196: Achieving Azeroth

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Achieving Azeroth

Plenty of games include achievements, but few contain the sheer number and variety that World of Warcraft does. John Funk explains why WoW's achievement system grabbed him in a way that no other platform has.

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Although I am one of the "PS3 trophy hunters" crowd, I absolutely loved the Wow acheivement system.

I dont own Wow, because I dont have the money or the time to commit to it properly.
But I did get the free trial a week or two back, and the second I got my first fishing acheivement I was hooked (HAHAHAA GET IT?).

The acheivements are a lot more rewarding than they are on the consoles, also the recognition, like you said, is server wide if your good enough.

That was a damn good article :)

It is rather well done. Nothing like the page of "Grats!" that appear in guild chat immediately after snagging a particulary impressive achievement... Adore me!

I'd love to say that achievements are silly, but then I'd have to explain to myself why I spent the better part of a week tracking down low-level quests for rep so that I could get the "Ambassador" title (revered with all five groups of your faction), and I don't think I'm ready to do that yet....

The achievements on WoW actually reward you with something, even if it is a virtual something. Who wouldn't like everyone to have to adress them as Rob, Champion of the Frozen Wastes?

My Name is Chris, and I'm an achievement whore.

But for whatever reason, not in WoW. I don't hate wow achievements, I just don't give a rats ass. I think mostly because of how much I played pre-BC, it is no impossible for me to get half the achievements because I already had them completed before the achievement system came out. Like how am I supposed to hit level 10 again? Or get the Track Fish ability? It's impossible.

Just an FYI to Pigeon, most easily trackable achievements (like hitting level 10, or track fish) should have been automatically credited to your toon once achievements went live. It's only the ones that didn't have an associated quest (like killing Ragnaros or clearing BWL) that might not show up unless you've got some piece of loot from a boss still in your bank, and having Vanilla WoW stuff sitting around after BC was pretty unlikely.

I think the WoW achievement system is great, because they're so varied. Some show how much of the game world you've explored and conquered, while others show that you've mastered a more narrow, specialized sliver of it. Still others show that you've made a point to participate in events or gather items just for the sake of doing so, and not just to make your toon more powerful.

A useful secondary function that all the raiding achievements serve is an easy way to look at someone and see if they've been on a Naxx 25 clear, and aren't just telling you that. It's still no guarantee of ability, but it's nice to have some verification like that, without the toon in question needing to be in full i200-213 items for you to believe them.

How curious that WoW announced achievements just after Warhammer Online's Tome of Knowledge was announced... HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Great article; WoW's achievement system is fantastic, actually being rewarded for trying harder tasks makes them worth doing and showing off to people who say its impossible.

Still trying for The Immortal :)

Dirty Horde? I swear you're trying to piss me off sometimes.

I like the achievements, haven't really bothered enough to start whoring them or anyhthing. Gotta gear up for Naxx 10 first!

This brought back some surprisingly pleasant memories from WoW. Achievements are one of the things I miss, especially the cooperative ones. I needed help hopping on the zeppelin in Icecrown for one of the Merrymaker achievements since I wasn't 80 yet. Ah... good times.

The Rogue Wolf:
I'd love to say that achievements are silly, but then I'd have to explain to myself why I spent the better part of a week tracking down low-level quests for rep so that I could get the "Ambassador" title (revered with all five groups of your faction), and I don't think I'm ready to do that yet....

I did that in a few days, Gnomerigan Exiles are just so hard to please!

Edit:

CoziestPigeon:
My Name is Chris, and I'm an achievement whore.

But for whatever reason, not in WoW. I don't hate wow achievements, I just don't give a rats ass. I think mostly because of how much I played pre-BC, it is no impossible for me to get half the achievements because I already had them completed before the achievement system came out. Like how am I supposed to hit level 10 again? Or get the Track Fish ability? It's impossible.

You have either got a glitch, or you are just lying, as when the new achievements came out you were awarded all the ones you had done that they had proof of. I.E. Level related ones, or if you completed a quest were you needed to kill the end boss for a dungeon/raid.

Pyronox:
How curious that WoW announced achievements just after Warhammer Online's Tome of Knowledge was announced... HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Tome of Knowledge =/= Achievements. The only remote similarity is that you get titles from doing stuff, but there are hundreds of different WAR titles that you get from like... sneezing. Other than that, they're really completely different. The Tome is literally a record of data. It's certainly cool, but it's a completely different thing.

And work on the Achievement system was under way well before anyone knew that the Tome of Knowledge would give you titles. This was when WAR was still in very hush-hush closed beta, remember?

stormcaller:
Dirty Horde? I swear you're trying to piss me off sometimes.

I like the achievements, haven't really bothered enough to start whoring them or anyhthing. Gotta gear up for Naxx 10 first!

Red = Dead, yo.

roboosh:
Who wouldn't like everyone to have to adress them as Rob, Champion of the Frozen Wastes?

Rob was in my guild... He was an undead rogue... I miss him... He stopped playing...

Pyronox:

CantFaketheFunk:

Pyronox:
How curious that WoW announced achievements just after Warhammer Online's Tome of Knowledge was announced... HMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Tome of Knowledge =/= Achievements. The only remote similarity is that you get titles from doing stuff, but there are hundreds of different WAR titles that you get from like... sneezing. Other than that, they're really completely different. The Tome is literally a record of data. It's certainly cool, but it's a completely different thing.

And work on the Achievement system was under way well before anyone knew that the Tome of Knowledge would give you titles. This was when WAR was still in very hush-hush closed beta, remember?

No, I was playing WoW when they announced the achievement system and the podcasts and official announcements and interviews about the ToK were there MONTHS before Wo's version of it.

And the Tome doesn't just give titles, you misinformed newstwat.

It's a seemless integration of Lore, Xbox-ish achievements, Tactics rewards, vanity items, useful items, art, etc. I think they said there are over 3000 unlocks PER RACE. And it really shows when you play.

Don't try me.

Announcing Achievement System =/= working on it.

And you should learn to read more thoroughly. I didn't say that the Tome only gave titles, I was saying that the titles were pretty much the only thing the two different systems had in common. Nor are titles in an MMO an invention of WAR (hey look, we have an article about Deeds in LotRO!) Well, also the trophies and stuff but there's no real counterpart to that in WoW anyway - though hey, taking trophies appeared well before WAR in MMOs.

WAR's Tome of Knowledge is much more than an Achievement system. As you said, it's Lore combined in Achievements combined in something that is central to the game's design. WAR was designed around the Tome, whereas WoW was not designed around the Achievement system. Obviously, one is far more comprehensive than the other.

Xbox Live Achievements were around long before the Tome of Knowledge, and they're... pretty clearly more of an influence on the WoW achievement system than the ToK was. You're barking up the wrong tree.

Also, hm, let's try to keep sexist and derogatory language out of polite discussion, shall we?

carpenteria:
It is rather well done. Nothing like the page of "Grats!" that appear in guild chat immediately after snagging a particulary impressive achievement... Adore me!

Hahah, I lvoe that too, it does kinda get old after a while, especially when you feel obligated to say "Grats" to everyone when they earn every little acheivment that doesnt really mean much, and then you feel like everyone is waiting for you to say "grats" haha or maybe thats just me

Pyronox:

No, I was playing WoW when they announced the achievement system and the podcasts and official announcements and interviews about the ToK were there MONTHS before Wo's version of it.

Is this the same Blizzard who were working on Starcraft 2 for 5 years before they announced the game's existence? I'm pretty sure they heard about the Tome of Knowledge and thought to themselves "You know what, I bet we could knock something together sorta like that"

*EDIT: removed kneejerk-reaction insult - really not called for

Great article! I think it's interesting to see the different reasons why people go after achievements. For some, it's just a personal collection; for others, it's a challenege to overcome; many more people use them for bragging rights.

I've never been a collector, but the challenge and bragging rights greatly appeal to me. Unfortunately, most games miss that fact. I've played far too many games (mostly new ones that assume they have to have achievements to play with the big kids) where the achievements were little more than milestones along the typical gameplay. Really, who needs an achievement for beating the first level? I would think that beating the first level is its own reward and it's not really something to brag about. Finishing the game? That might be more of a feat worthy of bragging. Doing it in 20 minutes? Yeah, that's definitely an achievement.

I also agree that achievements mean different things between single-player and multiplayer. The Peggle-style celebrations are key to the single-player experience, because an achievement has to feel like more rewarding than just finishing a level. It's like the cutscene and music when you finally finish a game -- congratulations for a job well done. The more fanfare, the more it means.

But multiplayer, you can really go to town with it. It's not about the achievements being visible to yourself, but to everybody else. Nothing beats the feeling of having guildies (and random strangers) congratulating you on your latest achievement. Doubly so when it's a bizarre, difficult achievement and you get people asking, "How did you do that!?" That sort of social posturing truly is a reward, and it ought to be a central mechanic in a social game like any MMO.

As was mentioned, an example of achievements done poorly is the Xbox. Consider when you are playing Rock Band and you play your first big challenge to win the tour van. When you win it, that little "blip" plays and the icon comes up, but nobody gives a shit about that. My friends and I were all laughing at the broke-ass van that was now proudly displayed on the screen in front of us. I couldn't have cared less about the XBL achievement -- the real achievement was given to me, in the game, in the form of a graphic of a van and unlocking several new parts of the game. That's a reward worthy of an achievement.

I'm pretty sure you're supposed to kite the boss backwards so you don't have to deal with the chain lightning, at least I think that's what we did when we did it, slept since then

Valalvax:
I'm pretty sure you're supposed to kite the boss backwards so you don't have to deal with the chain lightning, at least I think that's what we did when we did it, slept since then

That's how you do it to avoid the normal chain lightning caused by the rifts. The only problem is, when he goes invulnerable for 45 seconds, the chain lightning suddenly gets an infinite range. So you might have been able to outrange it before as you were kiting him, but then you have 45 seconds of healing through ALL the chain lightning barrages.

Gxas:

roboosh:
Who wouldn't like everyone to have to adress them as Rob, Champion of the Frozen Wastes?

Rob was in my guild... He was an undead rogue... I miss him... He stopped playing...

Fair enough :P I only used the name Rob cos that is my name xD

I do agree with the funk, the War tome and wow achievements are similar and yet different.... just wish wow would give me some way to get my "Narcissist" title that I had in War.

I can honestly say that the most annoying thing about this last expansion was the constant noise for the first week, when everyone was getting an achievement for something about once every 5 seconds. Guild was literally lit up like a christmas tree 24/7.

CantFaketheFunk:

Valalvax:
I'm pretty sure you're supposed to kite the boss backwards so you don't have to deal with the chain lightning, at least I think that's what we did when we did it, slept since then

That's how you do it to avoid the normal chain lightning caused by the rifts. The only problem is, when he goes invulnerable for 45 seconds, the chain lightning suddenly gets an infinite range. So you might have been able to outrange it before as you were kiting him, but then you have 45 seconds of healing through ALL the chain lightning barrages.

Way we did it back in early december was to drag one of those little plant guys from the other bosses hallway over to this boss, and keep it alive until he spawns the first rift, then kill it causing it to give its aura which reduces damage taken and heals a few % every few seconds. While the invulnerability is up, kill the little guys that spawn from them, and then nuke the boss when he's vulnerable again. Its nasty on the healer, or at least was then, but found it to be a simpler thing overall. The only issues are making sure the plant doesnt die early as it only stays in its aura form for about 2 minutes or so, and then it revives and bolts back to the hallway, and also its relatively small range.

Oriii:

CantFaketheFunk:

Valalvax:
I'm pretty sure you're supposed to kite the boss backwards so you don't have to deal with the chain lightning, at least I think that's what we did when we did it, slept since then

That's how you do it to avoid the normal chain lightning caused by the rifts. The only problem is, when he goes invulnerable for 45 seconds, the chain lightning suddenly gets an infinite range. So you might have been able to outrange it before as you were kiting him, but then you have 45 seconds of healing through ALL the chain lightning barrages.

Way we did it back in early december was to drag one of those little plant guys from the other bosses hallway over to this boss, and keep it alive until he spawns the first rift, then kill it causing it to give its aura which reduces damage taken and heals a few % every few seconds. While the invulnerability is up, kill the little guys that spawn from them, and then nuke the boss when he's vulnerable again. Its nasty on the healer, or at least was then, but found it to be a simpler thing overall. The only issues are making sure the plant doesnt die early as it only stays in its aura form for about 2 minutes or so, and then it revives and bolts back to the hallway, and also its relatively small range.

The trick I've found to deal with the lightning is to have everyone run well ahead of the tank. The lightning will target whoever's closest and the people near them. You start tanking him all the way at the very back of the platform he starts on. When he goes invulnerable, you run back to the middle platform with everyone but the tank at the bottom of the ramp to the ground, with the tank at the top of the ramp. Heal the tank and it's cake. After invul wears off, wait for him to come to you on the middle platform and tank him there. When he goes invul, the same strategy as the last time works wonders, you'll just have to run all the way back to the ground. Invul wears off, he comes to you and you burn him down to the final invul, where you do the same basic strategy, just run away when he goes invul, keeping the tank well behind everyone else. Kill him when he comes back to you.

Agayek:

Oriii:

CantFaketheFunk:

Valalvax:
I'm pretty sure you're supposed to kite the boss backwards so you don't have to deal with the chain lightning, at least I think that's what we did when we did it, slept since then

That's how you do it to avoid the normal chain lightning caused by the rifts. The only problem is, when he goes invulnerable for 45 seconds, the chain lightning suddenly gets an infinite range. So you might have been able to outrange it before as you were kiting him, but then you have 45 seconds of healing through ALL the chain lightning barrages.

Way we did it back in early december was to drag one of those little plant guys from the other bosses hallway over to this boss, and keep it alive until he spawns the first rift, then kill it causing it to give its aura which reduces damage taken and heals a few % every few seconds. While the invulnerability is up, kill the little guys that spawn from them, and then nuke the boss when he's vulnerable again. Its nasty on the healer, or at least was then, but found it to be a simpler thing overall. The only issues are making sure the plant doesnt die early as it only stays in its aura form for about 2 minutes or so, and then it revives and bolts back to the hallway, and also its relatively small range.

The trick I've found to deal with the lightning is to have everyone run well ahead of the tank. The lightning will target whoever's closest and the people near them. You start tanking him all the way at the very back of the platform he starts on. When he goes invulnerable, you run back to the middle platform with everyone but the tank at the bottom of the ramp to the ground, with the tank at the top of the ramp. Heal the tank and it's cake. After invul wears off, wait for him to come to you on the middle platform and tank him there. When he goes invul, the same strategy as the last time works wonders, you'll just have to run all the way back to the ground. Invul wears off, he comes to you and you burn him down to the final invul, where you do the same basic strategy, just run away when he goes invul, keeping the tank well behind everyone else. Kill him when he comes back to you.

The way we did it was to stay on the top platform, with the tank on one side and everyone else on the other. Boss tanked by the tank, and dps run out when he goes invulnerable. The tank then doesn't try to hold aggro on the adds and thus the healer will have the adds attack him instead. They run across the platform to the healer and have the dps kill the adds before/when they reach the healer.

CantFaketheFunk:

stormcaller:
Dirty Horde? I swear you're trying to piss me off sometimes.

I like the achievements, haven't really bothered enough to start whoring them or anyhthing. Gotta gear up for Naxx 10 first!

Red = Dead, yo.

I thought I'd be the better person here but it's too much, CantFaketheFunk, I challenge you to an AZER-OFF!

(...Still haven't quite finalised what it actually is)

stormcaller:

CantFaketheFunk:

stormcaller:
Dirty Horde? I swear you're trying to piss me off sometimes.

I like the achievements, haven't really bothered enough to start whoring them or anyhthing. Gotta gear up for Naxx 10 first!

Red = Dead, yo.

I thought I'd be the better person here but it's too much, CantFaketheFunk, I challenge you to an AZER-OFF!

(...Still haven't quite finalised what it actually is)

/Lifebloom
/Shadowmeld
/Swift Flight Form
/Bye!

CantFaketheFunk:

stormcaller:

CantFaketheFunk:

stormcaller:
Dirty Horde? I swear you're trying to piss me off sometimes.

I like the achievements, haven't really bothered enough to start whoring them or anyhthing. Gotta gear up for Naxx 10 first!

Red = Dead, yo.

I thought I'd be the better person here but it's too much, CantFaketheFunk, I challenge you to an AZER-OFF!

(...Still haven't quite finalised what it actually is)

/Lifebloom
/Shadowmeld
/Swift Flight Form
/Bye!

So you're running away? meh, what I expected from the Alliance :P

Besides where the hell is your band of Blizzard employees singing kick-ass rock songs? (L80ETC)

stormcaller:

So you're running away? meh, what I expected from the Alliance :P

Besides where the hell is your band of Blizzard employees singing kick-ass rock songs? (L80ETC)

Helloooo? Resto Druid?

I ain't gonna kill anything. I just never die. :P

CantFaketheFunk:

stormcaller:

So you're running away? meh, what I expected from the Alliance :P

Besides where the hell is your band of Blizzard employees singing kick-ass rock songs? (L80ETC)

Helloooo? Resto Druid?

I ain't gonna kill anything. I just never die. :P

I'm a warrior, I don't kill things either AND I die often.

Besides who said it was PVP? You don't even know what an Azer-off is(and neither do I) for all you know, it could be a quiz based on lore.

...that could work

Achievements are like stamp collecting; they're a common occurance in the everyday world that people can take to nutty extremes to distract themselves from daily routine.

stormcaller:
Besides where the hell is your band of Blizzard employees singing kick-ass rock songs? (L80ETC)

Their band didn't make the cut.

The Immortal - now there's a title I'd give a large chunk of my time for, and I only just got Champion of the Frozen wastes...
I wouldn't say I go totally out of my way for WoW achievements but I like getting the odd one if I have time to kill, especially if the achievement gives you more than the actual achievement (love my Hallowed title :D)

Ha I enjoyed reading this, particularly because it's so very true. Achievements gave me a hand up when I really didnt' know what to do in WoW anymore. Before Wrath, it filled a month of my time with tedious things to do, ontop of my dailys, waiting for the expansion.
As soon as Wrath came out, the content quickly cleared through, it gave me reason to go back and do the heroics, even though I already had all of my gear-sets fully epic. I don't play wow anymore, nor shall I ever again (I gave my account to a friend who has never played before) and I don't exactly miss it, mainly because I'm hardly at home with work, and a needy girlfriend. But, with my insomnia I'm up almost 24 hours a day, and I now fill my nights with Warhammer Online ontop of EVE and TF2--- I have to say I like Warhammer Online's achievement system more. It's usually more humorous, and you find yourself getting rewards a lot more often than in WoW... Plus there are a LOT more titles, even if some of them are for something you wouldn't exactly want to put next to your name (such as clicking on an NPC 10,000 times while being naked) But all the same you have the options early on in the game... Which is one thing I see WoW missing the point on, getting people into the game early on, where as Warhammer can do it instantly. But, I digress. I really enjoyed reading your article, having played WoW for four years, these type of articles never get old.

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