Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Slowly poisoned by achievements

I thought I could resist it, since it’s pointless and a huge time sink, but lately I seem to have been pulled into the achievement business. It’s like if I’ve been dotted. I won’t go down instantly, but it’s infecting me and putting silly ideas into my head.

The Merrymaker
The first step on my road of surrender was the arrival of the title Merrymaker, which had some odd attraction to me. I never cared about the Hollowed title only a month ago, but this one was obviously meant for Larísa. Suddenly I found myself doing some stupid rescue reindeer quest in Searing Gorge, something that would never have crossed my mind before.

Having a goal, I could suddenly feel the pleasure of seeing the greyish achievements in the log turning colour into a brighter shade as I completed them. The message that I’d done it made me smile. It wasn’t as big as dining, but it was definitely more fun than just completing a quest.

Another step towards achievement illness was that I started to take an interest in the challenges offered in the heroic instances. There’s no doubt that those little twists to the fights, the risen difficulty, the special strategies you have to figure out, make it more challenging and fun. Killing the boss isn’t enough anymore. I want to kill him with finesse.

Old Kingdom
I’ve got a couple of guildies who are achievers on an entirely different level than me. They’re on good way of completing all the heroic instance achievements, getting a red proto drake for the Glory of the hero achievement. I doubt that I’ll ever reach that far. But I’ve done enough of them to get a taste for it.

A few nights ago I joined them in the hunt for Volazj's Quick Demise in Old Kingdom , and it turned into the most fun achievement experience I’ve had so far.

I can’t say that I love that boss on heroic – that part when you have to nuke down yourself and your party members during insanity always causes me trouble to survive. My friends assured me that I probably wouldn’t have to go through those struggles. There was supposed to be some kind of easy mode. If you made the boss into a focus target you could keep nuking him even during insanity and he would go down quickly.

It only took us one try to find out that this information either was wrong or outdated after a hot fix. There were no shortcuts anymore – this boss had to be done the proper way, which meant insane nuking from the beginning to the end. And I would have to deal with the adds, no matter what I thought about it.

The kick of killing
We did a couple of tries and I felt ashamed – I thought it took me way too long to deal with the adds and I didn’t take down all of them on my own. I was convinced that it was my lack of speed that slowed us down and I even offered to leave my spot to some more skilled player than me. But the other party members assured me it wasn’t just me that was struggling – everyone else was too. We just have to improve and dps the best we could. So we had a big feast, making sure everyone (me on my mage, a druid tank and three dps-ing shammies, no healer) was buffed up to a maximum. And off we went, nuking like insane to get him down as far as possible before the first insanity.

This time for some reason I took down my first load of adds a bit quicker than before, and so did probably the others. I don’t know if it was the feast or just that we had practiced a few times. A second insanity arrived and I felt like if I was affected by slow as I slaughtered my mates. But at least I survived. Finally back to the boss – about 10 percent of his life remained and the same amount of seconds. And behold! We grabbed the achievement with the amazing margin on one single second!

The kick of that kill was definitely on par with any first kill on raid bosses! This was an achievement in its true sense.

Merrymaker and defeater of Volazj – those dots seem to be enough to make Larísa fall into the achievement trap. I keep fighting it, but I must admit that I’ve already run Deadmines and Stockades without having any good reason for it except the achievements. And why on earth was I completing the exploration of Northrend the other night? There was no logical reason for it. Only those stupid, pointless achievements.

I’m dotted. How long will I resist? Will I end up doing tedious things as exploring Barrens and Durotar by my ground mount? Is there any rescue from this curse?

Time will show. I suspect that my best defence will be the upcoming raiding season. When I’m not raiding I’ll be gathering money and consumables for raids and I won’t have time for this nonsense. Hopefully.


Drazmor said...

Don't worry. Everyone's been affected by it.

Miss Elf said...

Hah! I know exactly what you mean. I've resisted it pretty well so far.

On my massive daily farming of HH's mount (which I finally got and never want to see him again, EVER) - it occured to me on the last night of Hallow's End I wanted to try and get the Hallowed title achievement.

So I joined a PuG instantly (hooray for being a healer), and everyone happily passed on the pet when they realised it was the last thing I needed. I then saw 4 more pets drop that night while I hung out helping another friend finish his achievements!

I've been fairly good at dodging the whole achievement affair apart from that, though :P.

Ixobelle said...

I don't go out of my way for them, but I don't despise them like I thought I would.

The Merrymaker one was impossibel for me to get since the warlock I play on neVer bothered unlocking Ogri'la, and I can safely say once I realized that was going to be needed, I happily went about my regular life ingame without so much as a pause. There was no way I was going to try and scrape a group together for that one quest (Grimoire Business), even if I could solo all the rest. I just didn't care enough.

That said, when I was running my alts through scholomance grinding RAF bonus XP, and realized I didn't get the achievement for killing the headmaster like i figured I would, I popped open my achievements page (I love how they made the keybinding the WHY key), and realized I had totally forgotten about Ras Frostwhisper in scholo altogether. Ran over to his room, burned him down on the 78 paly too, all three toons get the little bling.

So yeah, if it's the difference between walking 5 feet in this direction to get it or not, I'm not violently opposed to them, but I'm certainly not going to hunt down every book in the game to get that Well Read one.. ugh.

Also! On the subject of the holiday ones, I realized the "big holiday" one, where you effectively fishing each holiday (the merry maker, the hallowed, etc), requires an especially hateful one during the ancestor holiday. there are like NPCs in every old dungeon, and you need to get each of their blessings... like ALL OVER THE MAP. yow. it's like they made that one basking in the fact that anyone who gets it has helpless OCD.



Ixobelle said...

...where you effectively fishing each holiday...

effectively FINISH. weird typo ;)

Kassi said...

A group of my friends and I are going after the Glory of the Hero achievement, but it's certainly not to get points and see little achievements go gold in our interface.

As you say it's the challenges, thinking about a strategy that will work for our group, practicing and eventually succeeding ... a lot like downing a new raid boss.

It's my little virtual sports team and I'm having a blast :D

Gevlon said...

I am still not poisoned by this stupidity. Achivements are still useless and the "poision" is the peer pressure, and luckily it seems I'm immune to that.

Yet I get achievements now and then and they always hit me by surprise "Is there an achievement for that", like when I got "Timely Death".

Blizzard effectively use the ape-subrutines in the people's head to make them pay subscription and they don't even have to create content for it.

wtfspaghetti said...

I am going to try to do all of the hoilday events.

I find them as a fun break from the normal game and you always get cool items and a title!

Merrymaker? Thats awesome. Plus if you do all of the world events, you get a proto-drake. Win, win

Esdras said...

Well larisa i have managed to resist the temptation of achievments so far but i think when i have worked on my gear more i will do some.

I think i will only work on the ones that gives titles/tabards/mounts or is that all of them LOL i dont know ive not really looked through them a lot.

Carra said...

"The Merrymaker one was impossibel for me to get since the warlock I play on neVer bothered unlocking Ogri'la"

Well, I did to that prequest on my DK just to get the merrymaker title. One of those bosses could even only be done by 5...

Achievements are a strange thing, at first I didn't really bother with it either but getting that Merrymaker title just seemed right for my pink tailed gnome.

Still haven't bothered doing any other achievements. No cooking, fishing or exploring like crazy.

Captain The First said...

Oddly I have to side with the goblin on this one. I don't go out of my way to complete achievements and I have looked at the achievement window maybe 10 times in total.

Achievements are incidental for me, occasionally being completed while doing something completely different.

I would've been much more in tune with achievements if they had been properly tied into the lore rather than forcing obscure tasks on people like /love x critters.

Veteran of the wrath gate was a good achievement for example... long quest line, lore heavy (if you read the quest texts) and something worth doing independant from the achievement.

There's just too many achievements in there that aren't conductive to fun or have no relevance whatsoever and the entire system is devaluated by those things in my opinion.

Still, I suppose if you're that bored and really can't think of anything fun to do it's something to work on...

Darraxus said...

I cant resist sometimes. I spent about an hour fishing for the giant stupid sewer rat. I could have made tons of gold in that time, but instead I was wasting it on a vanity pet :(

kyrilean said...

I ignored achievements until I got geared and maxed out my rep with the different factions. Now between leveling alts (frustratingly difficult considering I did so many quests already), dailies for gold, raiding, etc. I find time with little to do so I've actively pursued achievements for fun.

What's bad about it? The fact that I even began to consider doing the PvP achievements. I despise PvP...

Chad S. said...

I'm pretty hooked. Especially since the armory started showing achievement points under the guild tab, and you can sort by them.

3995! And I'm still 4th in the guild.

Its getting competitive, but fun competitive. And its made me see/do/explore fun things that I missed as I leveled. I'm playing more thoroughly, and feeling the positive difference.

Larísa said...

@Drazmor: ahh... Yeah. And many are much worse affected than I am, that's for sure.

@Miss Elf: grats to the mount and the Hallowed title! I never got that one, but maybe I'll go for more sesonal stuff now, I think the Merrymaker title gave me some apetite for more.

@Ixobelle: it was pure luck that I had the Ogrila rep. I never did much of the dailies there and I used to hate the bombing one for sure. Now it was rather fun to do it on a reindeer! I've never done a single quest about the ancestor stuff so there's a lot of content there I'm probably finally going to check out now. I never would have if it wasn't for achievements. To be honest.

@Kassi: exactly. Actually the achievement I wrote about gave me a much bigger kick than the 25 man raiding in Naxx which started the other night. The bosses there were way too easy to give the real thrill. I think it's great that achievements add another level of difficulty to the heroics.

@Gevlon: well, I'm affected but I'm not a totally lost soul. Often I'm surprised by the achievements as well. LIke the other night when I bandaged myself in WG having 2 percent hp left... wow, it was an achievement... And I was just trying to survive! Still when you think about it closely - what in the game is NOT related to ape-subrutines? The whole game is when you think about it? Why would the kick you get from earning 500 g be better then the kick I get from doing an instance in a more difficult mode? It's all just about entertainment, how you get most entertainment per time invested.

@Wtfspaghetti: well, the items are cool but it wouldn't hurt if some of them were useful... Or maybe that would be worse, when I think about it. Now when they're just vanity things its easier to resist it.

@Esdras: once you start looking you'll be amazed at the abundance of achievements. There are more of them than you could ever dream of, trust me.

@Carra: it's dangerous that title. It makes little pink pigtailed gnomes getting affected by the achievement disease. Very cunning.

@Captain the First: well, I'm not entirely wrapped up in it either. I think I'll rather pick the raisins out of the cake (if you can say that in English). I really like the challenges in dungeons for instance. But there are others that still leave me pretty indifferent.

@Darraxus: I hope you got it? At least you were fishing in the lovely sewers and not in the crowd by the fountain on the surfice. (fishing for coins - I doubt I'll EVER fall for that one)

@Kyrilean: well the thing that's bad about it is that earlier things you've done weren't recognized. It's annoying to have to remake low level content you've done dozens of times. But except for that, it's just another aspect of the game. Some people are into PvPing, others play AH, others raid, some level alts and then there are those players who collect achievements. And nothing's better then the other stuff, as long as you enjoy it, according to me.

@Chad S: Oh I've only got about 2600 points or so, which probably puts me among those with least points in my guild. Honestly I haven't checked it out and I've no plans to do it either. I'm only competing with myself in this aspect, really. But I can definitly see that if you want to compete in this area the new armory will give you plenty of opportunities for it.

AllianceGirl said...

Explaining it like a DOT was perfect! That's exactly how it happened to me. At first I was mad that I didn't get retroactive credit for stupid things like Zul'Farak or Scarlet Monestary when I've been playing the game since release...then I started going back and filling in the achievements and now it's something that I'm constantly working on in my spare WoW time.

TheReaper said...

Not that it matters anymore, but the trick to the achievement you describe seems to be that insanity will only create shades of people in LoS of the mob when he begins the cast, so by anticipating the cast and positioning him close to one of the pillars, it actually becomes quite trivial.