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Achievements, And Why They Suck

According to various forums and sites, achievements are one of the most anticipated features in Wrath. I must admit it puzzles me - what the heck are you all looking forward to?

There’s always something you never did in the game, a boss to kill, an item to replace, a pattern to loot or reputation to grind. That’s the beauty of this game, there’s always something to do even when you’re bored as hell. Most of the time we don’t care about small things - so what if I’m not exalted with Sporeggar? Achievements might change our way of thinking. That hellish achievements interface will always be there to remind us of the things we never did, and things we never thought of doing. The game is addictive enough as it is, and giving me more reasons to play it might do the opposite (reverse psychology anyone?).

Worst of all, you can compare your own achievements with other players, which will serve as another reminder.

Sure Horns, you don’t have to complete the achievements if you don’t want to. Well that’s true, but then again that’s my point, why are they there in the first place? There’s currently over 500 different achievements (here’s a list), some of them reasonable and even fun, while some are pure grinds.

I do welcome the statistics type achievements, for example:

  • Average gold earned per day
  • Number of auction purchases
  • Total auctions posted
  • Total gold looted/spent on flight/respecs etc.
  • Total talent tree respecs
  • Largest critical hit

You get the idea. The following purely cosmetic or vanity achievements are complete bull and serve no purpose other than boosting your epeen:

  • Fall 65 yards without dying.
  • Collect 25 unique vanity pets.
  • Collect 25 unique tabards
  • Complete 2000 quests
  • Complete 140 quests in Boren Tundra.
  • Explore (insert every zone here)
  • And about 400 more.

It’s similar to daily quests - we all pretend to like them, but only because it’s the easiest way to make gold in WoW; other than that, they are primarily designed to slow your progress gaining reputations, and give you another reason to log on every day. Achievements are nothing else than a well-thought plan of making you play the game more. It’s impossible to complete them all, and serve no purpose other than displaying everyone how much time you wasted on this game. What we need is real content in this game, not recycled instances, repetitive grinds or shady mechanics which make us hate ourselves even more.

Please share your thoughts: do you really think achievements will benefit this game? Can you honestly tell me that’s something you’re looking forward to?

Post info

  • Date posted: August 7th, 2008
  • Post author: Horns
  • Category: misc
  • Tags:

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This post was written by Horns, who contributed 151 posts on Yet Another Warlock Nerf.
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21 responses to “Achievements, And Why They Suck”

  1. Jagoex says:

    Great thoughts on the matter, Horns.

    I think that the idea of Achievements is a great thing, and that ideally, they would help to truly measure the skill of a player based on personal accomplishments and what have you. Unfortunately, much like Arena ratings, their current design is empty and holds no real value.

    I do like the approach, however, in providing a digital check to what we have “accomplished” in our digital life. Hopefully, when refined, it will be more meaningful.

  2. latus says:

    @Jagoex: I do like the system but I wouldn’t in any way claim it might ever truly determine player skill. Skill is such a subjective thing to define that no set critera can ever come close. Gear? Gold acquired? Reputation? A number of kills/quests/xyz completed/acquired? Any measuring stick we can invent will ultimately be able to be “farmed” in some way, so truly determining skill will probably always fall to the individual based on his/her experience with any other individual.

  3. Jagoex says:

    Totally agreed.

  4. Phaelia says:

    I’m really excited about the Achievements system. Many aren’t indicative of player skill, but what about the “I killed Archimonde” or “I reached 2000 Arena rating” ones? These are wonderful mementos of past accomplishments that you may or may not have anything remaining to show for. Arena titles fade, and maybe you never looted anything from Archimonde, but that doesn’t diminish that you participated in those activities!

    As for the “fluffy” achievements, I’m actually looking forward to those to. I’m a very self-improvement oriented player, though and have always enjoyed the multitude of progression tracks available in Warcraft. And of course they’re designed to make you want to play the game more. What kind of a game company would spend development effort on things that wouldn’t? :-)

  5. Siha says:

    Speaking as a long-time explorer type, I for one am looking forward to the Achievements system. I don’t think they’re any more an ‘epeen’ thing than having tabards or non-combat pets or titles; they’re just a way of measuring and displaying things one has done that don’t have any other kind of measurement. I don’t see the harm in the system - those who aren’t interested, as you’ve said, don’t have to participate in the slightest. And those who are - like me - can do so.

  6. Horns says:

    I have to admit you do have great points, I even feel a bit bad cause I’m sure you could think of fifty different pros, but still, I believe dev’s time could be better spent balancing the game, making new instances, and dozens of other things which could - as Phae also pointed out - make us want to play the game more. Passing achievements as new “content” is far fetched.
    As a reminder of our deeds, or a statistical overview I do think achievements are useful - if nothing else it will crunch my huge list of addons. But completing achievements just for the sake of it is what we will be doing.

    There’s another positive thing so far: there’s still no rewards for them, and I’m hoping it will stay that way.

  7. Ærynn says:

    As long as achievements are not used by others to “prove” how much better they are than other players, I’m all for it.

  8. Jagoex says:

    I think it’s fair to say that the implementation of an Achievements system is not taking (much) away from the process of developing new content. The required investment of time is likely minimal, so I don’t think we have to worry about sacrificing too much potential newness for a system dominated by novelty (which I love, btw).

  9. David says:

    I like ‘em.

    There are three sides to the feature:

    1. Recognizing things that you did. This means that even long after you’ve sharded all your Tier 6 gear, there’s a little reminder of its existence. I like this. It makes the endgame feel like less of a complete waste of time as the expansion draws near.

    2. Letting others recognize things that you did The first thing my wife thought of when the feature was mentioned was that it would let her have some idea of how experienced guild applicants were — checking their achievements for heroic clears, and challenge clears. If someone has the three-man-Magisters, they’re probably decent. This is sort of iffy — it could lead to great players being neglected for groups/guilds because that character is new.

    3. Giving you things to do. Being able to see ungained achievements lets you know about things that you haven’t done. It’s a reminder that, say, you haven’t finished up questing in zone X, or you never actually beat the final boss in dungeon Y.

    I’m the sort of person who likes exploring, and likes collecting. I fill in the map, and collect flight points for places I never plan to quest in or go to. I can’t be bothered with raiding or running instances for the most part. (Actually, I spend most of my WoW time writing addons nowadays.) Achievements really appeal to my playstyle.

    My wife is the exact opposite; she’s a hardcore raider, and levels almost exclusively through instance running. She doesn’t really care about achievements.

    I think achievements thus make a lot of sense for Blizzard. They appeal to the “casuals” like me, and don’t get in the way of the hardcore.

  10. Derek says:

    I like the Achievements feature. I think it’ll be fun to check them off as you complete them and it’ll be fun to shoot for the different things. I’ve already gone back to the starter areas and done a bunch of low level quests to get rep and boss kills for instances. I never would have done that otherwise, so the system is actually encouraging me to see more of the game than I would have otherwise.

    Some people liked to do a lot of those things anyway, such as collect vanity pets or mounts, grind out all the reputations, etc. Now at least other people can see what they’ve done.

    And yeah they are designed to make you play the game more, but what isn’t? New levels are designed to make you play the game more, new gear, new arena seasons, new classes, new dungeons, new battlegrounds, it’s all designed to make you play the game more.

    As for the epeen comment, yeah I guess they are just numbers to add to your epeen, but again, what isn’t? All of WoW is just a game. It’s all just numbers. Your level is a number, your AP is a number, your armor is a number. WoW is basically just a big spreadsheet with 3D graphics. How are the numbers associated with the achievements system suddenly less valid than the numbers associated with all of the rest of the game?

    And who cares if you can compare your achievements to other players? You can already compare gear with other players, reputation status with other players, gold amount with other players, HKs and arena rating with other players and on and on. Achievements are no different than what is already in the game in that way.

  11. Spidder says:

    “Yeah man fuck that achievement shit! How dare they display stuff that has nothing to do with how much damage I do/how well I tank!!! Fuck that “exploring” and “enjoying the game” shit, right?! Let’s all powerleve, buy gold and raid for hours!!!”


  12. The moment there is any gameplay-affecting reward that is not available elsewhere, the achievement system crosses the line from a good thing to a bad thing. As it is, the system awards a meaningless score that cannot be spent to purchase anything. If you don’t like it, not doing it is an option. Compare this to, say, LOTRO’s deed system, where your stats are permanently gimped (only by a few points, perhaps, but those points can’t be replaced by any other means whatsoever) if you don’t go forth and kill 400 lizards, orcs, wolves, etc, and it becomes a large problem. But that’s a complaint to raise when the system goes bad, not before.

  13. demuck says:

    I think your point can be expanded beyond just the achievement system but to the game wow itself and to some extent video games in general. First: wow. Isn’t the whole leveling concept just a repetion of about the same thing? Sure, the monsters get tougher, but so do you. Apart from a little difference In gameplay, mechanics, and pretty wrapping, lvl 22 v. Lvl 22 isn’t all that different than 62 v. 62.

    I’ve felt the same way about other games. At a certain point the mechanics become the same and all of the extra 100+ hours of gameplay is just the same essential experience with a new wrapping.

    But I agree with your point about achievements. They seem to be a particularly hollow form of content addition.

  14. Proto Persona says:

    Didn’t Blue confirm that the acheivements system will have rewards, but they will be of the fluff kind, similar to the loot cards from the WoW TCG? See this post from WoW Insider here:
    I agree that any rewards that would actually affect a character’s performance should not be included, but I like the idea of getting some kind of reward for doing them, even if it is just another pretty little pet.

  15. Nicofenix says:

    I’m bored, with the game. Seems like they could add some randomness to the game that appeals to lvl 70. I really dont understand why most 70 content is only in Outland yet Azeroth is way bigger and should have zones for lvl 70. The only thing that i find that brings me back day to day is lvling another alt, when that is done what else is there to do. Raiding is crap is on my server and quite boring, repetition is boring just to get gear. (im working on my 6 or 7th lvl 70 and i’ve only been playing since 9/26/06) im not saying that game isn’t fun but it need more than just doing dailys and raiding once you reach lvl cap.

  16. Cameroo says:

    Actually yes, your right there will be little vanity rewards for achievements.

    Apparently getting the 75 pet achievement will net you a pet skunk.

  17. Mistergone says:

    I don’t have to do Black Temple, so why is it there? The answer is simple: different players like different things. WoW has millions of different players. I for one welcome our new Achievement Overlords. It’s not just an easy way to give me more to do with existing content, it motivated me to help low level friends with old content they want to do. And it keeps score!

  18. Kaizen says:

    These achievements will only piss you off if you feel the overwhelming desire to get them all when you know you can’t. Other than that, they aren’t some ploy to keep people playing. It’s just another feature they are adding, just like Arena’s Battlegrounds and new instances.

    Horn’s, you make it sound as if you have no free will at all and that you don’t want to be able to compare yourself to other players. Well that is a massive part of what makes MMORPG’s so popular. Ultimately, I want my guy to have better stats, look better and have done more than the next guy and I don’t think this is any different.

    Take it for what it is, an addition to the game, something to work towards if it interests you and not a creative ploy created by Blizzard make you play the game longer. You do have a choice in what you do in this game and just because it is there doesn’t mean it has to have anything to do with you.

  19. Mike says:

    so let me get this straight.

    your writing a blog for a video game and your not too excited about more ways to express and share your e-peen?

    <3 irony

  20. Ivan256 says:

    If even a single new player fails to get into an instance group because they don’t have the achievement which says they’ve already completed it yet, the system will have completely and utterly failed.

    And it will happen. Just watch.

    I predict the achievement system will alienate new players from the game. Most new players will not be able to PUG instances, because you can now verify that they’re a noob. Blizzard has drawn a line in the sand, and beyond this point player retention is the best they can hope for.

    That won’t effect me though, you might say. Just wait until you don’t get into a raiding guild ’cause you haven’t killed the bosses the guild has on farm yet. Good times.

  21. Valkirs says:


    I agree with Horns here.