Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I am NOT an achievement whore! (yet)

I'm wondering how bored I will have to be with WoW before the primary focus of my playtime becomes achievements.

I mean, I seriously don't get it.

I have earned many achievements, and I'm proud to say, almost every single one of them was done completely by accident. I'll just be wandering around killing stuff, when suddenly out of nowhere...Shazam! Up pops the achievement window with its flashy little graphic and sound effect! "5000 honorable kills", or "Loot 1000 gold", or whatever. It's a neat feeling, for about two seconds, at which point I completely forget about it and go on with the business of killing and looting.

Occasionally I'll be in an instance when someone suggests, "Should we go for the achievement?" Yeah sure, why not. We're here, right? But I've never gone into an instance (or done anything else) for the primary goal of getting an achievement.

I have two 80's now, a DK and a warlock. When I get bored of them I will continue to level my other two alts, a paladin and a priest. Then I'll probably go for a rogue. And I've been pretty fixated on humans; I want to try out the other alliance races and starting zones. And I REALLY want a couple of Horde toons so I can actually win in battlegrounds every so often. I'm sorry, Alliance people are just idiots in battlegrounds. But that's a post for another day.

Of course during primetime I am raiding. When I'm not raiding I enjoy PUGing heroics, doing Wintergrasp, the occasional arena match, or the aforementioned battlegrounds. And once in a while I try to make money.

I gather that there are some folks who play WoW just to be social, and who will sit and talk in chat (trade, general, guild, or otherwise) all day long. More power to them. If that's your bag, then fine.

Some people are totally into the money-making aspect of WoW. They want to see how much wealth they can amass. A few sociopaths like Gevlon have made quite a name for themselves doing this almost exclusively. If that's what you enjoy, by all means, go for it. I personally would be bored to tears spending hours a day crafting and auctioning, but I can see how it would appeal to certain personalities. (I would argue that Gevlon takes it much too far and complains about others wasting time while failing to see the complete lack of worth in his efforts, but I digress.... that's a post for another day.)

And then there are the achievement whores. I don't know why, but this is one part of the game I just really have not been able to get excited about. It's bugged me a bit lately because I've been wanting to get people (guildies in particular) to go run some stuff with me -- you know, actual fun stuff where you kill shit -- and they are all busy with whatever goofy achievement they are currently trying to complete.

Not to mention, you can get achievements in WoW for the stupidest stuff. "Zaphind has just earned the [Pissing into the Wind] achievement." I got an achievement for purchasing epic flying. How is spending 5000 gold an achievement!? It ought to come up and say, "Ha ha, dork, thanks for using our money sink. The WoW economy thanks you too." Ditto for purchasing a dual spec.

Exploration achievements are another good example. When you completely explore a zone, it's indicative of one (or both) of two things: Either you've been questing there too long, or you get lost a lot and don't know how to use a map (or Questhelper). But neither of these should qualify as achievements.

At least with the epic flying and dual spec examples, you have something to show for your "achievement". Most achievements leave you with nothing to show for it. Most people will probably never know you earned the achievement, unless they happen to see the message flash by in guild chat when you earn it. But how many of them are going to remember it (or care) an hour later?

Of course there are the title achievements: the ones that allow you to put some cute phrase before or after your name. Except that there are very few that are actually unique and require any amount of effort to get. As a result, most people have the same 3 or 4 titles. During my first month of playing I was wondering why everyone on my server had the last name "Jenkins". Did the Jenkins family all start playing on my server together? Is it some sort of cult?

Of course now I'm in Northrend, so everyone is either a "Champion of the Frozen Wastes", or more plainly just "of [insert capital city name here]".

Do you do achievements? Please explain to me the joy or satisfaction you get out of it... because I sure don't get it. Or are you just really bored with WoW and this is about the last thing for you to do before giving up the game forever?

[By the way, it turns out "achievement" is a really difficult word to have to type over and over. I will never do another blog post on this topic, I promise.]

4 comments:

inmysissyrobe said...

You keep changing your blog layout, it's completely disorientating. It's like when you meet somebody after they've cut their hair and you realise there's something subtly different about them but you can't quite place it =P

Honestly, I'm so totally shamed - you've been playing WoW for way less time than I me, yet you have 2 80s and you're raiding. It just goes to show noobism is measured not by a span of time =P

Anyway, to the subject at hand - I don't get the achievement thing either, really, but I sometimes think it's because I don't have an 80 and therefore have too many other things to do. I mean, surely one can't raid and mine all the time ;)

I do actually like achievements, at least the principle of them. I think they're a good way of encouraging you when you've done something that is, as you say, kind of pointless. I don't seem them, necessarily, as markers of actual achievement, more sort of markers of recognition.

So when you've been mining Silithis and a little box pops up saying "explored Silithis!" you get a momentarily happy feeling - almost as if the game is saying "sooo, grinding thorium, huh" to you, and smiling wryly.

Zaphind said...

Eventually I'll come up with a blog layout that I actually like, and then I'll leave it alone; I promise. :)

The day is probably coming where I will create a custom layout, but until then, you'll just have to live with the occasional disorientation. :P

gnomeaggedon said...

I'm an achievement whore...

I'm a one toon guy... so basically I figure I might as well grab everything I can for him...

I know I wont collect the set, and I am not going to try.. but most of them are just alternative goal posts.

The raid & instance ones though, they brighten an otherwise vanilla experience

Lantana said...

Achievements are kind of like little happy gold stars. Look at you! You just spent hours running all over to "explore" everything! Ta da! Star!

I confess I like them, although I really gravitate towards the title and goodie ones, like getting 50 mounts (yeay albino protodrake!). I like that I can "accomplish" something outside of raids and grinding rep.

I especially like that acheivements essentially suggest alternative ways of doing things, like running a heroic without using this boost, or letting that happen. Since we run those things over and over, Blizzard is essentially suggesting a different way to challenge yourself.

I just really want to see the "Complete UK in a Tux" acheivement.