of the North PvE skill titles. As long as they don't interfere much with how I play the game, it isn't a big deal whether other people chase them or not.

The one thing I'd worry about with achievements is whether they change people's playing priorities in such a ways as to cause imbalances with where people play. This does happen with guild wars somewhat, (with plots more people farming areas than doing missions or such), but henchmen and heroes tend to help with that somewhat. With WoW I could see these causing lots of problem, or helping, depending on how the achievements are structured.

It is kind of odd though how many people feel a need to grind an achievement, even if they have other things they would be doing other than the achievement that might be more fun, or how so many people will feel the achievement is required by the game, rather than just being an option that they can do or not.
The point is Dillon in WoW generally raid and dungeon achievements require you to beat an encounter with some kind of self-imposed disadvantage. To those of us who have been carefully training raiders how to execute a strategy there are Kill The Boss While Standing in the Fire type achievements to make us despair. To raiders who are not in their guild's core there is the fun of being benched so the others can get the raid Naxx with only 20 people achievement. Slackers too cheap or lazy to get Frost Resistance gear for the big ice dragon can make out they want the achievement for fighting him without resist gear.

What I most dislike about achievements is that so many go counter to good raid practice.
I greatly enjoy the achievements in Team Fortress 2. I play the game to have fun, but it's nice to see progress. It adds humor and a subtly suggests tactics in the game. Good stuff.
The achievement points are completely useless for measuring anything. For example, "The Immortal" is worth 10 points, the same as "25 Fish" and "Explore Northrend" gives 25 points. LMAO.
Slackers too cheap or lazy to get Frost Resistance gear
If you need frost resistance gear on Sapphiron, you're doing something very, very wrong.
I think achivements are great... it acknowledge the fact that you did something that matters to you. Even before WoW introduced achievements, I was the kind of player that would have explored all the areas in which I was questing, just because discovering special places was fun for me. True, I was able to show it to my wife or friends afterwards, and in itself, it's great. But now, the game gives you some credit.

I think you don't have to see the achievement system as a 'Must do to complete the game', but as a system to ackowledge the experience you just had while playing the game.
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